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    PeterDobias.com / Blog / health knowledge

    Why thick scabs increase scarring and the risk of infections

    By Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. His love of dogs and passion for natural healing and nutrition led him to writing, teaching and helping people create health naturally, without drugs, chemicals and processed food.

    How you can help your dog's wounds heal faster

    Scabs - most of us have had a good share of them in our lifetime. Pretty much as soon as we start walking, we start our ‘scab collection’ with falls, face plants, bicycle mishaps…. When it comes to skin wounds, cuts and abrasions, our canine friends also usually get a pretty good collection by the time they are a few years old.

    My plan is to help you become the masters of wound and incision care.

    When most people see a wound, they clean it with hydrogen peroxide or chlorhexidine soap and don’t think twice. But these substances actually cause damage to the margin of the wound and slow down healing. Read more here.

    And there is another mistake that so many people make that causes an increased risk of wound infections and scarring. 

    Most of you know me as a dog lover and a canine vet, but when it comes to wound care, I learned the most important lessons from my early practice with horses. Much of equine medicine is about injuries and one of the most common injuries are skin cuts. 

    When nature created horses, it didn’t count on humans inventing fences and barbed wire. As a result, many horses get injured when their instincts tell them to run and a fence gets in the way.

    I spent countless hours stitching up wounds of different shapes and sizes and what I learned was that the most important part of healing was to keep the wound clean and free of scabs.  The best and the most effective way of ensuring fast healing was to use a hose or shower head to soak all the scabs and dry discharge off to free the margins so they can close. It is also important to apply a herbal wound spray to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. When repeated twice daily, wounds would heal beautifully, but if dry, thick scabs and discharge were left to cover the wound, infections and necrosis (dying of skin) were common.

    Gradually, I started seeing more small animals and eventually I became a canine vet, but I never forgot the lesson horses taught me. Instinctively, I follow the same approach for wounds in dogs and soak off the scabs with a piece of sterile gauze and either water or saline solution. Then I rinse the wound with body temperature, or colder, water before I apply Skin Spray.

    Similar to horses, dogs respond amazingly well to this treatment and heal faster and have much less scarring. 

    Perhaps you are thinking, ‘why should one remove scabs when nature created them?’ To be honest, I do not know, but from what I have learned it is good to prevent scab formation until about seven days after the injury. By that point, the scab will be thin and allow the skin margins to come together quickly.

    And if you are in doubt about what I just wrote here, do a little experiment the next time you have a skin abrasion. I will bet the ‘no scab approach’ will result in faster healing and minimal scarring.

    Thanks for sharing this article with those you care about.

    Recommended reading:

    Why hydrogen peroxide should not be used on wounds

    5 most common mistakes people make when treating skin wounds and incisions

    Natural treatment of wounds, incisions, hotspots, bee stings, insect bites and more

    © Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

    Product Reference

    Items referenced in this article.

    Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. He graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 in the Czech Republic and obtained the Canadian Certificate of Qualification in 1995. He is currently licensed in the European Union, and his unique approach to healing and nutrition helps holistically minded dog lovers worldwide.

    Dr. Dobias strongly believes that disease prevention, natural nutrition and supplements, the right exercise and a drug free approach to medicine can add years to your dog's life.

    As a formulator of his all-natural vitamin and supplement line and co-inventor of natural, chemical free flea and tick control, FleaHex® and TickHex®, his unique healing system and products currently hold the highest independent five star customer rating. For more information click here.

    Any general recommendations that Dr. Dobias makes are not a substitute for the appropriate veterinary care and are for informational and educational purposes only.

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