Basic Dragon Healing

Note: Although Thread no longer falls, it has been included in this text for reference material.

Basic Anatomy

Meat is essential for maintaining bone strength in dragons.

• They are comfortable upright, despite their size, because of the strength of their bones and muscles.

• Dragon forelegs are much shorter than their hind limbs. They are more for grabbing, whereas the hind limbs are for take off and landings. This lends them an ungainly hop-skip movement when walking.

• Dragons are pentadactyl, they have five-fingered toes. Jointed like a human hand, they allow adequate purchase but not great dexterity. Each claw is finished in a talon, which are sharp on the forelimbs, and softer on the rear limbs. Watchwhers have two toes, and firelizards have three.

• Dragons do not have scales, despite Holder rumors. It isn't even metallic in nature. It is soft, and extremely resilient.

• Females will often experience a change in color before they rise to mate. Male dragons do not experience this. Hides can, and will, deepen with age.

• Dragons are warm blooded. Their 'blood' is green, and referred to as ichor. It is based on a metal, which we presume is copper from the smell.

• Dragon flesh is gray, with some green tinges.

• Dragons can inflate their lungs to approximately twice their size, presumably to deal with altitude. They do snore.

• Dragon tongues are forked. There is little saliva.

• Their teeth are strong, canines at the front, incisors at the back.

• Dragons have two stomachs, one for firestone, the other for food.

• A dragon's wings are typically 1 and 2/3's their body length. Whers are incapable of flight, their wings being short, stubby and malformed. Wings are nearly translucent, though they thicken over bones and tendon/muscle attachment points.

• Dragons have six senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell and telepathy.

• Sight: They have no eyelashes, but three sets of membranes. Eyes do not whirl, this is an optical illusion. They do however express emotion through color: green/blue - contentment; yellow - fear; red/orange - anger; red - hunger; white - danger; purple - mating urge/love. Whers can see in total darkness, but are photophobic and do have poor focal length.
• Sound: They have no ears, head knobs fulfilling this function.
• Taste: Developed enough to tell the difference between food and firestone.
• Touch: Sensitivity varies to area. They do have ticklish bellies.
• Smell: Poor developed.
• Telepathy: Highly developed, including spatial sense.

• Dragons have forked tails, almost arrowhead shaped. Their sphincters are located in their tails, as are their genitals, which are only revealed during mating flights. Excreta is stored in their tails, is excreted *between*.

Basic First Aid

• OOCly, the first thing you do when asked to treat an injured dragon, is to ask what's wrong, how deep, big, where, how long do they want to remain injured for. Get all the information you can. You may need to warn the person the type of injury they want will permanently injure their dragon, or may keep them out of the sky for longer than they want. Learn to compromise and offer suggestions!

• ICly, if the distress is significant, get a Gold dragon to control the injured dragon. This will help calm the dragon and even ease the pain. If a Gold is not available, another dragon may be able to help somewhat.

• ICly, ask permission from the rider to work on their dragon, then take control of the situation.

• ICly, all instruments should be washed in redwort, as well as the hands of the healer and anyone that will assist. If there is an injury that will require numbweed always coat hands in oil to maintain feeling in them. Remember to reapply this if you are going to be working for a long time on the dragon.

• ICly, Numbweed will take a few moments to penetrate a wound, make sure you convince the dragon the pain will go away.

• ICly, stitching should never pucker the hide. It should, though, still provide a barrier to infection.

• ICly, remember the size of dragons! A ladder or other means of gaining height will be necessary to treat most injuries. Make sure such is available.

• ICly, injured dragons will need to be moved to the dragon infirmary after injuries are stabilized. Other dragons may be needed to support an injured dragon.

• ICly, also, injured dragons will require a lot of water to avoid dehydration.

Basic Wound Care

Any disruption of the hide, or surrounding body surfaces, is known as a wound. Most wounds are classified as being open, with a break in the hide through which ichor may escape. This, however, disrupts the normal impenetrable barrier to infection, as germs may enter via the route of injury.

