The Use of Honey as an Alternative Topical Antibacterial Wound Treatment in Injured Wild Mammals


  • Leslie Reed Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2009



Antibacterial, wound management, honey, alternative topical treatment


The utilization of honey to treat wounds in humans has been practiced for hundreds of years. This treatment alternative has recently gained more attention in the veterinary field due to continued effectiveness. The antibacterial properties of honey have proven to exhibit great success in safe and rapid healing of soft tissue wounds in mammals by providing adequate protection from bacterial invasion and infection. Honey also assists in managing inflammation, relieving swelling and pain, and enhancing and expediting the natural healing process. Unlike other commonly used topical antiseptics, honey does not produce any local tissue damage to the application area and is less expensive and easier for many rehabilitators and veterinarians to acquire. This paper will discuss the many benefits for the use of honey as an alternative antibacterial topical wound treatment in injured wild mammals and the specific properties that make honey a successful treatment alternative. A brief case study of a California sea lion that was successfully treated with honey for severe shark bite wounds as part of a treatment regimen at the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur, San Pedro, CA will also be discussed.


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How to Cite

Reed, L. (2007). The Use of Honey as an Alternative Topical Antibacterial Wound Treatment in Injured Wild Mammals. Wildlife Rehabilitation Bulletin, 25(1), 36–40.



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