Bandaging Injuries and Feet
The bandaging material and techniques described here were used on Nina's foot for several weeks (see thread on treatment). These same products can be used to wrap self inflicted injuries from severe mite infections. Please note that Vetwrap (described below -- a stretchy material) must not be applied tightly as it can cut off circulation. Light wrapping will apply a small amount of pressure and is adequate.
Body Wrap: clean the injured area with a dilute solution of chlorhexidine gluconate 2% solution or a dilute povidone iodine solution, air dry, place a Telfa pad on any open injury, wrap with soft gauze and then Vetwrap, secured with a small piece of tape. One poster effectively wrapped her rescue pig using a figure eight pattern around the legs and over the back. Her method is illustrated with photos on this post. Read the description below of the procedure for wrapping a foot for more general information.
Photo at right contributed by Becky.
Find an another body bandage design (including photos) that can be used postop in the medical forum: Pigjes thread
Foot Wrap: After finding Nina's front right foot badly swollen in April of "03, she was taken to a vet where she was anesthetized, necrotic material removed and the foot flushed. Three weeks of baytril (5mg/kg -- 2Xday) and daily foot soaks and wraps helped this foot heal.
The first week the open wound was also flushed with a curve tipped syringe (pictured on Supplies page) and a dilute solution of chlorhexidine gluconate 2% solution followed by either triple antibiotic ointment or hemorrhoidal ointment applied to the injury. Healing took longer because she chewed a layer of skin off the top of her foot after tearing off her bandage in the first week. Wrapping the bandage more securely helped protect the foot and allow it to heal.
- Collect all your supplies (gauze [see photo at right], Vetwrap [see photo below], tape, ointment) and prepare the chlorhexidine solution (see antiseptic solutions).
- Soak the foot several minutes.*
- Use a curved tip syringe to flush any abscess.
- Dry the foot thoroughly to help avoid skin problems .*
- Apply a triple antibiotic ointment to the open wound. [Some vets feel the injury heals more quickly without ointments.]
- Place a small piece of non-adherent dressing on any open wound (see photo at right -- Kendall Telfa Non-Adherent Dressing is located in upper left hand corner of pic).
- Wrap foot with a soft gauze (pictured, Dumex Sterile 3"X3" Sponges -- Gauze type). Any sterile gauze of about the same size should work fine.
- Wrap whole foot with 1" wide 3M Vetwrap.*
- Secure the Vetwrap by taping a 3 or 4" long, 1/2" wide piece of non-stretchy tape like 3M Micropore at the ankle over the Vetwrap.
* Initially, the foot was soaked for 5-10 minutes in warmed solution 2 times a day. The first soak was fairly bloody so to prevent excessive bleeding, it was fairly short. In a few days the injury seemed healed over and could not be easily flushed (nothing ever came out) so this was reduced to once a day. If it is not possible to soak your guinea pig's feet, try applying apply a hot, wet compress for 5-10 minutes instead.
Drying the foot is very important. Wrapping the foot while wet can promote bacterial growth so be sure you have dried the foot thoroughly. The author used a blow hair drier to ensure the fur was dry before wrapping. Take great care to avoid overheating your pet. Your hand can shield them from some of the heat while you hold the foot to dry.
* Vetwrap. This is a stretchy. self adhesive product that should not be applied too tightly. It is best if the Vetwrap does not contact the skin/fur but instead rests entirely on top of the gauze. Some animals will leave this alone, others may try to pull it off. Vetwrap comes in lots of great colors. Farm stores sell 4" wide rolls for $2 (illustrated). Cut 1" wide for wrapping feet.
Removing the foot wrap can be difficult. Your options are to carefully cut it off or at least cut enough of it that it will come off easily or to unwrap the Vetwrap (you must first cut through the non-stretchy tape and remove it) so it can be reused. Each time the Vetwrap is reused it will be slightly less adherent. The first time it is unwrapped can be painful for your guinea pig if there is an injury as it sticks to itself and resists unwrapping.
Notes on Nina's foot injury/pododermatitis (see original thread).
- 4/5 first noticed badly swollen right front foot. Soaked foot and cleaned it off. Bactrim, 2 days.
- 4/7 saw vet. She is anesthetized, necrotic material removed and the foot flushed. Soaks, flushes with curved tip syringes, and wraps are done 2Xday. Three weeks of baytril (5mg/kg -- 2Xday).
- 4/11 chewed off some skin on top of foot, given some rimadyl for pain 1mg/kg. Post vet, limping and not moving as much.
- 4/13 pics of foot.
- 4/18 More skin is chewed off, described purchase of Chew Guard. She is now given once daily soaks and wraps, no more antibiotic ointment on injury;
- 5/4 quit wrapping the foot. Top is nicely healed (see pic).
- 6/2 One of Nina's toes falls off (pic). Foot looks healthy otherwise.
- Continue daily soaks of both feet. Left foot very slightly swollen but is improving from 4/13 pics.
The swelling in Nina's foot never went away entirely. Sometimes the other front foot showed signs of swelling also. Various combinations of soaks, wrappings, and leaving the foot open to the air (when no scabs were present) only resulted in maintenance of her foot and did not clear it up permanently. When an open sore was present, she was soaked and wrapped until it healed. The sores always returned. Treatment continued for over a year until Nina died from other causes.