How the wound is created determines the type of the wound and also influences the treatment given. Incision wounds are made by a clean cut from a sharp edge, such as a knife. There may be profuse ichoring because the edges of ichor vessels are cut straight across. Generally, this type of wound is rare in a dragon, and is usually the result of some surgery on the part of the dragonhealer. Lacerations are rough tears caused by crushing or ripping forces, generally from another object/dragon. Lacerations may ichor less profusely than clean cut wounds; though there is more tissue damage. Contamination risk from germs and subsequent risk of infection is high. These may happen during a mating flight when talons may shred the hide of an opponent. Abrasion wounds are superficial wounds in which the top layers of the hide are scraped off, leaving a raw tender area, and are caused predominantly by a sliding fall or a friction burn. They often contain foreign particles that may cause infection. In dragons these can occur from brushing against rock, bad landings on hard dirt, etc. Puncture wounds are caused by the entry of a sharp foreign body into the hide, such as stepping on a needlethorn. They are characterized by having a small site of entry but a deep track of internal damage. As dirt and germs can be carried far into the body risk of infection is high. Generally, because dragon hide is so thick, these injuries are extremely rare, but may occur in the frenzy of blooding with sharp bone fragments from the herdbeasts and wherries. Threadscore is similar to an incision wound in tissue damage, but with the complication of a burn. Depending on the resultant damage, threadscored wounds may ichor profusely or ooze slowly.

Several of these wound types can cause serious ichoring, and it is imperative that a dragonhealer learn to recognize the various types of ichoring from the various types of vessels. However, at this level only capillary ichoring will be taught. Capillary ichoring can be characterized as oozing and occurs at the site of all wounds. Although capillary ichoring may at first be brisk, ichor loss is generally negligible. When the ichor vessels are severed or torn, their damaged ends constrict and retract in order to minimize ichor loss. At the same time, the ichor that escapes from damaged vessels begins to clot.

One of the greatest dangers with any wound is that of infection. Wounds should always be cleansed with redwort, and care should be taken to remove all dirt and other foreign objects.

Assess the situation: If the dragon is in pain, then ask a Gold to 'dampen' the pain and still the movement. However, in these cases, the application of numbweed should solve most cases. The rider will have to convince the dragon the pain will go away, as the numbweed does take at least 5 seconds, if not longer, to penetrate dragonhide down to the germative layer. Involve the rider. Ask the rider for details of the injury. If this is the result of a mating flight, make sure you start handing the rider skins of wine. Take control of the situation, but never forget to ask a rider first for permission to approach their lifemate - big dragon, in pain, equals a dangerous combination.

Determination: What type of ichoring do you have? Is the ichor gushing, oozing, or spurting? Is this a slight, moderate or severe injury? If moderate or severe, then ask for a more capable dragonhealer to take over.

Treatment:

1. Clean wound with redwort.
2. Slather with numbweed. Remove any dirt, foreign articles etc.
3. If ichoring has not stopped, apply a pressure bandage to the wound. A pressure bandage is merely a pad of bandaging material that is applied over the wound and pressed tightly in place. If this soaks through, it should not be removed; instead, a second bandage should be applied on top of the first. In most cases, this will be enough to stop ichoring.
4. Apply more numbweed

Recovery: For minor injuries usually a day or two is all that is required. Numbweed will help clot the ichor, and so the wound will heal quickly. For more moderate injuries, usually no more than a sevenday is required. Obviously, if the injury is in a place that would be exacerbated, such as under the straps, on the wingsails, they will need to rest longer.

It is important to keep wounds clean and protected from further injury. The rider should be cautioned about the signs of infection and urged to seek a dragohealer if they notice any of these signs:

Increasing pain and soreness.
Swelling, redness and a feeling of heat around the wound.
Pus within, or oozing from, the wound.
Faint trails leading away from the wound.
If the infection is advanced, signs of thirst, gray hide and lethargy.

