Exploring wound closure options for our feline and canine companions 

By Cherice Roth, MS, DVM, KeraVet Bio Lead Medical Advisor

In veterinary medicine, treating wounds on our beloved feline and canine patients presents challenges and opportunities for innovation. Every wound is unique, and what works for one may not be ideal for another. Among the most challenging are the hard-to-close wounds. These can be due to the location of the injury, underlying health issues, or simply the size and nature of the wound itself. Thankfully, the evolving field of veterinary medicine offers multiple solutions for these tricky scenarios.

Traditional wound closure methods

Sutures have been the go-to method for closing wounds. They’re effective, allow for precise closure, and are suitable for various wound types.1 Oftentimes when sutures haven’t been the right fit, we’ve turned to staples and skin adhesives. Each of these traditional methods comes with its own set of potential drawbacks, demonstrating the need to seek and provide better alternatives for managing a more challenging wound location, tension on the skin, or concerns about a wound’s cleanliness.

Alternative wound closure methods

In situations where conventional methods may not be feasible, vets often turn to alternative wound closure solutions. Some of these alternative solutions are reviewed below.

Tension-relieving techniques

Techniques such as walking sutures, stents, or tie-over bandages can help distribute tension more evenly, allowing wounds in high-tension areas to close more effectively.

Wound healing by second intention

This involves leaving the wound open and allowing it to heal naturally.2 This approach is beneficial for contaminated wounds as it permits drainage and reduces the risk of trapping bacteria inside.

Skin grafts and flaps

Particularly for large or complex wounds, taking skin from another area (graft) or redirecting a flap of local skin can be effective. These methods are more intricate and may not be suitable for all pets or all types of wounds.

Use of biomaterials

Specialized materials can be used to promote healing, fill wound gaps, or provide a temporary barrier. This could range from collagen-based products to synthetic matrices.

KeraVet Gel: the barrier advantage

One product that has revolutionized the approach to wound care, especially for hard-to-close wounds, is KeraVet Gel. Regardless of whether a wound is closed using traditional or alternative methods, KeraVet Gel stands out as an excellent adjunctive wound management option. The gel forms a natural barrier, protecting the wound from external contaminants and bacteria-causing moisture. Its keratin-based formulation not only safeguards the wound but supports faster healing. This ensures that even in instances where primary closure isn’t possible, the wound remains protected, clean, and on a speedy path to recovery.

Tailoring treatment to each unique wound

There are many wound care solutions available, but they’re often limited to what type of wounds they serve best or require multiple, additional products to achieve the best outcome. While hard-to-close wounds can pose challenges, the array of options at our disposal ensures that every pet can benefit from the best possible care. As clinicians, our goal is always the rapid, effective, and comfortable recovery of our patients. With products like KeraVet Gel in our toolkit, we’re better equipped than ever to achieve this goal. Always remember, the key lies in assessing each wound individually and combining both traditional and innovative solutions for optimal outcomes.

1 – A Comprehensive Guide to Wound Healing – San Antonio Score. https://sanantonioscore.org/a-comprehensive-guide-to-wound-healing/

2 – Evaluation and Management of Abscesses in the Emergency Department |…. https://www.reliasmedia.com/articles/140678-evaluation-and-management-of-abscesses-in-the-emergency-department


Learn more about KeraVet Bio Lead Medical Advisor, , Dr. Cherice Roth, MS, DVM, by visiting her on LinkedIn.