This week (May 4 to 11) is National Honey Week, so why should the veterinary industry celebrate this extraordinary substance?

National Honey Week Honey has been used to treat infected wounds for over 2,000 years but with the advancement of 20th Century medicine and the advent of penicillin, honeys medicinal qualities were forgotten.

However, it has recently re-emerged with a number of wound care studies showing honey to be highly effective on abscesses, burns and surgical wounds.

Medical grade Manuka honey, such as Activon honey available from Dechra Veterinary Products, has an antibacterial and antimicrobial action, which has been shown to be effective against over 70 strains of bacteria commonly found in wounds, including MRSA.

The honey has an osmotic effect that draws fluid from a wound bed and helps to deslough and debride necrotic tissue that can harbour bacteria and impede wound healing. It protects the wound bed and provides a moist wound healing environment and the water soluble antioxidants provide favourable conditions that promote granulation and epithelialisation, thus faster healing. There is a rapid reduction in odour when honey is applied to a malodorous wound and it also acts as an anti-inflammatory, which therefore reduces pain.

So if you’re not already benefiting from the uses of honey in wound management, why not give it a try this National Honey Week?

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