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Name: Sandra S.
Status: Other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: USA
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
I have always heard that animals lick their wounds for it to heal. My concern is infection form the bacteria from their mouth. I have a horse that has a wound she doesn't want me to treat, but she licks it clean. Is this licking helping her wound or it is setting her up for infection?



Replies:
Mouths are full of bacteria and other little microorganisms that can cause infection. If your horse has an open wound and you are concerned, I would consult a local veterinarian. Your vet can help you dress the wound properly, and if necessary prescribe antibiotics.

"When in doubt, consult your vet."

Saundra Sample


For the most part, the licking helps. But like anything else, licking in excess can make it worse.

There are enzymes in the saliva that can help keep it clean and even disinfect it, but the physical action of excessive licking can make the wound worse. I have seen dogs lick themselves down to bone.

So the best solution is usually to treat the wound with disinfectants and antibiotics by mouth, and avoid the licking.

Phillip Raclyn, D.V.M.



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