Licking and Infection |
Name: Sandra S.
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
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
and if necessary prescribe antibiotics.
"When in doubt, consult your vet."
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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Update: June 2012