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What are Hydroactive Wound Dressings?

Hydroactive wound dressings combine with moisture and fluid from the wound exudate at the wound site and swell to contain the exudate moisture. Exudate is the fluid and cells produced by the body that accumulate at the site of a wound. Exudate aids in healing by providing a substance on which cells can grow and providing nutrition for new skin cells. It also plays a role in immune functioning at the site of an open wound. If too much or too little exudate exists at a wound site, healing may not progress properly. Capturing and regulating moisture from exudate at a wound site results in several conditions that assist in healing certain types of wounds. Moisture prevents the formation of scabs which would impede the growth of new cells that may be required to cover an open wound. In addition to providing a moist environment, hydroactive wound dressings have a structure within the dressing, also referred to as a matrix, which provides support for new epithelial cells to migrate across the wound opening. 

Hydroactive dressings also provide several other benefits; they do not adhere to the wound, they are water resistant, have antibacterial properties, and provide flexibility to allow comfort at wound sites where discomfort from traditional bandaging may occur. Reduced scarring is also a benefit of these types of dressings. They are only appropriate for certain types of wounds and should be used under the advice of a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can demonstrate correct usage and provide you with instructions for home usage if appropriate.

Hydroactive Wound Dressings Procedure in Cats

A wound should be examined by a veterinarian, who will determine the type of wound and treatment required. Your veterinarian will control bleeding by applying pressure and will clean the wound. If antibiotics or other medications are required to prevent secondary infections they will be prescribed. There are several different types of hydroactive dressings available commercially. Application of the dressing may vary depending on the brand; your veterinarian will follow instructions specific to that brand. In general, a dressing slightly larger than the wound is applied. If a wound cavity exists the dressing will be carefully inserted into the cavity. The hydroactive dressing combines with the open wound and the margins of the dressing adhere to healthy surrounding tissue to form a water and bacteria-proof barrier and seal exudate in the wound. As the exudate combines with the bandage the bandage will swell, keeping the exudate moisture at the wound site to aid healing. The hydroactive dressing can remain in place for several days. Your veterinarian will provide follow up veterinary care to change the dressing or instruct you regarding home usage.

Efficacy of Hydroactive Wound Dressings in Cats

These dressings are effective when used on open wounds that require continued exudate exposure. The exudate allows for cell granulation and epithelial cells to migrate across the open wound surface and prevents scarring and irritation that may occur with traditional dressings.

Hydroactive Wound Dressings Recovery in Cats

Hydroactive dressings may remain in place for several days. The bandage and wound area should be monitored for signs of infection. Watch your cat for signs of discomfort, lack of appetite or lethargy that may indicate an issue and address with veterinary care. The bandage will need to be removed and new dressings applied as necessary. Your veterinarian can advise you on a treatment schedule and will book follow-up appointments or may instruct you on appropriate application of the hydroactive dressing. 

Cost of Hydroactive Wound Dressings in Cats

The cost of hydroactive dressings is comparative to traditional bandaging supplies.  Depending on the size of the wound and the length of time dressings are required, they can cost from $30 to $300 plus the cost of veterinary care, if required, to change dressings. Because hydroactive dressings are effective at reducing complications in healing and reducing the incidence of infection, they may be less expensive in the long run, if complications are avoided through their usage. 

Cat Hydroactive Wound Dressings Considerations

Hydroactive wound dressings are not appropriate for all wounds, where low levels of exudate or bacterial infections are present they are not recommended.

Some materials contained in the dressing could cause allergic reactions in your cat; you and your veterinarian will need to monitor your cat to ensure that this is addressed if it occurs and the dressing is removed. 

Excessive exudate being trapped at the wound surface may result in complications such as maceration, the breaking down of skin due to overexposure to moisture, which can result in sloughing of skin and enlargement of the wound as opposed to closure. Achieving the correct balance of exudate exposure requires the advice and care of your veterinarian.

Hydroactive Wound Dressings Prevention in Cats

Ensuring your cat has a safe environment where they are unlikely to experience trauma resulting in a wound will greatly decrease the requirement for wound management. Treatment of skin conditions and sores before they experience complications or become ulcerated will also prevent the requirement for specialized wound dressings. Routine grooming of your cat and monitoring by a veterinarian will result in the discovery of conditions requiring medical care at an earlier stage when treatment may be more routine.

Hydroactive Wound Dressings Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms


Medication Used

veraflox and metecam

Hi there, My name is marisa my cat oliver has recently had a trauma to the abdomen and was admitted to the vet right away. First there was fluid build up under the skin which then subsided. After the infection was no longer present from the blunt trauma and minor wounds.He has now started the sloughing process. I believe that's how you spell it? His dead skin is now coming off it first has started to scab and now along the edges has started to break off revealing a mild light color of "puss" and or the under layer. There is no sign of severe inflammation. He is eating drinking lots of water and using his litter box regularly with poo's and pee's He is on Veraflox antibiotics as well metacam for mild pain care. He's acting extremely well, and is very happy.I'm going to the vet again today for a check up. Would love a second opinion. I want to know how to appropriately dress the wound as it continues to come off. As well he has minor patches of hair coming off around the shaven area of his abdomen. There is many alternatives and things that I know can help with both the healing process and the covering process at the same time. I've done a lot of research on the benefits of Manuka honey. How it is not harmful for cat's nor does it slow the healing process it actually speeds things up as well providing the wound with antibacterial properties. The wound that covers from just below the top of his front legs to his belly button continues to get smaller and that fresh pink skin is becoming apparent. Would love to know what you think is my best options here?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
There are many options for bandaging healing wounds, to protect them and to help them heal. There are bandage materials that incorporate honey into the material, and silver sulfadiazine is a widely used product to speed healing. Your veterinarian would be able to show you how to dress the wounds, and will have some materials available. Without seeing the wounds, I cannot comment on what might be best for Oliver. I hope that he does well.

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