E-collars are a vital part of post-operative care for your pet. They prevent your pet from biting, licking, pawing, rubbing and scratching at incisions or from trying to eat off a bandage. During the healing process, pets can become bored and the incision can become itchy. Even the calmest, quietest, and most well-behaved pet may be enticed to nibble at the incision or bandage as soon as you turn around!
The e-collar should be worn at all times that your pet is unattended until the incision is completely healed (which may take 1-2+ weeks).
Please notify the hospital if you are concerned that your pet can get around the collar as adjustments may need to be made.
Risks of removing e-collar at home post-operatively:
- Chewed out stitches (that may require additional surgery)
- Infections that require antibiotics
- Bandage trauma, which can lead to bandage sores, infection and more frequent bandage changes
- Additional costs due to any of the above complications
Signs of possible infection:
- Excessive redness around the surgery site
- Glossy/shiny appearance on/around the surgery site
- Incision is warm/hot to the touch
- Fever (temperature at/above 103 degrees F)
- Pus (thick, whitish-yellow fluid) or discharge from the incision
- Bleeding (bright red)
“My pet can’t eat, sleep or drink water with this thing on!” Here are some tips!
- Use bowls that are smaller in diameter than the cone
- Move bowls away from walls to give more space and easier access
- Create a make shift elevated stand for food and water bowls. Try using a footstool or taller stable base. Sometimes the opposite may work better, try placing bowls directly on the floor (if it is normally on a stand)
- Try a shallow bowl or plate
- Hand feeding will work in worst-case scenarios
- If you must remove the e-collar for eating and drinking, monitor your pet during the whole process and then replace the e-collar once he/she is done eating
- Your furry friend may take a night or two to adjust to sleeping with the cone on, but they will find the right position and rest well, even with it on
- Try NOT to remove the collar very often. The more consistently they wear it, the faster they will adjust
Aren’t there different types of e-collars? Yes, but they are not all equal!
- The veterinary surgeon will determine what works best for your individual pet, however, mostly hard plastic e-collars are recommended
- There are soft-sided fabric collars. Sometimes they work but can be more easily bent and maneuvered around. Large dogs and small-long bodied dogs can reach around them and, depending on the location of the incision, may not offer adequate protection
- Donut inflatable e-collars and bite-not collars can sometimes be appropriate for the patient based on the incision location (but not always)
- There are specific times when a t-shirt/ body suit or bandage may work best. We will instruct you if an alternative to a cone is appropriate.