Southern Region Wound Management lecture

13 September 2016

Last month an audience of vets and nurses from across the BSAVA southern region attended a fascinating lecture on Wound Management, which was given by Georgie Hollis of the Veterinary Wound Healing Association and sponsored by Bayer. The lecture covered the healing process, the world of dressings and the question of what veterinary practitioners can do in practice to improve the healing process.

Georgie’s passionate and practical presentation outlined three simple rules to optimise the wound healing process which were Prepare, Promote and Protect. Each of these three stages is equally important, but the one that gets skipped or overlooked the most is the first, prepare. Georgie Hollis explained that the earlier you can lavage an open contaminated wound the better. This improves the ability to remove bacteria, foreign body contamination and greatly reduces the risk of infection.

Georgie recommended that 100ml/cm2 wound area of flush should be used as a minimum and suggested some suitable flush materials. She explained that even tap water can be used in an emergency situation as dilution of the pollution is the solution!

Debridement may be necessary and Georgie explained that this can be achieved in many ways. Physical debridement via surgery under GA may be necessary. One can use wet to dry dressings, or chemical/enzymatic debridement. A survey of the audience showed that the current most favoured methods are the use of autolytic products, hydro gels and hydrocolloids. Hydro products donate moisture and autolytic products aid the removal of slough material and debris. Medical grade honey also has antimicrobial benefits.Moving to stage two, Georgie explained that veterinary staff can promote the wound healing process by selecting the correct products and materials. Wounds should only be cleaned with chemical agents during their inflammatory phase. Chlorhexidine based products will kill fibroblasts which are essential for effective wound healing.

Finally, Georgie emphasized the need to protect the wound and to select and use the correct material for the wound type. She explained that one size does not fit all and the wound needs change throughout the healing process. Georgie showed images of wounds that just would not heal where in most cases the same dressing procedure and products were used time after time. Georgie recommended changing products and materials as and when the wound changes.

Georgie’s passion and experience in this subject matter shone through in the lecture and all delegates thoroughly enjoyed the evening. 100% of course attendees feedback stated that the speaker, course content, quality of course notes, quality of the venue and the food and drinks provided there were either excellent (90%) or very good (10%).

This review was written by Joanne Wyatt.