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Contemp Top Lab Anim Sci. 2005 Jul;44(4):43-5.

The use of honey as a topical dressing to treat a large, devitalized wound in a stumptail macaque (Macaca arctoides).

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Research Services, Edward Hines VA Hospital, Hines, Illinois 60141, USA.


There are many reasons wounds are managed as open wounds rather than by primary closure. Indications include gross contamination, infection, and skin loss leading to insufficient adjacent tissue for wound closure. The most common method of managing an open wound is with wet-to-dry dressings. Wet-to-dry dressings provide mechanical debridement and promote the movement of viscous exudates away from the wound. Wet-to-dry bandages ideally are changed every 12 to 24 h. For nonhuman primates, it is desirable to develop wound management techniques that limit animal handling for bandage changes and thus the frequency of sedation. Anecdotal reports on the use of honey to treat wounds date back to 2000 B.C. Recently, scientific inquiries have found merit to these reports. Honey accelerates healing because of its direct effects on tissue and antibacterial properties. In addition, dressings with honey can be changed relatively infrequently. Honey decreases inflammatory edema, hastens sloughing of devitalized tissue, attracts macrophages which cleanse the wound, provides a local cellular energy source, and protectively covers the wound. A high osmolarity, acidity, and hydrogen peroxide content confer honey with antibacterial properties. Here we describe the use of honey to manage a bite wound in a stumptail macaque (Macaca arctoides). The wound healed rapidly: after 2 weeks of treatment, there was markedly less exudate and no necrotic tissue. This report describes how honey may be helpful in the management of open wounds in nonhuman primates by minimizing the need for sedation for bandage changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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