Constipation and Purging

Dragon's tails are forked, almost arrowhead in nature. It is in their tails that their sphincters are located. Excreta may be stored for several days, and then adult dragons go *between*. Weyrlings, and other dragons that are not able to go *between*, need to have their rider muck out their couch or weyr.

A dragon's genitalia are concealed behind pouch-like flaps of hide under the junction of tail and body. However, they are only revealed during mating.

If a dragon is allowed to overeat repeatedly, he or she will become constipated, complaining about their stomach being in pain, and occasionally even complaining about their genitals being in pain. Constipation is most common amongst weyrling dragons, but may happen in infirm dragons who aren't exercising. Adults rarely lack the good sense that keeps them from overeating.

Assess the situation: Is the dragon infirm? A weyrling? Have they been overeating?

Determination: Is tail will thickened with stored excreta?

Treatment:

1. Get the dragon to consume at least a gallon of linseed oil, or aloe juice. Purge sticks are something the Weyrlingmasters use to frighten Weyrlings into taking care of their lifemates properly.
2. Wait several hours, to a day. At this time, the dragon needs to be restricted to gentle activities. After this time the bowels will loosen, and the stored excreta will be expelled.

Recovery: The dragon may need a day or two to recover. Riders should clean up after their lifemate, unless the rider is infirm, to remind them to watch what their dragon eats.

Muscle Injuries

Dragon muscles are, on the whole, silvery-gray in color, though where the ichor supply is rich, for example in the wings, or legs, then the gray darkens, and may even be tinted with green from the ichor. They are heavily muscled, particularly their back legs. This allows them to leap far off the ground when they take off.

Injuries that seem to affect the muscles may also include the tendons and ligaments. Sprains happen when ligaments at, or near to, a joint are stretched, or damaged. A strain is a partial tearing of the muscle, often near the junction where the muscle and tendons anchor to the bone. Muscle may also be ruptured. This is where there is complete tearing of the muscle, which may occur in the fleshy part of the muscle, or in the tendon. Finally, there is always the association of deep bruising that can be extensive in large bulky muscles, such as the hind legs. Sprains, strains and deep bruising are very common and may occur from a wrenching, a sudden or violent, movement that tears at surrounding tissues, or from overstretching muscle groups.

Injuries of this nature can occur to wings, forelimbs, hind limbs, necks and even tails (from mating flights!) In young dragons it can be prevented through the use of muscle exercises, especially utilizing the water to develop muscle groups before they can be used as the water will cushion any deleterious effects. In older dragons muscle injuries may occur after a mating flight or after a threadfall that has encountered heavy winds.

Assess the situation: If the dragon is in pain, then ask a Gold to 'dampen' the pain and still the movement. Involve the rider. Ask the rider for details of the injury. If this is the result of a mating flight, make sure you start handing the rider skins of wine. Take control of the situation, but never forget to ask a rider first for permission to approach their lifemate - big dragon, in pain, equals a dangerous combination.

Determination: Is the dragon favoring one limb/wing etc over another? Is there any swelling? Local pain in the area, eased on elevation?

Treatment:

1. Numb the area with numbweed.
2. In severe cases it may become necessary to splint the injury, and allow it to rest properly. Splint with tree trunks, branches or other materials that have been prepared before hand. Supplies of these are kept in every dragon infirmary.
3. Rest and immobilization of site of injury. No flying if there is an ankle, leg, or wing injury. If it's a neck or tail injury, only gentle flying should be allowed, and certainly they should be restricted from mating flights (the dragon should not want to participate if they aren't feeling well!)

Recovery: Recovery time depends on the severity. This could be anything from a day or two, to several sevendays. Muscle injuries often benefit from immersion in salt water, and gentle exercise in the water. Both rider and dragon should be cautioned about returning to duty as the area may remain prone to similar injuries for some time.

Problematical Hide

Dragon hide is soft to the touch and hairless. It is not metallic and it doesn't have scales. It is, on the other hand, extremely resilient to most abrasive injuries and provides, like human skin, a barrier to infection. However, absorption of topical substances, such as numbweed and oil, is possible, though it can take some time to penetrate the thick epidermis to reach the germative layer.

