Published on December 11th, 2017 | by Debbie Martin0
Tips and Advice – Helping Pet Wounds to Heal
Any wound on any pet presents a balancing act for the veterinary team and the owner. On one hand, the wound needs to be kept clean, but dogs, cats and rabbits are not always so obliging! And then there is the itching as the wound heals, leading to your pet spending hours licking, scratching and biting at the wound.
As a result, the main wound management tool for pets was a plastic collar around the neck. But these break down quickly, as well as taking the paint off door frames and leaving you with grazes on your legs! Unwieldy, these plastic funnel collars are more of a nuisance than an aid.
There are alternatives: pet medical shirts and wound dressings that use the healing powers of manuka honey.
Manuka Honey and Wounds
Manuka honey is produced by bees in New Zealand using the pollen from the native Manuka bush. The anti-bacterial properties of manuka honey for treating wound infections in both humans and animals have long been known, but its true properties were not scientifically understood until the late 20th Century.
Some trials have shown that more than 250 strains of bacteria can be effectively eradicated, using Manuka Honey, including some strains that are becoming antibiotic-resistant, great news for humans and animals. The unique factor in Manuka that makes is so effective has been labelled the Unique Manuka Factor (or UMF for short) and is known to give this kind of honey its extraordinary antibacterial properties. (see earlier post for more)
Wounds in dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals can become infected. Dressing them can present so many issues. Depending on the wound – always follow your veterinary surgeon’s advice – Manuka honey applied to the wound can give it the protective covering it needs to heal, but also to minimise the risk of infection.
But science and nature working hand in hand is a powerful force and this is why special dressing and wound cream with both scientific additions and Manuka honey are helping pets to recover quickly from wounds and operations.
For example, hydrophilic foam dressings are capable of absorbing a large amount of fluid, important in keeping the wound dry and aiding a layer of skin to form. Complete with bacteria-proof backing, this dressing helps to minimise infection too.
Available in a range of sizes, they can also be cut to shape and with Manuka honey enriched cream applied too, your pet has the best chance of healing from an operation, without bacteria giving cause for concern.
Medical Pet Shirts
After surgery, pets were normally fitted with a plastic trunk collar. This is attached to their collar and protrudes forward over their head. The concept is relatively simple – it stops them from licking or biting their wound area.
But there are many disadvantages – the break easily, for example, they catch furniture, people’s legs and so on, and it is also more difficult for the pet to eat and drink. After only a few days, these plastic collars can be such a nuisance that most owners have had enough and remove them.
Providing the pet leaves the wound to heal, this is not an issue but what if they do keep licking or biting the wound area? It can become sore and infected, taken longer to heal.
There is an alternative in the shape of a medical short for pets. Available in a range of styles, colours and sizes, there is sure to be one to fit your pet. But what are the advantages of using a medical pet shirt?
- Great protection after surgery – they cover the wound, helping to keep dressings in place and promote healing by preventing your pet from scratching or biting the area.
- Great for itchy skin or cases of skin disease – pets can pick up all kinds of skin infections but with the medical short, healing is promoted because they cannot keep scratching and opening up sores.
- Keep your pet warm – like humans, after an operation or during periods of illness, it is important to keep the pet warm. Most pets will have a large section of their furred shaved for surgery and this means they don’t retain heat as well. With the medical pet shirt, they have a welcome extra layer of warmth.
- Easy to use – there is no fiddling with a tricky collar or a need to attach the cone etc. as with the shirt, you simply pull it on and off gently.
- Keep it on – Fido may be fired up ready for his walk but taking him with the large plastic collar on can be problematic! The medical pet shirt doesn’t need to be removed. Simply click the lead onto the collar and away you go.
- Washable and re-useable – looking after our pets, especially after surgery or when they are ill, is expensive and so it is with a certain amount of relief to know that the medical short can be washed and used again. Follow the washing instructions carefully, but most are washable at 30°.
- Comfortable – frankly, the medical shirt wins hands down in the comfortable stakes, especially when measured against the plastic cone fitted to your dog’s head. Hard to sleep with it on, it is tempting to remove the cone but this can lead to problems further down the line.
Wound care in pets is a balancing act but the powerful combination of Mother Nature in the form of Manuka Honey and science, presents many options. As well as anti-bacterial dressings and wound creams, the pet medical short offers a satisfying alternative to the large, plastic cone or ‘cone of shame’.
Reusable, the medical short is a great piece of kit to have for your pet when he is under the weather or when he is suffering from a wound or a skin condition. Because it can be washed, many people favour the medical short for helping them to help their pet recover from illness or an operation.