AS a veterinarian, some of the most
common ailments seen are wounds,
writes Dr Brian Crook, president of
Vital Animal Health in Colorado
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
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
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
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
Following lavage, it is best to shave
the hair around the wound and any
non-viable tissue should be removed
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
- 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 www.vet-way.com.