Dragon hide should show no fluctuation in coloration unless there is a problem that has not been treated. Some may deepen with age, or turn gray at the muzzle, but on the whole they do not deviate from their base color. If their hide appears dull, patchy, or gray, then a dragonhealer is needed.

There are three main areas of neglect that will affect a dragon's hide. The first is that dragon hide needs to be oiled regularly. If it is not, then first dry patches, then later cracks, appear, which can be fatal when going *between*. This can be a particular problem in young dragons that grow so rapidly, but older dragons are not exempt. In Weyrling dragons, oiling is a daily necessity, the benefit in this is that the rider's hands end up incredibly soft. The second is the problem of ill-fitting straps. Straps that are not flexible, or that are cracked and damaged, can chafe a dragon's hide. These areas can become hypersensitive and crack, leading to problems going *between*. The third, and final, problem is that of dull, lackluster and gray hide. If this is your diagnosis your immediate thought should be dehydration, followed by some injury that has not been treated correctly.

Dry or Cracked hide:

Assess the situation: Ask the rider when they last oiled/bathed their lifemate.

Determination: Is the skin itchy? Do there appear to be dry areas? Is one part of the hide paler than the other? Is the hide flaking?

Treatment:

1. Instruct rider to bathe the dragon, paying particular attention to the region that's bothering the dragon. Use copious amounts of sand, and scrub dead hide away.
2. Thoroughly oil the dragon, and pay particular attention to the region that's bothering them.
3. Numbweed may be applied at dragonhealer's discretion if applicable.

Recovery: Dragon should not *between* when there is a risk of the dry hide cracking. Problem should clear up in a day or two. Riders should be instructed to pay closer attention to their lifemates and in particular to that region.

Chafed Hide:

Assess the situation: Are there patches that appear discolored, as if rubbed raw? Dry areas? Hide flaking?

Determination: Are the straps ill-fitting? Are the straps broken, twisted? Are the straps not flexible? Does the problem development when the straps are put on? Or does it develop when they are laying in their couch? Is it more painful, than itchy?

Treatment:

1. Instruct rider to bathe the dragon, paying particular attention to the region that's bothering the dragon. Use copious amounts of sand, and scrub dead hide away.
2. Thoroughly oil the dragon, and pay particular attention to the region that's bothering them.
3. Numbweed may be applied at dragonhealer's discretion if applicable.
4. Riding straps need to be corrected, but if this does not seem to be the problem, start checking couches etc for stones or lips that might irritate the hide.

Recovery: Dragon should not *between* when there is a risk of the hide cracking. Problem should clear up in a day or two. Riders should be instructed to pay closer attention to their lifemates and their straps. Straps should be inspected daily for wear and tear. If it continues being a problem, think about padding out parts of the straps with strips of suede.

Repiratory Problems

Dragon ribcages are a single piece of bone, not having the separate bones that humans do. It is therefore, not the intercostal muscles, which they do not have, that lie between each rib-bone that allows a dragon's lungs to inflate, but instead the diaphragm. The diaphragm of a dragon is a huge band of muscle that pulls the lungs down, and into the ribcage, or pushes them up, allowing air to move into and out of the lungs respectively. Dragons can inflate their dorsally placed lungs to approximately twice their normally inflated since, and presumably this assists respiration under pressure at higher altitudes. It is believed, that this also confers the ability to sustain a constant flame for some time during threadfall, whilst still flying at moderate altitudes.

Curiously, dragons do snore, despite reports from riders that say they do not, and it seems particularly prevalent in weyrling dragons. This is thought to be due to the fat to muscle content, which eventually levels out as they begin to eat less, and exercise more.

Respiratory conditions are dragons are not common, and are generally restricted to irritational problems, from inhalation of dust and/or sand. Thankfully they do not tend to be affected by colds and other influenza type illnesses.

Assess the situation: Has the dragon been flying sweeps through a sandstorm, or windy conditions?

Determination: Is the dragon coughing? Having problems breathing?

