Should I stitch a friend’s wounded dogs?
Q: I have recently purchased a disposable stapler and it looks pretty easy to use. Am I okay stitching my friend's dogs if they cut themselves?
A: Ah now there’s a good question. My heart and my head both say, ‘No.’ My heart because it may be okay taking a chance with your own dog but would you really want to mess up a friend’s? Wounds, especially those in working dogs, are often far worse than they seem and need expert assessment.
A few quick staples can hide problems, trap infection, compromise nervous function and inadvertently seal in foreign material. Could you really tell if there was tendon damage underneath that bloody mess? And as for my head? The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 prohibits non vets from carrying out acts of veterinary surgery.
“Veterinary surgery” means the art and science of veterinary surgery and medicine and shall be taken to include:
(a) the diagnosis of diseases in, and injuries to, animals including tests performed on animals for diagnostic purposes.
(b) the giving of advice based upon such diagnosis.
(c) the medical or surgical treatment of animals and…
(d) the performance of surgical operations on animals.
You would therefore be committing an offence, even if your intentions are sound.