Study: Tap Water Fine For Flushing Wounds

Researchers have concluded that tap water, not sterile saline, should be used to wash most equine wounds. As long as water is clean, flushing an injury as soon as it’s found can help remove bacteria and dirt, reducing the risk of infection. The water used to flush a wound should be potable, but if only undrinkable water is available, boiling and cooling it is still an option. Distilled water can also be used to safely lavage open injuries.

Drs. Sarah L. Freeman, Neal M. Ashton, Yvonne Elce, Anna Hammond, Anna Hollis and Greg Quinn created guidelines for equine wound management based on evidence they collected from a set of questions proposed to a panel of veterinarians. The scientists also looked at human medicine if equine studies weren’t available. In total, they used 306 veterinary studies and 25 human-focused papers to produce their recommendations, which included:

  • Tap water is recommended for flushing wounds over saline
  • The best pressure for washing wounds is 13 pounds per square inch (medium pressure)
  • Contaminated wounds should be flushed with provide-iodine
  • silver sulfadiazine may slow healing of acute wounds

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