“Dedicated to providing gentle, compassionate care for companion animals”

 
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Last week I had an appointment on my schedule to see a mouse from the pet store with a bite wound. I didn’t know what to expect when his little white face peeked out from under his towel, but I soon found out that this was no ordinary lesion. The bite must have happened a while ago – at least a week or two – and gone undetected until it formed an abscess that ruptured, causing the skin over his back to slough off. The odor was terrible and the poor little mouse must have been in so much pain. I was very grateful that the pet store manager brought him in right away.

I spoke with the manager about my concerns. Over half of the mouse’s skin was missing and there was a deep infection present. We agreed that the most humane decision might be to put him to sleep. However, I obtained permission to surgically explore the wound under anesthesia before making this decision. Regardless, I went into the surgery with poor hopes for this little guy’s survival.

I held my breath in the operating room as I trimmed away the necrotic tissue to reveal whatever may lie underneath the sloughed skin. And to my great surprise, Mother Nature was way ahead of me. There was already a healthy bed of granulation tissue in the wound (the necessary first tissue in wound healing) and the edges had already reattached to the underlying muscle. There was still a serious infection and a large defect over the patient’s back, but there was also a chance that he could survive this injury with a little help.

Encouraged, I cleaned the wound and flushed it thoroughly with sterile saline. When the mouse awoke from anesthesia we decided to name him “Flap Jack” in honor of the flap of skin he now had to re-grow:

Flap Jack's injury on day 1 Continue reading

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Honey sure tastes good on warm cornbread and biscuits, but do you know it also has a use in treating wounds?  Believe it or not, the use of honey to treat wounds dates back to 2000 B.C.!  Honey has been used for centuries to clean and speed the healing of wounds and is still used today in human medicine to treat contaminated wounds or infected body cavities.

Honey has many different mechanisms that help with the treatment of wounds. Honey has a variety of sugars, protein, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. These properties help to decrease edema (swelling) at the site of the wound, attract important white blood cells to the wound to help cleanse the wound, and helps form a healthy bed of granulation tissue. Honey also has high levels of antioxidants, which helps promote the formation of vessels and new tissue in the area.

In addition to the wonderful help honey provides to wound healing, honey also has antibacterial properties. The high acidity and content of hydrogen peroxide help reduce the number of bacteria in a wound. Honey also has a specific antibacterial factor called inhibine, which is unique to honey.  And, honey also helps reduce the odor produced by a wound!

Cody

Recently, I had the opportunity to treat a patient who had a contaminated, old wound using a honey bandage. Cody came in after he had an unfortunate incident with a barbed wire fence. His wound was trying to heal on its own, but there were some areas that were being stubborn. Because his wound had been there for several days, there was already some granulation tissue present, which is the healing layer of a wound and must be there before the skin can come together. I didn’t want to disrupt this layer but also knew that we needed to help his wound with the healing process. And thus it came down to either starting over and performing surgery to completely remove the wound….or trying a honey bandage!

Cody had his honey bandage placed and we checked it several days later. It was amazing to see the progress! The edges of his wound has improved dramatically and his wound had a completely normal layer of granulation tissue. We placed several more honey bandages over the course of 10 days.  Each time, we saw major improvement in his wound appearance. By the end of the 10 days, Cody’s wound had reached a point where the skin would slowly come together on its own.

Cody is doing great at home and his fur is starting to grow back in the area where his wound was! Because of the honey bandage, we were able to save Cody from reconstructive surgery.

Next time you get out the honey, you can now think of all it’s “wounderful” abilities!

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