Stopping a Bleed

When you trim a pet’s nails, it is inevitable that you’re eventually going to cut one too short. You just need to be ready for when it happens. When you’re trimming nails, always have products right beside you to take care of a bleed. That way you’re not running around in a panic with the ferret bleeding all over. This includes a cloth to hold over the bleed and something to stop the bleeding.

It is a good idea to have styptic powder on hand. This is also known as Kwik Stop. There are a variety of products that are a powder that stop bleeding. The rescue also keeps on hand spray on bandage and liquid bandage. Sometimes applying the spray on bandage after using styptic powder will keep it from starting to bleed again once the ferret walks and knocks off the powder.

Another excellent thing to have on hand is a silver nitrate stick. You press the silver nitrate end of the stick on the bleeding area and it cauterizes (burns) the blood vessel. It burns the pet to do this, but it is quick and usually very efficient. (The rescue has these sticks for sale for $1.) You may be able to buy one or two of these from your vet.

If you don’t have any of these things available, you can use flour, corn starch (works better than flour), pepper, and sticking the bleeding nail into a bar of soap.

Occasionally there will be a hard bleed that doesn’t stop with the usual remedies such as these. For this, you’ll have to try several things. First and foremost, do NOT panic. A ferret, dog or cat isn’t going to bleed to death or have any major problems from a cut toenail. Keep pressure on the bleed with a cloth as much as you can. Apply styptic powder or whatever you have. If the blood is still flowing, add more styptic powder and apply spray on bandage if you have it. Hold the bleeding part higher than the rest of the body. Apply ice. Apply a silver nitrate stick if you have one. Keep trying multiple things until you get the bleeding stopped. If the bleeding still doesn’t stop, put the pet in a cage or confined area with a towel on the bottom or, even better, in the bathtub with a towel. This way the towel absorbs the blood instead of it getting everywhere. Eventually the nail will stop bleeding on its own. At that time, apply some spray on or liquid bandage to keep the clot in place and keep it from starting to bleed again.