When I was first learning about natural medicine, I was obsessed with learning about all the things I already had in my house that could be used for a medicinal purpose. I was thrilled to learn about all the different (non-advertised) benefits of my various herbal teas, and when I learned that honey could be used for wound care I ran straight for the honey jar.
Like many good holistic veterinarians, when I learn about a new treatment that can be applied to my own body, I experiment on myself first. I want to know how herbs taste before I prescribe them to my patients. I want to know if that wound salve stings when you apply it to the wound. How does the wound salve taste? If it tastes good I might need to warn the pet parents I work with that they’ll need to cover it or the patient might just eat it off!
Well, you’ll be happy to know that my early experimentation supported the scientific research. The raw honey I happened to have in my kitchen for sweetening tea caused wounds to heal remarkably quickly. I also discovered that the research was not wrong, in a small percentage of patients, honey stings when applied to wounds. In the vast majority of others (like myself) it’s a little sticky and weird, but not unpleasant.
I bring this up now because I recently saw a client whose dog was bitten by another dog. This was not a huge problem and everything seemed to be going ok until the wound got infected. The infection was so bad that the veterinarian they saw previous to seeing me needed to remove large amounts of dead tissue from the area as well as prescribe oral antibiotics. The pain and swelling were so bad that this poor guy was very weak and could barely walk when I first saw him. After the treatment to remove large amounts of infected and damaged tissue, his owner had been packing the wounds with a homemade herbal blend and changing his bandage daily. Things were improving, but slowly. They were told that he might need skin grafts once the infection cleared to fill in the areas of removed tissue.
We started a new treatment protocol of using the same herbal blend the owner had been using, but mashing the herbs into raw, manuka honey. This is what the wound looked like the day I saw it, and again just one week later.
The difference is extreme for only a week. Especially considering that when I saw the wound on the date of the initial picture, there was still a small amount of visible pus around the edges of the initial bite wounds despite the dog being on systemic antibiotics. Infection drastically slows healing, so for the honey/herbs to have conquered that infection and caused so much healing in just a week is incredible. At this point we don’t know for sure, but I’m fairly confident that no skin grafting will be needed for this wound to be healed completely.
As a side note, after a few days of treatment with the honey/herb mixture, this patient was comfortable and walking on his own again.
I love this medicine!
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