dog wearing e-collar

E-Collars: Short Range Shame

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A cone or E-collar is one of the most benign-looking torture devices we vets like to inflict on pet parents and their furry friends. Veterinarians have invented many different types of these torture devices: calming collars, bite-nots, donuts, soft collars — all to add puppy-shaming to the fun as well. We use the excuse of safety, but secretly it’s just to inflict pain on your calves, scratch up your walls, get your dog stuck in doorways, and make it impossible for them to eat unless they are balancing upside down with legs flailing in the air. 

Why E-Collars are Essential for Post-Op Care

All jokes aside, vets and our teams have a love/hate relationship with E-collars. We absolutely hate them while having to deal with them daily. Our calves take constant abuse from them, and most patients that stay in the hospital have to wear one to keep them from chewing out their catheters. That being said, when we perform a surgery, from sewing up small cuts to making major repairs in the belly or the chest, we are investing so much. We are devoting care, effort, hope, and pride throughout the entire process — willing your pet to heal. There is nothing more disheartening than to see our patients come back again, hurting and in pain, because their wounds have reopened. We know it’s even more upsetting for the family. When we send home an E-collar, it’s only because it’s absolutely necessary. We are trying to protect your pet. 

The Dangers of Forgoing an E-Collar

I have seen such a tragic number of wounds open up because a pet’s family didn’t think an E-collar needed to be tied on or that their pet didn’t need to wear it at night, in the kennel, or while they were being supervised. Other pet parents simply assume their angel baby would never mess with an incision. Whatever the reason, it means another expensive bill for you, another painful surgery for your pet, and another 2 weeks in a cone. Our pets hate E-collars just as much as yours, and I promise, we hate them more than you (simply due to overexposure). However, they are a necessary evil. I recently lost a patient because he ate his bandages and became obstructed. Not to mention, a number of patients eating their sutures out and even chewing on their own intestines.

Two Weeks of Tough Love

Love your pet enough to help them heal. I’ve seen dogs wearing 5-gallon buckets with holes in the bottom strapped to their collars. Whatever you have to do to make it to 2 weeks, do it. It’s a very small price to pay. Yes, your pet is miserable, but they are protected from the temptation to lick, nibble, or pull at the incision site. It only takes a few seconds of you looking away for a disaster to happen. In some cases, your vet can help you ease your pet’s misery with a mild sedative to take the edge off and ease the cone-induced anxiety; just ask if your pet is a candidate for medication.

The cone of shame. It’s an appropriate nickname for E-collars, but whatever you call it and whatever it’s made of, just make it stick.

Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center in Palmer is Alaska’s only comprehensive animal hospital. We are available by appointment, in addition to accepting emergencies and walk-ins. With CT, MRI, and Ultrasound available on-site, our facility provides advanced treatment options for your pet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Sean McPeck

A 2010 Graduate of Colorado State College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Sean McPeck developed his leadership as a Sniper Team Leader and Veterinarian with the US Army Special Operations, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Dr. McPeck has multiple combat deployments, totaling almost 2 years in combat theaters of operation.

He is the recipient of the Combat Action Badge, and is Ranger, Sniper, and Airborne qualified. While serving as an officer in Special Operations, Dr. McPeck was repeatedly recognized for his Honor, Integrity, Courage and Selfless Service in the name of the United States. He was recognized with not one, but two, Meritorious Service Medals.

Under his leadership, Dr. McPeck worked with Working Dog handlers, and canine units, to detain and seize enemy combatants. The canines that Dr. McPeck worked with are credited with savings thousands of United States soldiers deployed in combat areas.

Dr. McPeck authored The RCAP, Ranger Canine Athletic Program, which was the 1st comprehensive Military canine conditioning program.

His specific training and certification classes for Dog handlers to be proficient in Canine Tactical- Combat Casualty Care, and knowledge of current medical equipment and procedures, which led to the successful life saving interventions by handlers in real world operations.

Dr. SaraRose McPeck graduated from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. A Massachusetts native who attended Becker College for her undergrad, Dr. McPeck has lived and worked around the country and even the world. She served four years in the United States Army as a Veterinary Officer, during which she was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, and completed a 12-month tour in Afghanistan.

Her time serving in the Army provided her the experience as the primary veterinarian for over 350 Military Working Dogs, in which she provided all emergency, trauma, surgical, critical, and primary care. In addition to caring for animals, she trained, mentored, and led six Non-Commissioned Officers and twelve junior enlisted Soldiers, giving her not only impressive veterinary experience but also exceptional interpersonal and leadership skills.

As a Veterinary Corp Officer, she received a variety of awards, including a Bronze Star, a NATO Medal, a GWOT Medal, two Army Accommodation Medals, among many others. She gained experiences in which she exemplified impressive leadership skills and the ability to adapt to both clinical and combat support situations. Her years of experience serving our country and in veterinary medicine have equipped her with the knowledge and skills to provide exceptional care to our patients.