Tie-over dressing
A tie-over dressing. Image source: VNT:CPD, Sept 2008 – “Wound care and management” by Alison Young DipAVN(Surgery), RVN.

One of my colleagues showed me a technique we found to be a really useful aid to wound management.

We all know open wounds can take ages to heal by second intention, depending on wound size, infection, blood supply and a patient’s health. My colleague recommends tie-over bandages are used until the wound is no longer infected and can then be closed without tension.

Tie-over bandages provide a method for stretching and lengthening the local skin to facilitate wound closure. The amount of skin relaxation obtained depends on the location of the wound and the local skin character. Maximal stretch is usually noted within 2 to 3 days after placement of tension on the skin.

Tie-over bandages are also useful for securing bandages in areas that are difficult to incorporate into a regular bandage, or to reduce tension on primarily closed wounds (mast cell tumours, for example).

I also came across an article (Tobias, 2015) on just this subject that stated: “The laces are tightened 2 to 3 times a day to gradually increase tension on the skin. Most animals require sedation and analgesics during bandage changes for the first 3 to 5 days. If wounds are effusive or the laces are tight, the lacing material usually must be cut to change the bandage.”

I have limited experience of this technique, but it is definitely one worth considering in cases with difficult areas to bandage.

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