Cre­ative al­ter­na­tives to cones

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - PETS - By SUE MAN­NING

CALL it the cone of shame. Radar dish. El­iz­a­bethan col­lar.

What­ever the name, pets seem to hate the stiff, lamp­shade- like piece of plas­tic that vets of­ten put around their necks to keep them from bit­ing or chew­ing wounds, stitches or other prob­lem ar­eas.

“She was not a happy camper. She couldn’t eat in it, she couldn’t play in it, she couldn’t move around in it,” Brooke Yoder of Millers­burg, Ohio in the United Staes, said about her Mal­tese- Shih Tzu dog, Mar­ley, who got a cone to pro­tect her stitches af­ter she was spayed.

The first cones were hand­made by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sales­man Ed­ward J. Schilling in the early 1960s, and they re­main the best- sell­ing wound or su­ture pro­tec­tion on the mar­ket for pets, said Ken Bow­man, pres­i­dent of the Chino, Cal­i­for­nia- based KVP In­ter­na­tional, a cone man­u­fac­turer.

Yet his com­pany and oth­ers are try­ing to come up with some­thing bet­ter.

KVP makes re­cov­ery col­lars in 14 styles, in­clud­ing two in­flat­a­bles and two soft col­lars. They have cones to fit pets from mice to mas­tiffs.

The com­pany is run­ning stud­ies on whether the cone acts like an am­pli­fier, po­ten­tially hurt­ing an an­i­mal’s ears, and whether the loss of vi­sion it causes can cre­ate stress.

One al­ter­na­tive has come from Stephanie Sy­berg of St. Pe­ters, Mis­souri, founder and pres­i­dent of Cover Me by Tui, which makes a one- piece, post- sur­gi­cal gar­ment for dogs.

“I was in ve­teri­nary medicine my­self for 16 years. I was con­stantly be­ing asked, ` What can we use in­stead of the plas­tic cone?”’ Sy­berg said.

Her onesie, made of Peru­vian cot­ton, was tested on 200 dogs. “Vets are see­ing the calm­ing ef­fect,” she said. “The fab­ric is breath­able so it pro- motes heal­ing.”

She sells pullover and step- in ver­sions at Tu­lanesCloset. com.

Dr Char­lie Sink, who runs the Grand Paws An­i­mal Clinic in Sur­prise, Ari­zona, bought 3,000 of them on his first or­der.

“They are the soft­est cloth and the dogs just love them. You can wash them. It’s an amaz­ing prod­uct,” said Sink, who has been a vet for 47 years.

But there are times, he said, when only the hard cone will work: if the dog’s in­jury is on a body part not cov­ered by the onesie, for in­stance.

Gayle Swe­tow of Hen­der­son, Ne­vada, has be­come a reg­u­lar cus­tomer of Sy­berg’s. She was told to put a cone on her 2- yearold pit- bull mix to pro­tect a 6- inch in­ci­sion af­ter he had surgery on his hip.

“I slept with him ev­ery night down­stairs be­cause I couldn’t bear to put a cone on him,” she said. “That didn’t work so I started fran­ti­cally look­ing up dog one­sies or dog pa­ja­mas.”

“I think I’ve bought 10 of them al­ready be­cause the dog has an al­lergy too. I keep him in this ev­ery day,” Swe­tow said.

The cones, she con­tin­ued, are “aw­ful. The dogs can’t see where they are go­ing. They can’t jump up. Eat­ing, mov­ing or walk­ing is nearly im­pos­si­ble with a cone. But they can do any­thing and ev­ery­thing if they have a onesie on.”

The cone’s un­pop­u­lar­ity has also led to some cre­ative al­ter­na­tives by de­sign­ers and artists at the web­site More Than a Cone ( www. morethana­cone. com ).

In ad­di­tion to mak­ing the cone more at­trac­tive, Bow­man said,

KVP makes re­cov­ery col­lars in 14 styles, in­clud­ing two in­flat­a­bles and two soft col­lars. They have cones to fit pets from mice to mas­tiffs.

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