Can anyone suggest something to stop my Greyhound, Joker, from licking the stitches on his back leg. He fell off a wall a few days ago (don't ask!) and scraped a load of skin off the inside of one of his back legs. This has been sorted out by my vet who, of course, has given me a "lampshade" for him. The problem is that he is a very big dog, with very long legs, and I live in quite a small house. His bed is in the space under the stairs which is also storage for all my homemade preserves on shelves and a rack with wine on it. There is no way I can use the lampshade as he would be sweeping everything off the shelves everytime he turns around on his bed, apart from the havoc he would create in the rest of the house as his head is well above the level of the dining room table.
I need something that I can spray or wipe on the wound that is antiseptic and tastes horrible. Any ideas?
Genny Stallabrass, by email
Alison Logan, vet, advises:
I was not a fan of the ‘lampshade’, also known as Elizabethan collar, until I was forced into using one on my own dog when she would not leave her sutures alone. Pippin had had to have the tip of her tail amputated after an unfortunate accident, and I had visions of repeat surgeries, with her poor tail becoming shorter and shorter, if she would not leave it alone. The Elizabethan collar was wonderful for her because she accepted it readily, as if she was relieved to be prevented from licking at her poor tail tip.
As you rightly point out, there are physical problems with the Elizabethan collar. Your description of where Joker lives under the stairs with your homemade preserves conjured up a nightmare picture in my mind. Being a Greyhound means he has a long snout so would need a longer collar than Pippin my Labrador Retriever, in order to be prevented from reaching his sutures. No, an Elizabethan collar is probably not ideal for you and Joker.
Have you come across Nurtured Pets’ Anti-LickStrip Prevent plasters? Have a look at the website www.nurturedpets.co.uk. I think this could well be the answer for you and Joker.