Bandaging (Available on YouTube)
What makes a good bandage:
A good bandage is one that stays on without slipping or causing problems. It’s the bandage that walks out of your hospital to return in one week looking just like it did when you applied it; also, if it is a splinted bandage, it will actually allow the fracture to heal.
The truth is, bandages can be a pain: a pain for the patient, the owner, and you. They require frequent changes, a lot of attention and mostly, they seem to be a drain on time and resources as the patients’ keep on returning because of issues with the bandage. Many of these situations occur because insufficient attention, practice and repetition is placed on bandaging in vet school. Hence, information such as the proper order of the layers and how much of each to use is forgotten. It’s one of those tasks that you learn “on the job”; the fundamentals are often lacking even though we ‘all know’ how to bandage.
Unfortunately, if a bandage is not properly applied and monitored it either won’t fulfill its function or will injure the limb. In either case, it is not helping you accomplish the goal.
Get Ready for Bandaging
All the information you need.
Fully narrated videos.
In depth guide and more.
This content is designed for veterinary professionals. If you are a pet owner, please consult your vet if you have any questions about a surgery.
When changing a bandage:
- Look for the early signs of decubital ulcers
- Look/smell for dermatitis formation (especially at the toes)
- Look for wounds caused by the bandage
What the client needs to know:
- Likely the most important part of bandaging: Educate the client
- Swelling at the toes, discharge between the toes
- Wet, smelly or slipped bandage
- Discomfort and chewing of the bandage
Step by Step: bandaging
Please go to the Focus And Flourish YouTube channel where I have several short informative presentations and videos which will take you a long way to creating a better bandage.
These videos are all free, watch them often; encourage your support staff to watch them.
Getting ready to apply a bandage
- The contact layer is most important when bandaging a wound and often omitted when bandaging for orthopedic reasons.
- The padding layer (cast padding) will give support to the limb and bandage; absorb exudate from a wound and allow you to apply more tension if you need to control swelling (more padding=more tension can be applied)
- The compressive layer (kling) will give your bandage shape and allow it to stay in place, with proper tension.
- Finally the protective layer (vetwrap) will do just that, protect your bandage.
- If you need to add a splint it goes after the compressive and before the protective layers.
- Don’t vary the order of the layers.
- Probably the most important part!
- Ensure that your client has all the necessary instructions and understand what their part is.
- I give specific information and show pictures of what to look for.
- Show my pictures to your clients if that will help
- Check/change the bandage on a weekly basis (yes weekly!)
Q & A
How long should a bandage stay on the pet
- A well applied bandage should stay in place for 1 week and then should be changed. It can be difficult to apply a bandage and unforeseen problems can develop. This is why it is very important for the pet owner to monitor the bandage and return to have it changed should any problems start to develop. It’s best to get to them quickly, before they become a big issue.
- Overall the pet will need to be bandaged until the problem has been resolved. A fracture can take about 8 weeks while a wound can be 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the size and complexity
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