Wound powder is a charcoal-based medicine used to aid treatment of animal wounds. The powder, which is normally chalky-white, helps coagulate blood to stop bleeding, dry out wounds to prevent infection, and speed the healing process. Wound powder is generally used for minor cuts and scratches on horses, farm animals and small pets such as cats and dogs.
The chemical composition of wound powders varies between brands, but generally contains a combination of chemicals including charcoal, sulfur or copper sulfate, magnesium and chloramine. It is safe for use by humans, but you should avoid breathing it or getting it in your eyes. Some experts recommend wearing a surgical mask to prevent inhalation.
Many bottles of the powder are packaged so that the bottle may be squeezed or puffed, spraying the dry powder over the wound. Others may require use of a powder puff to apply the antiseptic. Some brands of wound powder contain a deodorizing agent that removes foul smells from wounds.
Wound powder is generally used as a topical antiseptic. The active ingredients, such as chloramine, are anti-microbial and may help prevent infection in a new wound, such as one caused by saddle sores. If a wound looks to already be infected or has not healed within a few days, be aware that the antiseptic powder may not be strong enough to fight the infection, and a veterinarian should be consulted.
One benefit of using wound powder, instead of a liquid or gel antiseptic is that the dry formula is easy to apply to hard-to-reach areas. Moreover, in the case of shy or easily startled animals, the powder is less likely to frighten the animal than a cold liquid. Some users prefer a gel or liquid formula, however, as animals may find the powder itchy or mildly discomfiting.
An unusual use for wound powder has become popular among cat owners. In some pure-bred white or light-colored cats, runny eyes can stain the area surrounding the eyes. This discoloration is considered undesirable in a show cat, particularly a Persian or similar long-haired breed. Some owners recommend using white colored wound powder to disguise or bleach out the stains for better show presentation. Experts warn that powder should be applied with a Q-Tip or eyelash brush, and no powder should be used near a cat’s eye that contains cortisone.
While wound powder is a popular aid to helping quickly and safely cure animal wounds, it should not be used as a substitute for proper veterinary care. In choosing a brand of powder, check with your animal’s vet to make sure that no ingredients are contra-indicated for your pet. Many brands of powder can be found at veterinary supply stores, some pet stores, and on the internet. It is fairly inexpensive, generally costing less than $10 US Dollars (USD) per bottle.