Elizabethan collars, or more commonly known as e-collars, are often used in veterinary medicine and sometimes referred to as a cone, lampshade, or "the cone of shame" as in the movie UP. These cones are used to prevent dogs and cats from biting, scratching and licking wounds, incisions, or other injured areas. Cumbersome and sometimes uncomfortable for the pet, we now have new versions of this tool that are a nice alternative for many pets.
Traditionally purchased from your veterinarian post-surgery or after cleaning up a wound, hot spot or other injury, these collars may now be purchased at many pet supply stores. These collars are a great way to prevent self-trauma, for eye problems such as corneal ulcers and for recurring situations such as hot spots, paw or tail injuries, or lick granulomas.
After seeing the photo gallery: "Rose the story of senior dog adoption" a viewer asked a question on the About.com Veterinary Medicine Facebook page about the e-collar that Rose is wearing here. Her question was "Do you have a link to that soft collar you used in lieu of an e-collar? That looks sooooo much better!"
Indeed, it is a good alternative for some pets and situations to the familiar hard plastic white cone most of us have seen or had to use on our own pets. I contacted Cyndi Cutler, Rose's new owner, and she said that Rose wore a Pro Collar for two days post-op. The full name is ProCollar Premium Inflatable Protective Collar and is available at many pet supply stores and some veterinary clinics.
Cutler said the collar worked great at first, but Rose learned to reach her paw around it after surgery, so it may not be the best collar for incisions or wounds on the head (Rose had her eye removed due to disease.) Some pets may also be able to squirm out of this type of collar.
Rose then graduated to a Comfy Cone. This cone is similar in structure to the traditional e-collar cone, but it constructed out of nylon fabric, foam and Velcro. Pets are more comfortable as the cone conforms to their head and body position yet still prevents licking and scratching. Rose did great wearing her Comfy Cone as her eye and elbow incisions healed.
Like the Pro Collar, the Comfy Cone may be purchased at several pet supply retailers and some veterinary clinics.
One final note: proper fit is essential for comfort and to perform the intended function of the e-collar. Please check with your veterinarian for recommendations and sizing for your pet and the intended use of the e-collar.
Photo: Dog wearing traditional e-collar after surgery by apanoply on Flickr