Oh No Not The Cone of Shame!

After surgery there’s a reason your veterinarian sends your pet home with that dreaded cone of shame.  It’s not to torture your pet, it’s to keep them safe.  Licking at wounds, surgery sites or incisions can cost you and your pet more in the long run.

Licking causes both trauma and infection.  Take a look at this poor boy.  He was neutered on Friday, but wasn’t handling his traditional plastic Elizabethan collar well at all.  His owners took it off, and didn’t realize he was licking.

A patient with a swollen prepuce and scrotum from licking his incision.

The trauma of excessive licking leads to inflammation and swelling.  This causes more pain and discomfort for your pet, not to mention another costly trip to the vet.  After a cold laser treatment, a antibiotic ointment, antibiotics and a new collar, this trip cost an additional $150.

I am blessed that my two pitties tolerate cones well! If they don’t try some of my tech tips before your pet has to head back to the vet!

Godiva is such a good dog in her cone!

Tech Tips

  • Try a different type of collar.
    • There are several types: Bonafido, inflatable ones, pillow type, adjustable soft ones…see what fits your pet best!
  • T-Shirt
    • Using a t-shirt to cover a wound is also a good option. Just be sure it’s kept clean or replaced daily. There are special recovery shirts that can be ordered just for pet after surgery.
  • Direct supervision
    • I’m not condoning taking the cone off, but if you are close enough to touch your pet you can most likely prevent them from licking.
  • Give them a  break!
    • Take the collar off when going out to potty and eating. A lot of dogs won’t eat or defecate with it on.
Our patient was much happier with the Bonafido collar!

Keep the cone on at ALL times when you pet isn’t supervised.  Bed time is one of the best times for Fido or Fluffy to have a field day!

I know everyone hates the dreaded “c” word, but trust me, it really is for you pets health.  Not only does licking at surgery sites cause more trauma to your pet and your wallet, it also increases healing time.  This means EVEN longer in the cone of shame.  This is one case where tough love is necessary.

Remember prevention is the best practice, and cones = caring. 


Author: Aubrie Ricketts

Experienced Licensed Veterinary Technician, Executive Master of Business Administration - University of Nevada, Reno. I love marketing and promoting preventative medicine and pet wellness. I have a dedicated passion for veterinary anesthesia and pain management.

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