The Cone of Shame.

So, what is up with those Elizabethan collars and why do vets say they are so important? Well, despite their shape, E-collars are not meant to help your pet blend in at the lamp store! They are used to deter your pet from licking, chewing, scratching or rubbing an incision, sore spot, wound or bandage. Most post-operative incisional complications occur from self-trauma. Despite the old wives’ tale that dog saliva helps healing, the truth is that licking, chewing or scratching an incision can lead to skin irritation, bacterial contamination of the wound and prolonged healing. Especially traumatizing are the rough spikes on a cat’s tongue; they can even snag skin stitches and pull them out before the wound has healed! Just think of the potential costs associated with these complications – both to your pet’s health as well as your wallet!

We know it looks like torture… to see those sad puppy dog eyes inside the cone of shame is heartbreaking, and we know your dog is probably going to knock down some knick-knacks or your cat might get stuck in the litter box. But please rest assured that we only recommend this awkward contraption for your pet’s safety. It is best to leave the E-collar on at all times – your pet will be able to eat and drink and figure out how to get through that doorway eventually! They even make different kinds of E-collars now, including blow-up neck tubes, soft cones and rigid neck braces. Talk to your veterinarian about which is best for you and your pet’s particular condition.

If your furry friend has been diagnosed with a condition requiring surgery, please call Dr. Frey to discuss the “softer side of surgery” … because quality care shouldn’t be hard!

Tracy Nicole Frey, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons

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