Every time Jasmine had a surgery, she came home with prescription of antibiotics. They were all major surgeries, I think it makes sense to be proactive in preventing serious infections.
When JD had his mast cell tumor surgery, he was not put on antibiotics.
On one had I was glad because I like to use antibiotics as sparingly as possible and I like that our vet thinks the same way. He had relatively large hole at the site of the tumor and incision on his chest where they harvested skin for his graft.
The original plan was to keep the wound open to air, just preventing JD from licking it. JD, of course had other plans, in spite of the fashionable cone he was sporting.
The second day after surgery, I felt his wound was starting to smell funny.
I still didn't want to start antibiotics if I didn't have to but I was worried about infection. Particularly since the wound was relatively deep - skin and fascia removed all the way to tendons and muscle. I contacted our vet and asked whether we should try some raw honey. We still had some raw Manuka honey at home since Cookie's paw pad cut.
We used honey on Cookie's cut and never needed antibiotics even through the cut was relatively deep and vets often do prescribe antibiotics for that as well.
That was the first time I've tried that, at an advice of one of my veterinary friends.
JD's vet agreed that it was a good plan so we started the honey treatment on JD's wound. It carried us through the entire healing process and the wound never got infected. We covered it lightly with a sock just to keep the honey in place. We changed the sock and re-applied the honey three times a day.
The use of honey for wound management dates back many centuries.
Anti-bacterial properties of honey are due to a complex interplay of it various components. Sugar had been used as well but it seems honey, particularly Manuka honey, can do a better job. Honey can keep away infection as well as reduce inflammation and facilitate the healing process.
Not all honey had been created equal.
I wouldn't try using any ol' honey from a store. Some of these can have relatively low antibacterial activity and can be contaminated by pathogenic organisms.
We used raw Manuka honey and had very good results with it.
While antibacterial ointments are readily available, it would still mean antibiotics. I prefer to avoid those and I'm happy with how the honey worked both times.
Of course, I wouldn't use anything without discussing it with our vet first. But she thought it was a good idea and considering the results it was.
Honey: A Biologic Wound Dressing
A Comparison Between Medical Grade Honey and Table Honeys in Relation to Antimicrobial Efficacy
Cookie's Plantar Paw Pad Injury
Taking Care of JD's Wounds
Useful Tips: Bandaging Your Dog's Foot?
Useful Tips: Wound Care - Scissor-Free Bandaging
Wound Care 101 (Part I The Basics)
Wound Care 101 (Part II Wound Management)