Treatment:

1. Make sure the dragon rests, and that they have plenty of water.
2. If the condition does not improve then start humidifying the air, by boiling water near the dragon.

Recovery: Dragon should be grounded from sweeps, and movement restricted for up to a sevenday. After that, altitude flying should be of short duration for up to one month.

Stomach Ailments

Dragons have two stomachs, one is for food, and the digestion of such, the other is for firestone, and the complex reaction that is necessary in order to generate flame. Early on dragons learn to concentrate on their second stomach when chewing firestone. However, accidents do happen during this important phase of learning, and often chunks of firestone end up in the food stomach. Ingestion of firestone, and passage into the correct stomach, leads to chemical reaction, catalyzed by an acid of some nature. The exact nature of this acid is unknown, but reports from dragons during weyrling training complaining of a burning feeling in their esophagus leads us to surmise it's a acid of some kind. Once the chemical reaction has been completed in this second stomach, then a number of flammable gases are produced, which, when belched forth, ignite on contact with air. Flames can be sustained for well over a minute in an experienced dragon, and the range can be altered from around 2 to 6 meters.

There is no secondary digestive tract for the second stomach, unlike the first, which passes to the tail. Therefore, the firestone, which has been masticated and subsequently digested inside the second stomach to an odorous ash, is not excreted but disgorged. As weyrlings, dragons regurgitate in ashpits near the weyrling barracks, but once *between* training is underway, dragons will disgorge the contents of their second stomach when in *between*.

Golds do not ingest firestone. The weyrwoman therefore use Flamethrowers in threadfall, which have as much variation in range as a dragon. However, it is an old aunties tale to believe that not ingesting firestone is the reason why golds are not sterile, unlike their green counterparts. Since gold firelizards ingest firestone, flame and still bear live clutches, it is believed there is something in the genetic makeup of a green dragon that makes her sterile, and not the firestone. Considering the frequency at which greens rise, this is somewhat of a relief to any Weyr.

Because dragons have two stomachs it is important to determine the cause of the discomfort. Overeating generally only happens in weyrling dragons. It can, and will, lead to constipation if left unchecked. Additionally, flying with an overfull stomach can lead to sprains and strains. Since dragons eat freshly killed meat, they do not encounter problems that some humans can have with bad meat and so the only other problem they may have is regurgitating acid from the second stomach. This burning feeling will be fleeting and often will pass with after a swallow or two. When dragons begin to chew firestone a stomach ache may result from chewing firestone that is of a poor grade. Bad firestone can be recognized by an uneven color, holes that vary widely in diameter, as well as tunnels that may go straight through the rock. This is why it is imperative that weyrlings are taught to sort firestone early on, so that when feeding their lifemates it becomes second nature to give them the right sized chunks, but also of sufficient quality to produce and sustain a good flame. However, in the case of bad firestone, the Weyrleaders need to be informed immediately so that the stores can be checked, and the minecraft notified.

Assess the situation: Ask the rider if the dragon has eaten recently, or if they have digested firestone? Have they regurgitated ash? Is the dragon still a weyrling?

Determination: Is the dragon complaining of an ache in their first or second stomach? If first stomach does their stomach look distended? If the second, is their flame unsustainable and blue?

Treatment:

Firestone
Once eaten, the only remedy for the consumption of bad firestone is letting the dragon cough up the ash. Dragons should not be allowed to head into threadfall after consuming bad firestone.

Recovery: The problem should clear once the firestone ash has been regurgitated.

Overeating
The dragon's eating habits need to be controlled better by their lifemates, especially since overeating can lead to constipation. Dragons should not be allowed to fly in case their strain themselves.

Recovery: Full recovery within a day.

Tongue Bites

Dragon tongues are forked, but they have little saliva, just barely enough to help protect from infection and help in masticating food and firestone. Too much saliva would complicate later reactions in the second stomach upon chewing firestone. The tongue does have taste buds, but unlike a human's it isn't as developed, and it is doubtful they differentiate between sour/sweet etc. However, their taste buds do allow them to discern between food and firestone, so that they can direct it to the correct stomach.

