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Posted on 02-13-2015

Your shins and back of your calves might be sore and bruised from your pet unexpectedly running into you, but that is a low price to pay considering the trouble your fury friend may get into if an E-collar is not worn when instructed by your veterinarian. At the time, the collar may seem like a burden for both you and your pet, but it could save your best friend from suffering a potential complication as they are recovering from surgery or healing from a medical issue.

Lampshade, cone of shame, satellite, the list goes on and on. The E-collar goes by many names, but where does the "E" in E-collar come from? The full name is actually an Elizabethan collar. The name stems from the large collar on clothing worn by woman in the "Elizabethan Era" in England. But believe me, the intentions of an E-collar are far more important than making your pet look like a goofy lass from long ago.

If you have been asked to make sure your pet wears an E-collar, they are most likely recovering from a medical related issue. The main purpose of the E-collar is to prevent your pet from bothering with the affected area. This would include your pet licking, biting, or scratching at the area we are trying to keep them away from. The most common situation where an E-collar is used is after a surgery. Sutures or staples most likely have been placed to hold together an incision so the tissue and skin can properly heal over a period of time. Any type of disruption to the incision during the healing process can delay recovery, as well as increase the chances of infection.

It is very important to follow your veterinarian's instructions as to how long the collar should remain in place. Some animals don't seem to mind the cone, others beg to differ, and beg they will. Your pet may try to make you feel bad for them, as they look at you with those miserable eyes. But don't let them fool you! Even the most well behaved dog will try to bother the area we are trying to keep clean given the opportunity. Yes, they are able to eat with it on and yes, they will sleep with it on too! They might run into a few walls and family member's legs in the beginning, but your pet will eventually adjust and get used to the feeling of it being there. If your pet is not a fan of the collar you have been provided, there are other options with the same purpose as alternatives. E-collars come in many sizes obviously but they also vary in material, durability, and comfort. Depending on location of the wound or incision, a certain type may be recommended over another. This is always in the pet's best interest for healing, not to make them uncomfortable! Some animals can become destructive of the collar. If they did that to the collar, imagine what they could do to a surgical site! If an E-collar breaks in anyway, it is important to replace it or repair it immediately. Owners have gotten pretty crafty with their repairs on E-collars. Duct tape works great!

How the E-collar fits is just as important as wearing it in the first place! If the collar is too big, your pet maybe able to maneuver around it. If the collar is too short, their snout and mouth will be able to reach. (which is what we are trying to avoid!) You also don't want it to be too loose or too tight. Proper fitting of the collar is its key to success. You want to make sure that their nose does not stick out further than the collar. To judge if it is too loose or too tight, stick two fingers between the collar and the neck.

It's a common misconception that dogs have a cleaner mouth than human. Have you ever seen them groom themselves?! Keeping that dirty mouth away from a surgical site is important. Whether they are licking or chewing, keeping this area clean and untouched is your best bet for a healthy, speedy recovery. The E-collar is the answer!

Written by Taryn Wolf, receptionist

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