Bandages and casts are used as a means of protecting wounds, reducing swelling in an area or stopping movement of a leg. Casts and bandages need constant supervision. They may be applied for just a few hours or for weeks, depending on the reason for which they were fitted.
Most bandages and casts are not waterproof. However, it is absolutely essential that they are kept dry if they are to be effective. The layers of padding used in the bandaging process readily absorb water, which weakens the support and may cause irritation. In addition, wet, warm skin protected from sunlight, provides an ideal environment for bacteria to grow and cause infection.
Plastic bags can be used to protect dressings from water, but only for a short period. Use tape rather than rubber bands to hold plastic bags on. Do not risk cutting off the blood circulation to the limb.
Your pet will need constant supervision and regular check ups until the cast or bandage is removed. Teeth can do a large amount of damage in a very short time! Unrestricted activity may allow the dressing to slip off or fall off leading to greater problems and more expense.
Unpleasant odours from the bandage may indicate that something is wrong. If in any doubt at all, bring your pet back to the veterinarian for a check up immediately. If your pet is a young, fast-growing animal, then it may be that in the course of treatment the bandage has to be changed to accommodate the extra size. A cast or bandage that is too tight can lead to very serious consequences for your pet.
If your pet becomes depressed or off its food, it should be checked immediately. Your veterinarian will advise you when to bring your pet back for bandage changes.
© Forrest Hill Vets (2000) Ltd