Tip of the trade - Wound pre-cleansing

We have all been told to pre-cleanse a wound before starting to treat it but many of us don't know how to do it correctly.

As a result, we talked with Dr Jason Lowe to find out how you can pre-cleanse your animal's wounds like a pro!

"Pre-cleansing an open wound is important as it helps to remove contaminants and debris in the wound bed which may lead to an increased chance of infection, explains Dr Lowe. 'Pre-cleansing is easy and is something I always do before treating any wound'.

To pre-cleanse I follow the sequence below:

  1. I cleanse the wound with cotton swabs which have been soaked in a non-stinging antiseptic solution, such as Chlorhexidine to kill the bacteria/yeast that may be present. I usually use a 2% solution as opposed to a 4% solution to reduce the chances of tissue irritation but either is fine. To cleanse the wound, I rub over it a number of times moving in a circular motion starting from the middle of the wound and moving outwards. This will ensure all of the debris and contaminants of the wound are removed.

    A good tip is to fill a plastic air-tight lunchbox container with cotton swabs and pour the antiseptic solution of your choice over them to saturate them. You can then leave the swabs in the plastic container in your tack room or with your vet kit so you always have the swabs on hand to use quickly.

  2. I then make a call about whether or not the hair around the wound needs to be trimmed. If the hair is long and likely to get stuck in the wound, then removing or shortening the surrounding hair is advisable. This can be done using clippers, scissors or a razor depending what you have on hand and what is likely to keep your four legged companion as calm as possible.

  3. Next it is time to flush out the wound with saline (sterilised salt water) or if you do not have this on hand you can mix 2 tsp of sea salt to 1 cup of water that has been boiled. You then syringe or pour this over the wound or if it is a hoof or paw wound you can stand the animal in a bucket of the solution for 3- 5 minutes. If the water has been boiled recently, wait until it is comfortable for you to touch yourself before cleansing the wound with it.

  4. Finally, I dry the wound off with sterile gauze or any other absorbent material like paper towel by patting it gently.

Once I have completed the sequence above I then treat the wound appropriately but if it is an open wound the Mānuka Vet™ Skin and Wound Gel is usually my 'go to' healing gel - Dr Jason Lowe.


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