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  How to stop your hound gnawing stitches after an op

In June 2012 one of our group Mandy asked advice on post-op treatment for her Humphrey (hound not hubbie we presume). Everyone was emailed and the results are shown below. You will not be surprised to read that solutions ranged from the bizarre - old pants – to exotic. They're all listed here, in no particular order of merit. And thank you to all who responded. (See bottom of page for Mandy's reply)

  1. We have bertie basset and we had the same thing done and the comfy collar didn't work for us. We had the big bucket plastic one on and he was able to lick the stitches if he got himself in a certain position. We did however get told to use sudacreme on his stiches and the smell deterd  him also the cream helped the healing process. Joanna Neale
  2. one of my 3 wears a collar constantly in the house as she has severe allergies and chews her feet and scratches her face til it bleeds.  I found a slightly more forgiving version of the classic elizabethan collar in pets at home.  It has a fabric trim round the edge and the plastic is slightly softer than the very rigid one you get given in the vets.  It's only a small difference but it helps, it has a little more give when smashing into door frames and your legs and she's been wearing the same collar for 6 months now and it hasn't cracked yet.  Have never tried the comfy collar though so can't comment.
    Sam Morgan
  3. I used old pants....Large sort of Apple Catchers do the trick, cut a lil hole for the tail, and hey presto....Gilbert looked lush in his!
    Tina Querzani
  4. Sorry never heard of the inflatable ones but have had occasion to use the plastic ones a couple of times and never really found it a problem. I think it depends on the temperament of the particular dog and if he does not like a plastic one he also will not like any other sort. We had a Bulldog (sadly now died) as well as our Bassets and you could dress him from head to toe in anything you liked and he just carried on as normal. He always wore a hat in the sun.
    Michael Webber
  5. thought I would share our experience with you all and maybe it would help. After our beagle came back from the vet and had eaten the plastic collar supplied by the vet within the hour we went out and brought a fabric collar that looked like a clowns ruffle and that worked brilliantly as it sits facing backwards against the body rather than out the front allowing him to actually see where he was going and stopped him reaching the Op site. When June the Bassett came home after the ‘Op’ she again was wearing the plastic collar supplied by the vet which of course due to the low undercarriage didn’t work and she kept hurting herself banging into things and tripping over the plastic monstrosity! So again we used the fabric collar with great success! Please find the link for the collar and I hope that Humphrey  gets on well with it as much as Marley and June did!
    Matt Baskerville
  6. I am the owner of a basset hound x great dane called Rufus. As you can imagine he his VERY long. He had an operation last year and we used one of the inflatable "doughnut" type collars very successfully for around 3 weeks. I have included a photo of him in it. He hates the buster collars as he needs such a large one that it touches the floor when he walks, that was why we opted to try for the inflatable. He was much more comfortable and in fact used it like a pillow to sleep on. I hope that helps.
    Charlie Lucas

    Rufus collar
  7. None of ours had to wear 1 after their spays,castration and they never touched stiches, dont bother with it , mandy just had her dog done and he never had a collar either.
    Chris Dodd
  8. Comfy collars available from Amazon for £10.00 - £11.00. But I reckon a determined hound could still reach his nether regions wearing one...though have never put it to the test.
    Sue Chapman
  9. I know this sound really wierd but when we had Fred 'sorted' there was no way on the face of this eatch that he would wear a collar so we put a t shirt on him and tied it up at the end, not very dignified but easy to wash (we had several) stopped him getting to his stitches and after a while he stopped noticing it. Worth a try.
    Sue Marsland.
  10. Recently had Boris castrated (at 6 years old so a big houndie) and at the same time (to add insult to injury) had his teeth scaled and polished. He did not need to have a collar. My vet hid the stitches internally and there were a couple of tiny sutures visible outside. The wound was incredibly neat. I was asked to keep him ‘quiet ‘ for a week – so just gentle walks on a lead... All the stitches  dissolved on their own and did not need to be removed. My vet said with this method then 9 out of 10 dogs do not need a collar as there are no external sutures to lick or nibble at. I had no issues at all and no collar. I would question the vet closely as to the method they are using as it seems there are different ways of managing this operation. Good luck. Dianne Billing.
Humphrey in collar
Thanks to everyone who offered advice for dealing with Humphrey & his post op period. I thought I ought to update everyone who was kind enough to contact me  with ideas for 'coping'! 

As suggested by one owner, I asked the vet to do the invisible stitching with dissolving material & to my surprise was told that he always does that! (Must be a new vet - none of my previous dogs have had anything but ordinary stitching.) Because they needed to do a bit of cosmetic surgery to tidy him up, they also prescribed antibiotics.

Humphrey came home with a blue donut collar which was fine while he was sleepy but soon proved no challenge whatsoever to stretching around & having a lick & nibble. We bought a lampshade from Pets at Home which is much kinder that the vet issue ones - softer around the neck & on my legs! Does have some shortcomings though - no loops for the collar & the silly clip things come off. I solved that with a bit of green garden tie wrap that kept it together. We only put that on him when there was no-one around to keep an eye on him. The rest of the time we used the donut which was a bit of a deterrent. We did try the tshirt & pants ideas but they proved no challenge to Humphrey who escaped from both!

What surprised us was after a bit of interest, Humphrey didn't really take much notice of the wound after a couple of days. Again following a suggestion made, I put occasional dabs of sudocreme on which he wasn't too keen on the taste of.  The wound healed much more quickly than they usually seem to as well & he didn't need to wear a collar after a week. 

All round a much less stressful experience than we've had before. Thank you to everyone for the advice!