Michael Goldberg, DVM, CHom
Now that the weather is warm, our cats and dogs generally spend more time outside where they encounter other four-legged creatures. Sometimes we hear a dog or cat fight but don't know whether our pet is involved.
Now that the weather is warm, our cats and dogs generally spend more time outside where they encounter other four-legged creatures. Sometimes we hear a dog or cat fight but don’t know whether our pet is involved.
When your pet comes indoors, check for bites and sore spots by running your hands gently along its skin. Be careful, as sometimes an animal will strike out if it is very sore at the wound site.
If you find a bite wound, clean it with a mild disinfectant solution: diluted tincture of golden seal works well, but you can use any other natural disinfectant, from tea tree oil to calendula and even peroxide.
Once the area is clean, help heal the bite wound and avoid the use of antibiotics by applying a warm compress three or four times daily. Dissolve a handful of Epsom salts in four cups (one litre) warm water; soak a wad of cheesecloth or gauze in the solution; and hot pack the area for five minutes. The hot pack increases blood supply to the area thus increasing the effectiveness of immune cells in fighting bacteria localized in the region. The Epsom salts solution is hypertonic and will draw out fluids and debris from the bite area. Together these remedies may prevent infection from spreading, reducing the need for antibiotics.
Homeopathic remedies may help when given three times daily for two or three days or until the wound is no longer red and swollen. A 200C potency should be adequate.
Arnica is useful if a lot of bruising is visible in the skin and your pet is in a lot of pain. Also use it for the “macho” type that keeps a “stiff upper lip” despite injury.
Lachesis, derived from the venom of the South American bushmaster snake, is useful if the area around the bite wound is painful and bluish due to tissue death. Also, use it if your pet seems to be angry whenever you try to clean the wound.
Ledum, or marsh tea, is useful if the bite wound is cool to touch. This remedy has been shown to help bite wounds that respond with a cool, as opposed to a warm feel.
Hepar sulphuris is useful if the wound is very sensitive to touch and the pet becomes irritable when dealt with. Potencies greater than 30C tend to abort any abscess, whereas lower potencies are useful to drain the wound once pus has accumulated.
Silica is useful when the pet is timid and yielding, and the wound is not sensitive to touch.
Watch for Abscesses
If the wound area swells, an abscess may be forming and your pet should see your veterinarian for evaluation. At the first sign of any swelling, Hepar sulphuris in low potency (6C) may be given up to four times daily, if the wound is sensitive to touch. Apply Silica at 30C potency as often as four times daily if the wound is not overly sensitive to touch.
Wounds on the extremities may involve the bone as well; so if your pet is not doing well after a few days of homeopathic therapy, or if it loses appetite, see your veterinarian.