What is appropriate fluid to use for emergency to cleanse open wounds?

by Pat
(Phila, PA, USA)

This is not an emergency. I want to have the appropriate fluid available in case of an emergency. What fluid is appropriate to cleanse an open wound in a bird? I am an RN - I would assume Normal Saline is physiological and would not burn. I have been told instead by others to use clorahex, which I would have thought Would burn! I only want to have something available to use until I can get to a vet. Is normal saline hypertonic to a bird? Why would this cause a burn but clorahex would not?

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Sep 23, 2011
What to put on bird wound
by: The Avian Vet

Normal saline should be used to flush a wound to clean dirt and debris if it is present. A clean wound will not benefit from flushing. A dirty wound should be flushed with saline, it will not burn. Once the wound is flushed it can be scrubbed with chlorhex scrub and I can be flushed with chlorhex solution. These should be rinsed and the wound should be kept moist with saline. Always only use warmed fluids when flushing wounds.

Do not use hydrogen peroxide. This causes delayed wound healing. Once the wound is clean, then I recommend applying Healx Soother plus cream. This stuff is terrific. It will keep the wound moist and increase healing time as well as provide mild analgesia. You should have this on hand. You can find it in most bird shops online or at avian veterinary hospitals. This is first aid treatment. But you need to have the bird seen by an avian veterinarian for assessment and antibiotics in cases of severe lesions.

Dr B

Sep 22, 2011
What is appropriate fluid to use for emergency to cleanse open wounds?
by: Linda

Hi there! I'm not the Avian Vet and have had to fix a lot of bird boos boos over the years.

I use Betadine solution, the kind you can find in any drug store and most groceries. It not only cleans out a wound but also seals it over so germs and dirt can't get in it.

If the wound is long or deep, you'll need to get your bird to an Avian Vet quickly. In case of emergency an emergency dog and cat clinic will work because they'll have to sew it up and give IV fluids to counter shock. Take him to Avian Vet as soon as possible so he can be given the correct dose of required anitbiotics. Don't get meds from dog and cat vets as they don't know how to do the correct dosage for a bird. Just let them fix him up if it becomes necessary.

So, just good ole' Betadine works for smaller cuts and scrapes and keeps wound(s) clean. Of course, it has to be reapplied every 24 hours to keep wound sealed against infection. My parrots have never messed with places where Betadine has been applied, and it dries very quickly. Well, you're a nurse, so you know all about Betadine!

Avian may or may not answer this, and if he does he can speak to the other products you mentioned.

Thanks for writing,

Sep 22, 2011
cleansing wounds
by: Anonymous

At my house, I keep on hand collidol silver. It cleanses the wound, doesn't sting and also helps to prevent infection. It can also be given internally, a couple drops.

One of my birds mutilated a few years ago and would have died if it weren't for the collidol silver. I also keep saline on hand.

Just my opinion but it has always worked here, for animal OR human.

Sep 22, 2011
additional info
by: Pat

I may have misspelled Clorahex - but meaning chlorhexidine solution. If this is what should be used, what should the proper % or dilution be for use? I am familiar with use of this on un-broken skin and minor/superficial wounds, but would not apply to deep wounds because of potential for deep tissue damage.

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