The Veterinary Technician will need to figure out what kind of burn the dog has in order to figure out how to approach it with treatment. To find out what kind of burn it is/ how bad it is, the veterinary technician will see how far the burn has extended. If the burn has only effected the top layer of epidermis, it is considered a first degree burn.
First degree burns also come with redness, minor inflammation, pain, and peeling skin as it heals. If the burn has blistered, is swollen, red, painful, and involves all of the epidermis and some/all of the dermis, it is considered a second degree burn. A third degree burn/a “full thickness burn” would include damage even deeper than the dermis such as the subcutaneous tissue, bone, muscle, and will have created black or white skin. When treating a first degree burn you will need to run the burn under cool water for at least five minutes. Any degree of burn can be painful so giving a pain reliever is also recommended. To protect the burn from the environment you should apply an antibiotic ointment to the burn, and then wrap it in loose gauze. A first degree burn will usually take around 7-10 days to heal without leaving a scar. You also don’t need to go see a doctor for a first degree burn.
You can take care of the burn at home by yourself. Second degree burns differ from first degree burns not only because they go deeper with their damage but because they blister, scab, and change the pigment of the effected skin area. Immediately after being burned you should run the wound under cool water for at least 15 minutes, and give pain medication. Like with a first degree burn this can generally be taken care of at home, but if the burn is covering a large amount of the body you should seek emergency treatment and have it assessed. This degree of burn usually takes around 2-3 weeks and most of the time leaves no scar. For third degree burns you should immediately contact the vet and then drive there. On the way there you should make sure there is nothing sticking to the burn such as lint or dirt.
The third degree burn, once healed, will leave scarring for quite some time. When arriving at the vet your pet will receive an exam and tests will be run to check on their blood cell count, electrolyte values, kidney and liver function, and then start to remove the black and dead skin from the burn. The systemic concern for burn victims is that bacterial infections are common for them. After the exam and lab tests, it is decided whether the animal will make a full recovery or will end up dying. If 25% of the animal’s body is covered by the burn then it is very likely for it to have complications including a bacterial infection, shock, kidney failure, and anemia.
It is believed by many that any more than 30%, some think 50%, of the body being covered means there is very little hope of recovery for the animal. Because of the tissue and follicle damage created from the burn in both second and third degree cases the hair will most likely not come back. When the burn is second degree it harms the hair follicles sometimes making them not grow. Since third degree burns go even further they damage the roots of the hair follicles making it almost impossible for the hair to grow back.
The veterinary technician should have either placed something in between the dog and the heating pad, such as a blanket, warm water bottles, or used a bear hugger instead to keep the dog warm. You should never have skin touching a heating pad for such a long time.?