“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” isn’t just an expression; it’s essential advice, especially when you’re dealing with medication for a wound. Infection can present a major setback to any wound that is healing. Your veterinarian’s treatment plan is designed to promote healing at a healthy pace, so what can you do to help?
Remember your mom telling you to “Keep your dirty fingers off that!”? This advice is never more important than when you are applying topical medications to wounds.
There are more bacteria or fungi present in the environment than we can imagine. Laboratories that test microbe reduction express this in terms of logarithmic calculations that factor these numbers into something that can be expressed without numbers followed by a lot of zeros. There are billions times billions of germs in the environment, and though some are good, some such as staphylococcus aureus (staph) and E.coli are not what you want on the wound that you are working to protect.
When applying topical medication, it is important not contaminate the wound or the medication. If you have surgical gloves, use them. But don’t double dip! Be sure to keep clean ones in your med chest, and if you touch something other than the wound, start again with new gloves. I’m never sure that I haven’t already contaminated them by the time I get them on my hands, so here is my method for applying topical medications to a wound.
Years ago, when treating a bird for a chest wound, I used Q-tips wrapped in plastic wrap so that I could apply the topical medication smoothly, eliminate friction, and avoid getting cotton fibers on the wound. Cotton absorbs bacteria. My avian vet loved the idea. I translated this to applying topical medications on larger wounds on my horses and dogs by moving up to a cosmetic blush brush.
I use a medium size soft makeup brush and a roll of plastic wrap. If you have soft artist brushes, they will also work. I take a piece of plastic wrap and carefully cover the brush. Don’t touch the plastic that is covering the brush! If you touch the wrap covering the brush, start over. Twist the excess wrap around the handle. You now have a very clean applicator that will glide smoothly over a wound leaving a thin, even layer of medication. If you need more medication, throw away the used plastic wrap, cover the brush with a new piece of plastic, and dip again without contaminating the medication.
Plastic wrap and a blush brush belong in your barn med chest. Keep your med chest clean and organized. Don’t put your fingers in your topical medications! If your topical medications are contaminated, toss them and get new ones from your vet. Last but not least, don’t double-dip. Once an applicator or finger has touched another surface, it potentially has a million times a million germs on it.
About the Author: Raymond Petterson is the President of Sox For Horses! Inc. whose sox, Silver Whinnys®, are finding their way into veterinarian treatment plans as the “bandage” of choice to help keep healing wounds clean and protected. Sox For Horses, Inc is an American company utilizing the best of American yarn science to produce American-made products; it has been providing owners and vets with products to help equines since 2008. Silver Whinnys are veterinarian recommended, owner referred, and equine approved. www.soxforhorses.com 850-907-5724 firstname.lastname@example.org
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