A Tale of Two Ernestos: The Healing Power of Honey & Maxi Pads

Dallas Pets Alive, a rescue group that we work very closely with, has a program called DPA Pass. Their goal is to help at-risk pet owners keep their pets, by providing resources like veterinary care, treatment, behavior training, temporary fostering, etc. on a case-by case basis.

One fine day, a DPA Pass representative was at the Dallas Animal Shelter, when a man brought in a happy pit bull with a horrific wound along his back. The poor pooch had wandered to the shop where this gentleman, named Ernesto worked. He didn’t know what to do with the dog, so he took him to the shelter to see if they would take care of him.

The DPA Pass person suggested to the gentleman, that if they helped with the veterinary care, would he like to adopt the dog? Ernesto, who was already smitten, thought that was pretty awesome, happily agreed. Somebody thought it would be a good idea to name Ernesto’s dog Ernesto as well, just to keep things confusing.

Thus: Ernesto and Ernesto ended up at Mazie’s Mission. The dog Ernesto had this huge, linear raw, ulcerated, wound all the way down his back. It was nothing but scab, pus, and rotting tissue. Ernesto the dog had a wonderful, happy personality and a great attitude, all things considered, he had to be in a lot of pain. Dr. Shults sedated him, debrided his wounds and prescribed SilvadeneĀ  (miracle cream), antibiotics, pain control, and hydrotherapy.

The human Ernesto and his wife did a fantastic job of managing the dog Ernesto’s wounds. Every time they came in for a recheck, the injury (probably some kind of thermal injury/burn or chemical burn) looked SO much better, but there was one spot where the ulceration was super deep, practically to his spine.

Somehow I got to talking with one of my vet school classmates, she’s a large animal vet, who suggested we try honey and a “tie-over bandage” using a maxi pad.

You read that right: honey and feminine hygiene products.

That folks, is the ultimate in budget veterinary care, right there! I tried to maintain my professional demeanor, while explaining to Mr. Ernesto in my broken Spanish, that I needed him to smear honey on his dog & then cover it with a “lady diaper” (which was the closest thing I could think of for “maxi pad” in Spanish). Miraculously, between my broken Spanish & his broken English, we somehow communicated, and he got the plan.

The even bigger miracle is that Mr. Ernesto (well, he admitted, mostly his wife) actually did what I told him to do, and the wound was practically healed a week later.

I never saw the Ernestos again, I can only hope that everything is healed, and they’re a happy new family (Mrs. Ernesto was expecting).

Here are some pictures, NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART! THERE WILL BE BLOOD!

Ernesto 2
“Hydrotherapy” is where we basically spray the wound with warm water for 5-10 minutes. It stimulates healing, washes off debris, pus and other bad stuff & works miracles.
ERnesto 7
I add some sutures to the edge of the wound that the fosters can “tie” the maxi pad/bandage to.
ERnesto 5
Here’s our horrible wound, after debridement/hydrotherapy, sutures and with the addition of some grade-A fancy medical honey. According to my classmate, regular old grocery store honey works just fine, but we happened to have medical honey donated, so we used that.
Ernesto 4
One of our techs was kind enough to donate a “lady diaper” for use on Ernesto.
ERnesto 6
Here’s Ernesto, with his full “tie over bandage” in all its glory. (along with Rachel’s arm and a lovely shot of Kat helping out.)
IMG_9599
This is a terrible photo of me, both Ernestos and Mrs. Ernesto. This was the last time I saw them, his wounds were all totally healed, and his owners were happy to be done with honey and maxi pads.
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