Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cleaning wounds

If you are going to clean a pet's wound at home, please, please, please do not use phenol-based antiseptics (eg Dettol) as these cause a chemical burn locally - and orally when the animal licks them! The dog above presented for sore feet. It had been running on rocks covered in oyster shells, and its well-meaning owner's bathed the sore feet in Dettol - making them a lot more sore. If you use anything, a gentle saline solution is best (you can make it yourself or grab some from the chemist) or povidone-iodine (the most popular brand here is Betadine, its the stuff that goes on red and dries yellow). Don't apply any human creams or lotions from your first-aid kit. They may be non-toxic on humans but remember animals groom themselves. One of my colleagues had a cat who developed fatal toxicity after grooming anti-inflammatory ointment (diclofenac sodium) off itself. Different species metabolise drugs completely differently: remember that dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and the rest are not small humans (and thank goodness, really, how boring life would be if they were!).