Small Animal Surgery, Splint and Collar

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An Elizabethan collar or space collar (sometimes called a cone) is a protective medical device worn by an animal, usually a cat or dog. Shaped like a truncated cone, its purpose is to prevent the animal from biting or licking at its body or scratching at its head or neck while wounds or injuries heal. The device is generally attached to the pet's usual collar with strings or tabs passed through holes punched in the sides of the plastic. The neck of the collar should be short enough to let the animal eat and drink. Although most pets adjust to them quite well, others won't eat or drink with the collar in place and the collar is temporarily removed for meals. While purpose-made collars can be purchased from veterinarians or pet stores, they can also be made from plastic and cardboard or by using plastic flowerpots, wastebaskets, buckets or lampshades. Modern collars might involve soft fabric trim along the edges to increase comfort and velcro surfaces for ease of attachment removal.

The Schroeder-Thomas splint became popular after Schroeder, working at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, reported on its use in the early 1930s. The splint was modified from its use in humans to more adequately fit the shape and conformation of the dog. The splint itself is a traction device that has proved useful in the treatment of fractures in small animals. The indications for the splint have changed considerably over the years but initially were quite broad. As better methods of fracture care were introduced, the indications for the Schroeder-Thomas splint became more limited. The improper use of the Schroeder-Thomas splint, resulting in nonunion of the fracture or joint stiffness (fracture disease), has given the device a poor reputation. In fact, application of the Schroeder-Thomas splint has been discontinued in some institutions because of poor results usually related to improper use. If properly fitted for suitable indications, the Schroeder-Thomas splint still...
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