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Ask the Veterinarian/Gangrene in Pets.


Dear Dr Anand

What are the treatments available for gangrene in Pets viz Dog, Cat, Horse, Bird, Fish?.


Gangrene is a serious condition in which a loss of blood supply causes body tissue to die. It can affect any part of the body but typically starts in the toes, feet and fingers.Gangrene can occur as a result of an injury, infection or a long-term condition affecting blood circulation.
All treatment modalities available for humans are applicable for animals also.Treatment for gangrene involves removing the affected tissue, preventing infection or treating any existing infection, and treating the problem that led to gangrene developing.
If gangrene is caused by a poor blood supply, surgery may be used to repair damaged blood vessels.Surgery to cut out the dead tissue, known as debridement, is often necessary to prevent the gangrene from spreading and to allow the surrounding healthy tissue to heal.In some cases, it may be possible to use 'maggot therapy' (‘biosurgery’) instead of conventional surgery to remove the dead tissue.Certain types of maggot are ideal for this because they feed on dead and infected tissue but leave healthy tissue alone. They also help fight infection by releasing substances that kill bacteria and stimulate the healing process.
In severe cases of gangrene, where a whole body part – such as a finger, toe, or limb – is affected and debridement is unlikely to help, amputation may be considered.

If the gangrene is caused by an infection, it will usually be treated with antibiotic medication. These medications can be given as tablets or injections.

Injections are usually necessary if having surgery or if there is severe infection. This allows bigger doses to be given and they are more likely to reach the affected area.

To counter the effects of infection and accelerate the healing process, it will also need fluids and nutrients into a vein (intravenous fluids) and may need blood transfusions.

An alternative treatment for some forms of gangrene is hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

In fishes one of the major reasons for gangrene is an infection caused by a bacteria called
Edwardsiella tarda.Infection causes Edwardsiella septicemia (also known as ES, edwardsiellosis, emphysematous putrefactive disease of catfish, fish gangrene, and red disease) in channel fish, eels, and flounder. Edwardsiella tarda is also found in largemouth bass and freshwater species such as rainbow trout. It is a zoonosis and can infect a variety of animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Edwardsiella tarda has also been the cause of periodic infections for various animals within zoos. E. tarda has a worldwide distribution and can be found in pond water, mud, and the intestine of fish and other marine animals. It is spread through animal feces.

Antibiotics should be used to treat infected fish. Control of the disease is achieved by vaccination. There are three vaccine types and they should all be administered by water bath. Chemotherapy has also been used in the past in order to avoid disease. Management factors such as reducing stress and stocking density can help prevent disease along with maintaining suitable sanitation of water. Other stress factors include drastic changes in temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen levels in the water. In order to manage properly for edwardsiellosis water must be checked constantly in order to keep fish stocks completely free of pathogens.  

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Dr S Bindu Anand


Large and Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, Farm Management,Preventive medicine


A Senior Veterinary Surgeon with more than 25 years’ experience in the field of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry. Mixed animal Practice that will utilize my skills in medicine and surgery, public health, client relations, and developing relationships within the community, such as humane society

Veterinary Consultant with Department of Animal Resources,Ministry of Environment,State of Qatar (Present). Animal Husbandry Department, Government of Kerala, India. Oakland's Park, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Severnside Veterinary Center, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. Saud Bahwan Group, Sultanate of Oman. Trivandrum Regional Co-operative Milk Producers Union,Kerala,India.

BVSc & AH (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry) 1990. College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Kerala, India under Kerala Agricultural University. Certificates Of Accomplishments- Equine Nutrition- University of Edinburgh Principles of Public Health-University of California, Irvine. AIDS- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. General Environmental Health – EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Food Protection-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Zoonoses:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Food Safety:University of Minnesota-School of Public Health online. Occupational Safety and Health-EPHOC-Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. Rabies Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Animal Handler & Vaccinator Educator Certified -Global Alliance for Rabies Control. Wildlife Conservation-United for Wildlife

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