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Aiming for rapid healing with no scarring

01 June 2014, at 1:00am

AS a veterinarian, some of the most common ailments seen are wounds, writes Dr Brian Crook, president of Vital Animal Health in Colorado Springs, USA.

These can present in many ways: bite wounds, cuts and scrapes, hot spots, road rash, etc. Regardless of the cause of the wound, a systematic approach to treating it is critical.

First you start with an overall assessment of the health and stability of the animal. A wound that is open and bleeding can often distract from a thorough exam of the animal to assess for more serious life-threatening injuries.

After the assessment is done, immediate first aid is recommended. If the wound is actively bleeding, applying direct pressure is often the best solution. If bleeding is severe, a tourniquet may be required as a last resort.

Once bleeding is under control, cleaning the wound and preventing further contamination is essential. The wound should be cleaned (lavaged) to remove any macro and micro debris.

An excellent product for this is electrolyzed water (EOW), like Vital-VS Topical Spray. EOW is water that has gone through electrolysis to form a mildly acidic water that contains free chlorine in the form of hypochlorous acid.

It is mild and non-toxic in concentrations of less than 0.01%, but highly effective at cleaning the wounds and removing bacteria, fungus, and other contaminants. Thorough irrigation of the wound is advised. 

Surgical type scrubs and hydrogen peroxide should not be used as these can be damaging to the cells. If severe infection is present, a sample should be collected for culture and to test for antimicrobial sensitivity and a broad-spectrum antibiotic should be used, especially if a puncture wound is present.

Following lavage, it is best to shave the hair around the wound and any non-viable tissue should be removed (debrided).

At this point the wound can be assessed to see if it may be surgically closed or needs to be managed as an open wound. Surgical closure is preferred, but often cannot be performed due to the nature of the wound or infection.

For open wound management, I recommend treatment with Vital- VS Topical Spray on a daily basis to control infection and frequent, at least daily, bandage changes.

A non-adherent bandage and moist dressings are best to allow for wound healing. You may need to apply some form of Elizabethan collar to keep the animal from chewing the bandage. 

Additional debridement of the wound may be required. As healthy granulation tissue develops, bandage changes can be done less frequently.

Following these simple steps can result in rapid wound healing with minimal discomfort and scarring to the animal.

  • The products mentioned are available in the UK from Vet Way Ltd, 1 Harrier Court, Air eld Business Park, Elvington, York YO41 4AU; telephone 01904 607600, e-mail info@vet-way. com, website