Have you ever wished there was a comfortable alternative to the cone of shame, E-collar? I know my dogs have made that wish. Bailey and Olivia have a drawer full of the hard plastic Elizabethan collars, prescribed to them after various medical procedures. Both girls had a rough time with them and never want to wear one again.
It’s the chief reason I decided to review a new product that protects wounds and surgical sites, called Lick Sleeve®. It’s a leg and hip recovery sleeve that was invented by a veterinary surgeon for dogs with orthopedic injuries.
Traditional E-collars block a dog from reaching an injured area by placing a barrier around their neck. The goal is to make it so uncomfortable that a pet will give up trying to lick and scratch a wound or rip open stitches.
Lick Sleeve, on the other hand, protects a wound by covering it up and preventing a dog from touching it. The idea makes sense to me.
(Note: I am not being compensated for this review.)
The Lick Sleeve® story
Dr. David Allman is a board-certified veterinary surgeon who specializes in orthopedic surgery in Austin, Texas. He’s the inventor of Lick Sleeve and the founder of Mobile Veterinary Specialist, a group of veterinarians that provide advanced surgical procedures for animals, at the pet’s primary vet hospital.
He realized that a mobile clinic made surgery less stressful for his patients, so instead of making a sick dog travel to a specialty center for treatment, the MVS team goes to where a dog feels more at ease.
Lick Sleeve was developed in another effort for Dr. Allman to lessen the stress for his patients. After years of doing orthopedic surgery and hearing from pet owners how their dogs dreaded the E-collar, he designed the more comfortable protective sleeve.
The prototype came from an old sweatshirt, but after several design modifications, the Lick Sleeve was born.
How Lick Sleeve works
Lick Sleeve protects an injured area with a soft, form-fitted sleeve that fits securely over a dog’s entire rear limb. It’s made from a lightweight, stretchy, durable fabric that’s washable and completely protects an injury. Lick Sleeve also allows a dog to walk comfortably on a leash and eat and eliminate like they normally do. That’s something you don’t see with a traditional E-collar.
Dogs won’t walk into walls or bump into furniture while they wear it and they won’t have trouble resting their head to sleep.
Lick Sleeve also promotes compliance. Too many pet owners get frustrated with the e-collar so they remove it before a wound is fully healed. With Lick Sleeve, protection is kept in place 3 times longer.
What you should know about leg injuries in dogs
Canine orthopedic injuries are common, especially in medium to large breed dogs. There’s a variety of reasons dogs hurt their limbs that range from: cuts, dog bites, bone abnormalities, over-exercise, tumors and more.
Still, the majority of injuries are due to a tear in the ligaments that stabilize the knee. In fact, more than 85 percent of all orthopedic surgeries are done to repair the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL or CCL, as it’s called in dogs.)
The most common surgery to repair a CCL tear is called Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). It’s a technique that was invented more than 20 years ago and has a good track record for healing dogs.
Pets that have problems recovering from TPLO are typically due to an infection in the wound or activity that was started too soon.
How to put the sleeve on your dog
Both the Lick Sleeve box and the website have detailed instructions about how to apply the sleeve, but since they sent a wrap for Bailey to try, I thought I’d share our experience.
Bailey is an 80lb. Rottweiler mix with very long legs. She received an Extra-Large sleeve for dogs weighing 80 – 120lbs. It fit her perfectly.
- We started by placing the logo on the outside of her left hip, per the written instructions. Lick Sleeves are fitted for either the left or right rear leg.
- I gathered the material and started at Bailey’s paw. Then I pulled the sleeve up to her hip.
- Bailey got into a standing position so I could wrap the large flap of the sleeve under her belly and over her back twice. Then I connected and adjusted the buckle into place.
- Bailey barely knew the sleeve was there and walked comfortably around the room.
- The entire process took less than a minute.