Can a poorly fitting e-collar cause an infection?


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Our question this week was:

Dear Dr. Debra,

I was searching the internet for answers to a questions about post-operative infections in dogs when I came across an article on your website, Postoperative Complications in Dogs. I was hoping that you might be able to help answer, or point me in the direction of an answer, to the following questions.

Can an incorrect fitting of an e-collar (for example, the collar is too small and the dog is able to lick the wound-site) lead to a post-operative infection?

If so, is there a way to tell that an infection at the wound site was caused by the dog licking the wound?

Can help you can provide me with would be hugely appreciates.

Thank you,

Carter Cochran


Hi Carter – thanks for your email. You asked if a poorly fitted e-collar could cause an infection.

Some dogs will get infections and we never know why. Licking can certainly exacerbate and possibly even cause an infection. If the e-collar doesn't do its job and a dog licks – then it is possible that an infection could occur.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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About The Author

debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.