Instead of immediately reaching for antibiotics when treating wounds in your animal patients, consider medical ozone. It can be used to effectively treat a variety of wounds and should be a part of every veterinarian’s first aid toolkit.
All wounds and skin infections can benefit from medical ozone. It can be used for many commonly encountered conditions in general veterinary practice, including lacerations, pyodermas, abscesses, bite wounds, deep abrasions, rashes, gangrenous lesions, allergic reactions, insect and tick bites, severe contusions with contamination, and hotspots.
Ozone and the dirty wound
Whenever a wound needs to be cleaned of biofilm, dirt and debris, and disinfected, healing oxygen can be added to the tissue through the use of medical ozone. It kills on contact microbes, yeast, mycoplasmas, viruses, bacteriophages, and other organisms that can make up a biofilm on skin and other tissues. This process then floods the area with oxygen, which encourages healthy tissue to regenerate and thrive. We have no pharmaceutical drug in our current medical arsenal with that range of efficacy.
Due to the development of resistant strains of microbes, antibiotics are ineffective for treating some infections. Culture and sensitivity testing can only inform us of a minimal number of pathogens present in a wound; even if the antibiotic we are prescribing helps remove those microbes, there may be others that were not identified through testing. Additionally, antibiotic therapy can lead to dysbiosis throughout the body. We can no longer justify prescribing antibiotics automatically, when another treatment — i.e. medical ozone — is available that does not contribute to resistance and avoids the dysbiosis associated with antibiotic therapy.
Using medical ozone revives wounded or crushed tissue and enhances vascularization. Darkly bruised areas regain a pink healthy color after medical ozone therapy.
How do we give ozone to wounds?
The fundamentals of ozone and its application techniques are very adaptable to all veterinary practices. Medical ozone can be delivered easily in a suspension of ozonated saline. Normal saline is run through bubbling ozone and oxygen for 30 minutes, at a minimum level of 55 μg per milliliter. Levels up to 75 μg/mL can be used when done with distilled water or saline. The ozonated saline needs to be used within a 45-minute period to get the highest level of suspended ozone. It can be used as a wound flush to wash away the biofilm, kill the bacteria and microbes in the lesion, and help restore more oxygen within the tissue. Debris and traumatized cells are rinsed off as well. For disinfection, higher concentrations of 37-60 μg/ ml can be used. To stimulate tissue healing, lower concentrations of 15-25 μg/ml are beneficial.
For example, one can bag a limb by filling a used saline bag with ozonated saline and placing a tube into it that continues to bubble throughout the fluid bag. This way the ozone keeps refreshing, and the bubbling action helps flush and clean the wound.
Rinsing wounds with ozonated saline potentiates the flushing and reduces or may eliminate the need for antibiotics. Further, enhancing the microbiome with gut support and even Microbiome Restorative Therapy (MBRT) adds healthy microbes that will support a stronger microbiome that can then help fight infections.
Additionally, this author utilizes homeopathic medicines such as Arnica montana, Ledum palustre and Calendula officinalis orally for gentle support to speed recovery.
Ozonated oils like olive, sunflower, hemp, coconut, jojoba, with or without essential oils, are now available to heal infected skin. Ozonated suppositories can be given rectally, vaginally, or even ingested. Ozonated olive oil capsules are easy to ingest.
Treating MRSA wounds
A 2018 study found that medical ozone demonstrated a high efficacy/low cost option for killing MRSA skin infections. The researchers demonstrated that ozonated water (1 mg/l) can sterilize all S. aureus and MRSA in one minute.1
Ozone owes its biocidal effectiveness to its ability to oxidize organic material in bacterial membranes, which weakens the cell wall and leads to cell rupture, causing immediate death of the bacteria cell. It also destroys viruses, yeast, bacteriophages, mycoplasmas, fungal and other infectious species.
Try not to immediately reach for antibiotics when other therapies like medical ozone can be used to effectively treat wounds in your patients.
1Song M, Zeng Q, Xiang Y, et al. The antibacterial effect of topical ozone on the treatment of MRSA skin infection. Mol Med Rep. 2018;17(2):2449-2455. doi:10.3892/mmr.2017.8148.