Dragon teeth are strong, which is fortunate as they have only the one set of teeth. They rarely break, but may do so in later age. The front teeth are sharp, canines, which are ideal for the ripping and rendering associated with hunting, and molar-like at the back of the mouth for chewing meat and firestone.

When Weyrling dragons begin to masticate firestone there is often the chance that they will bite their tongue sufficiently hard enough to make it ichor. Distracted dragons may also occasionally bite their tongues by accident, or those trying to eat large chunks of food, instead of using their front canines to rip it into manageable pieces. Weyrling dragons are hatched without their front teeth, and so their lifemates must cut up their food for them.

Assess the situation: Chewing firestone? Eating large chunks of food?

Determination: Is the tongue ichoring? Are their bite marks on the tongue?

Treatment:

1. Apply numbweed to the tongue, and let it heal.
2. No firestone chewing for time it takes to heal, and make sure that food is cut up into manageable chunks. Remind dragon to use other side of the mouth where possible.

Recovery: Saliva that is produced (extra will be produced because of the addition of numbweed to the mouth and because of the injury) will aid in the healing of the bitten part of the tongue. Tongue will be completely healed within two to three days. Advise caution in the future, and/or smaller chunks of food.

Basic Threadscore

Thread is the whole reason dragons were created in the first place. It is a parasitic organism somewhat similar to a Terran mycorrhiza, carbon-based and omnivorous. Although its exact origins are unknown, it is believed to hail from the Red Star, as the approach of the erratic wandering planet in the sky heralds a Pass of Thread. As it passes through Pern's atmosphere, Thread unfolds into its threatening form—a tangled mass of greyish-silver filaments that devours anything organic in its path. Thread can only be killed by flame, extreme cold, or water.

Threadscore is a severe burn, caused by the fact that the mycorrhiza grows very hot on its trip through the atmosphere. The edges of any Threadscore wound will be blackened and burned as if it were lanced through by a very hot blade. Dragon Threadscores generally don't need dousing in water, as they've generally gone through between immediately after sustaining the injury in an attempt to kill the Thread. However, in the event that a wound does need drowning, get the dragon into or near a lake if at all possible or else carry a lot of water buckets. Threadscore is extremely easy to diagnose—it looks like a cut that's been burned along the edges.

For the Basic Threadscoring target, all that needs to be cared for is the shallow, simple Threadscores that are so commonly sustained by fighting dragons. The symptoms will be clean lacerations of a burned nature, with blackened edges. Rider and dragon will both likely be uncomfortable, but no more than that.

Assess the situation: For mild Threadscores, rider and dragon should be in no more than discomfort, so it's possible to get the rider's assistance in treating the injury.

Determination: Where is the injury? Is it dirty in any way? Make sure that the Threadscoring is definitely of a basic nature. Look for deeper, more serious injuries. If you find these, make sure an experienced dragonhealer sees them right away and takes care of them.

Treatment:

1. If wound has become dirty (often char dust will be the main culprit), clean quickly but thoroughly with redwort solution.
2. Cover wounded area with numbweed.
3. Leave unbandaged if at all possible. If not, then bandage loosely.

Recovery: Simple scores are unlikely to trouble dragons once treated. Slightly deeper scores with no complications or infections may keep the dragon out of the air for a day
or two.

Basic Bonesetting

Unlike a human, dragon bones are not easily broken. Not only does the design buffer take-off and landings, but also animal meat (which on Pern has been genetically enhanced to contain Boron, though all the Ancient's records detailing this have been lost) contains an element that seems critical for maintenance of bone strength. A similar parallel is that we all require dairy products such as milk and cheese (calcium), for bone strength.

Despite their size, dragons are comfortable sitting in an upright position. Light, flexible plates are a major component of the dragon skeletal system, each plate designed to glide over each other. A ball and socket joint in their hips has been modified to provide extra suspension of the knees, preventing dislocation during the powerful thrusts needed to take off, and the fast landings.

