Treatments on animals: leech therapy

Posted by Jelio Mir on

An animal heals animals - the medical leech as a remedy
The leeches are among the oldest remedies we know. The effectiveness of many diseases is documented in numerous publications.

In principle, leech therapy can be explained very simply: it is a combination of more than 13 researched active ingredients in the saliva of the leech, which are transferred into the wound when the bite occurs.

The main effects of this are:
Blood coagulation is inhibited - this desired effect means that the wound does not close automatically after the gel is detached, but the desired subsequent bleeding (up to 12 hours) can take place. Comparable to a small bloodletting
analgesic and anti-inflammatory
circulation and vasodilator
Acceleration of lymph flow
decongestant effect
Leech therapy is successfully used in animals for the following diseases:
-Arthritis and osteoarthritis
-Spinal disorders (spondylosis, herniated disc, cauda equina)
-Eczema, abscesses, wound healing disorders
-Dysplasia (HD and ED)
-Ligament and tendon disorders (cruciate ligament tear)
-Muscle disorders (muscle hardening)
-Nerve disorders (inflammation and irritation)
-Venous and lymphatic diseases (thrombosis)

Leech therapy cannot be used in some patients, such as:
-Blood clotting disorders or the administration of drugs that inhibit blood clotting
all types of anemia
-Acute infections
-Diabetes mellitus
-Continuous therapy with cortisone (short-term doses are safe)
-Strong allergy tendency
-Hypersensitivity to heparin
-Severe organ diseases
Possible after and side effects:

-Local itching
-Bruise in the area of ​​the bite
Please make sure that your animal does not lick or scratch the wound, otherwise there may be an inflammatory reaction in the wound area. If there is severe itching, a suitable ointment can be applied. The bite usually heals without scarring, sometimes small punctiform skin lightening may remain.

In extremely rare cases, temperature increases and swelling of the lymph nodes can occur, these are normal reactions that disappear after a few days.

Because of the hypotensive effect, circulatory reactions can very rarely occur. In order to prevent this, on the day of treatment and depending on the constitution of the animal, 1 - 2 days afterwards, as much effort as possible (dog sport, long walks) should be avoided and water should always be available.

Please inform us about known medical conditions, allergies and medication before starting treatment. Leeches do not bite or only bite very badly on treated skin. It is therefore essential to ensure that the skin is free of chemicals, ointments, gels and creams and other strong odors (e.g. tea tree oil). This includes all parasite remedies for fleas, ticks and mites (collars, spot-on preparations and tablets), shampoos and other scented products.

Treatment on animals:
Therapy takes place in our practice rooms with appointments. The treatment can take between 30 and 90 minutes, please be prepared.

If possible, the animal should have dropped faeces and urine before treatment.
After the animal has found its place in the treatment room, the affected skin area is heated and the leeches (between 1 and 4 pieces, depending on the size and weight of the animal) are placed in the appropriate place.

Since leeches are warm animals, they usually bite very quickly on the skin in this way. Now let them suck until they fall off again by themselves. It must be ensured that neither the patient nor the owner of the patient remove the leech prematurely or interfere with the suction (squeezing, scratching, shaking off, etc.). Otherwise there is a risk that the leeches will vomit into the wound, which can lead to infection of the wound. In addition, the therapeutic effect is reduced because the amount of blood sucked and the saliva released are too low.

The leech normally sucks 20-50 ml of blood and is therefore able to absorb 5 to 10 times its body weight in blood. The same amount of blood will flow out of the wound again when the desired rebleeding occurs. The bleeding time differs individually and experience has shown that it can last up to 12 hours.

After the leech has fallen off, the wound is left to bleed for about 5-10 minutes without covering the wound. Then a loose absorbent bandage (no pressure bandage!) Is applied, which absorbs the blood. After leaving the practice, you should press the bandage lightly every 15 minutes so that no blood bubbles form and that the subsequent bleeding can continue unimpeded. If the bandage has bled through, you must change the bandage at home. You will receive the necessary material from us.

We recommend repeating the therapy after 1-2 weeks and after another 4-6 weeks depending on the disease. In chronic cases, therapy can follow every 3-4 months.