Has your pet ever had to don an Elizabethan collar? These devices—usually shortened to “E-collars” and sometimes affectionately called the “cone of shame” or a “lampshade”—are used to stop a pet from inflicting self-trauma while recovering from a surgical incision, wound, infection, or other bodily harm. Below, allow your Portland, OR vet to fill you in on all you need to know about the E-collar.
The Elizabethan collar is named for the ruffs worn by wealthy landowners in Elizabethan-era England. It was patented in the United States in the late 1950s, and has continued to be used in veterinary medicine since that time. Dogs and cats can both wear Elizabethan collars.
E-collars are usually made of clear plastic, but they can also be constructed out of softer fabric or other materials. Today, E-collars feature tabs or bands at the neck area which fasten the device to your pet, or they might fasten with a string or Velcro strips.
There are different sizes of E-collars for different sizes of pets, and a pet who requires an E-collar must be given the right size. Collars that are too tight could choke a pet, and ones that are too loose will fall off. If that happens, the pet can once again chew, bite, lick, or scratch at their wound, making matters worse.
The length of a pet’s E-collar is also important. The end of the cone should sit near the tip of your pet’s nose—this lets your companion go about their usual business while stopping them from self-harming with their mouth or paws.
Keep a close eye on your pet throughout their recovery period to make sure they stay safe. Sometimes, pets can get the collar stuck in small spaces, and particularly mischievous pets might even be able to get the collar into their mouths, possibly chewing and swallowing plastic or ripping the collar off altogether.
You may also have to remove the collar when your pet wants to eat or drink. E-collars are designed to allow your pet to eat and drink while wearing them, but many pets aren’t keen on it. Try taking the collar off for mealtimes, taking care to stop any self-harming, then re-fastening it once your pet is finished.
Does your pet need veterinary care? Contact your Portland, OR veterinarian. We’re here for you!