A dragon ribcage is essentially a single piece, unlike a human's, and surprising large. The large diaphragm underneath the ribcage is responsible for pulling the ribcage up and down in order for air to flow in and out of the lungs. At altitude, dragon ribcages can double in size, allowing them to easily deal with changes in pressure.

The most complicated part of the skeleton is surely the wing, it being comprised of many bones which allow it to flex and furl. The easiest way in which to think of a dragon's wing is to consider a modified human arm. From the shoulder joint, two wingbones extend outward, running almost in series to each other as they are separated by the elbow. This forms the lub portion of the wing. These wingbones terminate in the finger joint, which is also sometimes known as a wingspar or pinion.

The finger joint can be paralleled to a human hand, including the metacarpals (hand bones), and a vestigial (unused) thumb. Additionally, from the finger joint, several bones stretch out to form the wing. The spar-bone provides the framework for the outer edge of the wing, running down to the forestay, or outermost, top of the wing. The mid-bone, and then the inner-bone, the one nearest the shoulder, also extend from the finger joint, and both, like the spar-bone are joined to provide the needed flexibility.

Any break or crack in a bone is called a fracture. Generally, considerable force is required in order to break a bone, but as a dragon gets older their bones may get weaker, just as a human's might. Conversely, bones in young dragons, especially those still growing, are supple, and instead may split, bend, or crack, rather than break. With the exception of the wing bones, a fracture in a dragon is extremely rare, with a dragonhealer maybe seeing one, at most two, in their lifetime. This is just as well, because the sheer mechanisms of dealing with a large bone fracture are staggering.

There are three main types of fracture, and two states of fracture. These are Simple, Comminuted and Greenstick types of fractures, and then open and closed states of fracture. This section will concentrate on closed Simple fractures, which are the easiest to deal with.

When the hide is intact around a fracture, the break is known as a closed fracture and can be associated with bruising and swelling. A Simple fracture is a clean break or crack in the bone. However, this clean break or crack may appear distant to the point of impact, so care must be taken to examine the dragon carefully if they complain of certain types of pain. In most cases the evidence of a broken bone will be obvious. The bone is quite likely to be bent at an impossible angle. However, in some case it may appear as if a severe sprain or dislocation. If a cracking noise was not heard, then differentiate between a fracture and a sprain by looking for limitations in mobility, or the inability to grip effectively if it is a foot. If a cracking noise was heard, ask the dragon if they feel tenderness over the affected area. If the injury is a dislocation the pain will be 'sickening', as opposed to 'painful'.

Once you have correctly diagnosed the injury, the fractured bone should be straightened and returned to its normal configuration. You may have to request the aid of other dragons in order to accomplish this. The injury should then be splinted securely, elevated if possible, and an attempt made to prevent motion of the bone wherever possible.

Assess the situation: If the dragon is in pain, then ask a Gold to 'dampen' the pain and still the movement. Involve the rider. Ask the rider for details of the injury, and keep them with you (don't get them too drunk, you need to ask them questions!). Take control of the situation, but never forget to ask a rider first for permission to approach their lifemate - big dragon, in pain, equals a dangerous combination.

Determination: Is the injury bent at an impossible, or distorted, angle? Is there any swelling? Is mobility restricted? Was a cracking noise heard? Is it tender over the area? Is that pain 'sickening'? Ask, as many questions as you can think of, as soon as possible, while both dragon and rider are still conscious because both are likely to be distressed. If the answers are: Yes, it's bent at an impossible, or distorted, angle; mobility is restricted; there was a cracking noise; the area is tender; and there is swelling; then you are dealing with a fracture and not a sprain nor a dislocation.

