Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bandaging For Greyhounds

First start with a clean, dry leg. If I am washing a wound between bandage changes, I feel it is important for the leg to be dry especially between the toes. I have used a hair dryer on a cool, low setting to speed the process.

Place a non-stick, sterile pad against wounds. Here, I have placed the pad against the surgical site because it may still bleed slightly.
Place cotton between the toes. This is very important and often neglected. Without cotton, the toes will be squeezed together inside the bandage, the outside nails will rub against the middle toes and create a painful wound. Next, I take cotton from a cotton roll found in any first aid section and wrap the leg, but not too thick. I like just enough to provide some padding.I secure the cotton with a trip of 4 inch Vet Wrap around the leg just one time. I suggest pulling the section you need from the roll (like you see below) and then wrapping. It is one way to reduce the risk of pulling the Vet Wrap too tightly.
Next, I take 2 inch Vet Wrap (or I cut 4 inch Vet Wrap down the middle).
I wrap the 2 inch Vet Wrap diagonal across the side of the foot, underneath, and then diagonally back up the other side of the foot.I take another piece of 2 inch Vet Wrap and attach a strip to the front of the leg, bring it across the middle toes and nails, and back up the back of the leg. To finish up with Vet Wrap, I then wrap the leg with the 4 inch version to secure my 2 inch sections that cover the toes. The reason I do not wrap the leg in one long continous strip of Vet Wrap is that I do not like wrinkles. Back when I rode horses, I was taught to be very partcular about bandages and to wrap without wrinkles. It is just my way now.

I have a love/hate relationship with Elastikon. Elastikon is similar to a sticky Ace bandage. Its flexible, stretchy, and has adhesive. It is great for keeping a bandage from slipping, but it also can pull off hair when removed and damage the skin. It can be especially painful if you are having to do multiple bandage changes.

To reduce the strength of the adhesive, I cut the amount of Elastikon I need off of the roll and then I stick the strip to my shirt, a dog bed, or the carpet. I want the strip to pick up some lint, dog hair, or other fibers to make the Elastikon less sticky and easier to remove later.
I wrap the Elastikon around the top of the Vet Wrap bandage and I end the strip of Elastikon on a little bit of fur so the bandage does not slip down. In the picture below, the Elastikon strip ends on the outside of her leg. Next time, I might end it on the inside or the front or the back or higher or lower on the leg. This prevents the same section of skin and hair from being abused by Elastikon adhesive.
I also use a strip of Elastikon around the foot at the bottom of the wrap. It is not necessary to reduce the strength of the adhesive if you are just sticking it to Vet Wrap (and not fur).
Again, do not pull the bandage tightly.
Lastly, I like to spray my bandages with a product called Bitter Apple to make it taste bad. It does not work for all dogs, but it does help to reduce chewing the bandage. Other products for this purpose include Anti-Lick Strips and Lick Guard. I also saw a bandage called Pet Flex No Chew which is a bitter tasting bandage. Unfortunately, it does not come in all the cool colors that Vet Wrap does..... but if it stops a chewer, it is worth it.  Obviously, it did not stop Seven...
 OMG... this is so tasty!

All of these products and materials listed above can be purchased at on Amazon.


Sandy ~~~ said...

hey jennifer..thanks so much for the tip about reducing the stickiness of the Elastikon. Oh, poor Creel, he has lost some fur before when I have removed even the smallest amount of tape, with fuzz attached. He looks at me like OUCH, how is that supposed to make things better! The other day he scratched his inner upper arm. Just a little scratch, now a lick granuloma. Time to bring out the vetrap, etc....think I will try some Vetricyn on it this time.

houndstooth said...

In all the years we were bandaging Lilac's toes thanks to SLO, I never once thought to do a post like this! It's awesome! Another thing I learned that you can do to stop a chewer that is actually really cheap is to rub deodorant on the bandage after you're done. Lilac barely tasted it once and then never went near it again!

Declan said...

That's great. I don't want to tempt fate, but Mum says I'm the most gormless greyhound she's ever met, so your tips are bound to come in handy at some point! Deccy x

Nibs said...

(Nib's mum here-) Excellent post, really helpful! I didn't know how lucky we were with my vet, I recently looked after my friends grey for two weeks as she was injured herself and didn't have enough movement to care for him and his injury- our vets used a method very similar to your own and talked myself and my other friend through it so we could care for the injured grey. I didn't realise that careless bandaging was a fair problem at vet centres! I feel very lucky, and I'm going to 'favourite' this page for (hopefully not needed) future reference! xx

Xan Blackburn said...

I've seen you post your method before, but I still read it carefully again, for the next time. We also had injuries made worse - multiplied! - by bad vet-bandaging, and I wish I'd known this then!

A good tip for removing sticky bandages without damage is to put some vegetable oil in a squirt bottle and soak the bandage, removing slowly as it softens the adhesive. I had to do this while dealing with an IV for a few weeks, and it really made all the difference.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this! My lab just came home from the vet with a bandaged leg due to cutting his pad on some ice and they gave me no clue on how to re-wrap his leg. Only told me to try to keep the bandage on him for 7 days. Given he is an 8 month old pup and goes outside (in the snow, ice) probably 10 times a day, I know for sure this bandage that THEY put on him won't last 24 hours if I'm lucky! I really appreciate your detailed directions AND your readers extra tips on how to make the bandage unappetizing!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I'm glad it helped with your lab!