“Is this a tumor or a boil? Its wasn’t here 2 days ago….how did it get so big?” I asked my husband.
We scheduled a checkup appointment for the next day, but before we could get our dog Sasha to the vet, this big, angry, red, lump on her elbow….exploded. Blood was all over the couch and my poor dog was dripping from her elbow area. I freaked out.
I regained my composure long enough to bandage her up, and send a text to a friend who had a lot of experience with dogs and assured me Sasha would be fine until the morning, but recommended putting some antibiotic ointment on the wound to keep infection away.
The next day, our vet asked if we had hardwood floors in our home, which we confirmed, and he told us that this lump that seemingly came out of nowhere was thanks to Sasha throwing herself down on the floor when she laid, rather than gently slide down like most dogs. It was simply her body’s natural response to trauma (swelling) and because she did it so often and so quickly, the fluid built up so fast that it made the skin rupture.
No big deal, but he warned us it would continue to happen as long as she laid down like that. The more pressing matter was learning how to keep the wound clean when it happened so she didn’t get an infection. I told the doctor I had of course slathered it in antibiotic ointment last night. He said I shouldn’t have done that.
The vet explained that antibiotics, including ointments, are being terribly overused, even in dogs, and its causing antibiotic resistance. Not to mention, they are expensive, especially considering there is something equally, if not more, effective sitting in our pantry, that goes for humans as well as animals: honey.
What’s wrong with Neosporin?
In addition to containing petroleum (of which the dangers are a completely different post), Neosporin and other similar antibiotic ointments are not only potentially dangerous, but they might also not even be helpful.
Doctor and author William Rawlings says that “The use of any antibacterial ointment on minor injuries is of uncertain value at best. The use of antibacterial ointment that contains Neomycin (one of the 3 antibiotics in Neosporin) presents a problem.” According to Dr. Rawlings, about 1% of the population have a predisposed allergy or sensitivity to Neomycin, and that sensitivity can develop fairly quickly with use. As in, within a few days. He says it is not uncommon to see patients who are sure they have a bad infection despite use of antibiotic ointment come in, only for it to dissipate once they stop using Neosporin.
In addition, antibiotic ointments may actually be helping the spread of MRSA! At the very least, it is helping contribute to antibiotic-resistant strains of disease, and that’s a good enough reason for me to avoid it.
Where does honey fit in?
Honey has been documented for medical use as far back as some tablets written in about 2000 BC! Even Aristotle wrote about honey being a good salve. Honey is quickly gaining acceptance in the mainstream medical community for the treatment of ulcers, bed sores, skin infections, and in aiding wound healing. It “offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection.”
Not all honey is created equal
While the honey off of your grocery store shelf may offer some benefit, consistent results are best found in manuka, tualang, and medical grade honey. They don’t contain fillers like high fructose corn syrup, and are much closer to natural than the common supermarket varieties.
This post from Dr. Axe gives some great guidelines for making sure you choose the best honey possible for your needs.
So, what happened with our dog’s elbow? We put honey on it as instructed, and it sealed itself up so quickly that I took off the bandage dressing the next day, and it never became infected. As the vet suspected, the lump has come back and burst again (though since we’ve put down rugs its much less frequent) and every time it ruptures, we put honey on it, and its healed over in a day or 2. She’s never had an infection.
Have you ever used honey for medicinal purposes? What kind of results did you have?