Treatment:

1. Immobilize immediately. Support if possible, but get weight off area. Remember that dragons are huge! You may need to enlist the help of other dragons, and or use a ladder/table to properly treat this injury.
2. Numb the wound and then make thorough assessments. It is likely that for most broken bones (wings and toes) numbweed will be enough to deaden the pain, but for larger bones (leg bones, etc), the numbweed will not penetrate the hide deep enough to work.
3. Pull steadily in a line with the bone, keeping it as straight as possible. You will have to have assistance from a larger dragon.
4. Splint with tree trunks, branches or other materials that have been prepared before hand. Supplies of these are kept in every dragon infirmary.
5. Move the dragon to the infirmary or a ground weyr. Other dragons can be used to help with supporting the injured one. Make sure that they have plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
6. Soaking in the lake/ocean will help further with swelling reduction, but support will be needed to and from the lake/ocean. Once the bone has begun to knit (approximately half the recovery time), then gentle exercise may begin to bring muscle strength back. It is recommended that these start in the water.

Recovery: This will vary, depending on the age of the dragon and the severity of the break. Figure on two months for a minor break (wingbone) and six months for a major break (leg bone). Some dragons will be permanently disabled after fractures, and might not be able to launch from the ground, fly in a straight line or fly an entire Threadfall.

Basic Pharmaceuticals

Aloe

Characteristics: Aloe can be characterized by its rosette of long, tapering, fleshy leaves that exude a thick sap when broken, aloe rarely grows more than 60 cm tall. There is no true stem or branches; the main body of the plant is merely the place from which all the leaves grow. Although it only grows in warm, dry regions, it also exists in pots throughout Pern. On the rare occasions that if flowers, it will grow a long flower stalk anywhere from one to six meters long, with yellow to red flowers that are quite pretty.

Uses: Burns and rashes. Can help to reduce scarring, and soothe itching.

Fellis

Characteristics: Fellis grows as a small, branchy tree easily recognized by its star-shaped yellow blossoms. The juice made from the leaves and stems is a powerful narcotic painkiller, with addictive tendencies. It is widely used in the Healing profession, but is always used with caution, and never where a lesser remedy will suffice.

Uses: Fellis juice is extremely bitter, is rarely given undiluted, being generally diluted in wine. It is extremely toxic to dragons, and even the smallest draft will cause a fatal reaction. Dragonhealers therefore only need to know how to recognize and know not to use this herb in any form

Needlethorn

Characteristics: Needlethorns are the spines of a succulent bush, which grows in the tropical regions of Pern. During the growing season, the plant will shoot the toxic spines at anything that disturbs it, but when the flowers of the Ging trees which grow nearby open in the autumn, the plant is dormant and the spines can be safely gathered.

Uses: The hollow needles are strong enough to be used for drawing ichor.

Numbweed

Characteristics: Numbweed is a succulent plant, which grows in greatest profusion in the semi-tropical and tropical regions of Pern, although it can be found in all areas.

Uses: Numbweed sap deadens all feeling on contact, but in its raw form it can blister the skin, and so is always used as a salve. It takes approximately 3 secs for Numbweed to penetrate the outer layer of dragon hide and slightly longer to go through to the germative layer. Numbweed is always used in its salve form by Dragonhealers. It is non-addictive, and in its salve form presents no danger of overdosing. Oil should be used to protect the hands when working with Numbweed for a long time. Redwort can be used when the contact will be for a short period of time

Redwort

Characteristics: Redwort is a small, shrublike plant which may be recognized by the reddish veins in its stem and its flat-topped reddish-purple flowers.

Uses: Redwort has two main uses: an antiseptic wash to prevent infection, and as a defense against the effects of Numbweed. All tools should be washed after use in very hot water with plenty of Sweetsand, and then rinsed in Redwort before storage in a sealed container. A tool whose sterility one is not certain of should be rinsed in Redwort before use. A healer should wash his or her hands well and then apply Redwort before touching a wound. Open wounds should be rinsed well with water, bathed with Redwort, and rinsed again to remove the Redwort before Numbweed is applied, as its protective effects are undesirable in that case. Healers should take care to apply Redwort and a light coat of oil to their hands before performing arduous work, such as stitches, on a wound coated with Numbweed, and to re-apply frequently to avoid losing feeling in their hands. The use of Redwort leaves a red stain on the skin which resembles a very localized sunburn.