Pressure sores should not be confused with thickened skin or callouses, which also occur over bony points, often in larger breed dogs, but are a defensive response to protect these areas. Pressures sores, or pressure ulcers, are physical damage to the skin areas where the blood supply is restricted due to external pressure. This occurs most often as our doggy friends age or develop conditions where they may be unable to change their position easily. When they spend more time lying down in the same position, pressure sores (pressure ulcers) may start to develop.
What do early pressure sores look like?
At the initial phase of pressure sores, the first thing you will notice is the hair thinning around the bony prominences. They are commonly seen at hip, elbow, hock (ankle) and knee joints of a dog. It is important to note that they can still occur in dogs who have already developed thick calloused skin earlier in their lives. If unprotected, the shin may become red and inflamed, due to the pressure applied from the surface of the bed/ floor.
What makes pressure sores so concerning?
With the repetitive pressure, rubbing and trauma to the surface of the floor and bedding, the broken skin turns into a wound which will continue to worsen, resulting in infection and open weeping wounds that are unable to heal. This is painful and causes great discomfort to our four-legged friends and greatly affects their quality of life. It is extremely difficult to treat once it occurs and requires significant amount of care and treatment for the wounds to heal. Therefore, prevention is the key!