I've licked burns, but not other wounds. Maybe I should start?
Christopher A. Young
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OT Do you lick your wounds? Or maybe not so OT, because when do I
get half of my wounds, during home repair.
I do, and I mentioned this to a female friend of mine, and she said
there were a lot of germs in one's mouth and he shoudln't do that.
Searching the web, here are excerpts from web pages, about people
likcking thier own wounds, dogs licking their own wounds, and dogs
brought in to lick people's wounds.
My question remains, do you lick your wounds?
ScienceDaily (July 24, 2008) A report by scientists from The
Netherlands identifies a compound in human saliva that greatly speeds
wound healing. This research may offer hope to people suffering from
chronic wounds related to diabetes and other disorders, as well as
traumatic injuries and burns. In addition, because the compounds can
be mass produced, they have the potential to become as common as
antibiotic creams and rubbing alcohol. .....Specifically, scientists
found that histatin, a small protein in saliva previously only
believed to kill bacteria was responsible for the healing.
-- So even before this, they believed it killed bacteria. --
After 16 hours the scientists noticed that the saliva treated "wound"
was almost completely closed. In the dish with the untreated "wound,"
a substantial part of the "wound" was still open. This proved that
human saliva contains a factor which accelerates wound closure of oral
cells. Because saliva is a complex liquid with many components, the
next step was to identify which component was responsible for wound
healing. Using various techniques the researchers split the saliva
into its individual components, tested each in their wound model, and
finally determined that histatin was responsible.
"This study not only answers the biological question of why animals
lick their wounds," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The
FASEB Journal, "it also explains why wounds in the mouth, like those
of a tooth extraction, heal much faster than comparable wounds of the
skin and bone. It also directs us to begin looking at saliva as a
source for new drugs."
Dog Saliva Really Does Have Antibiotic Properties!
People often ask about dogs licking their wounds, and whether that
promotes healing or gets in the way of proper healing. There's nothing
quite so pitiful as an injured dog wearing one of those big conical
collars to prevent them from doing what they most want to do by nature
- lick their wounds.
And while it's certainly good to keep your pet from licking freshly
stitched cuts (he might pull out stitches and end up with a bigger,
uglier scar), once the stitches have been in place for a few days and
begin to dissolve or are very soon to be removed, letting the dog go
ahead and lick may even promote healing.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, it's true that dog
saliva has antibiotic properties. Specifically, dog saliva contains
lysozyme, an enzyme that lyses and destroys harmful bacteria. This
means the enzyme attaches to the bacterial cell wall - particularly
gram-positive bacteria - and weakens it, leading to rupture.
The second reason is direct stimulation of the tissues and small blood
vessels surrounding the wound site. This helps to increase blood flow
and promote the growth of new capillaries, while the blood brings
white cells, platelets, growth factors and other of the body's natural
healing agents to the wound site.
However the data on wound licking is not all positive. In the mouths
of mammals we also find certain anaerobic bacteria such as
Pasteurella. While not harmful in the mouth, Pasteurella can cause
serious infections when introduced deep into an open wound. There are
a number of reports of this happening, and sometimes the results have
been extremely negative, causing infections that have resulted in
amputations, and sometimes the resulting infections have been life
Have you ever heard of such a Psteurela complication or an amputation
from wound licking?