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The veterinary medical device that gets a bad wrap

One small change to a long-time medical device made a world of difference during the recovery process for our editorial director's dog after emergency surgery.

dog with a cone of shame
dog with a cone of shame

There is a new medical device in my family – the cone of shame. Technically known as the Elizabethan, or e-collar, it is arguably the most recognizable, yet underrated veterinary medical device out there.

I never really thought about the functionality of it until last week when my dog had to wear one after emergency stomach surgery so he wouldn't fuss with his stitches. My friends made fun of it, I couldn’t stop laughing when the doctor put it on him, and one person even suggested we decorate it.

Look up "cone of shame" on Google images and you will find more embarrassing photos and memes of dogs than of a Kardashian.

What ends up being a joke to most, is actually a really important veterinary medical device.

In the seven years of owning a dog I never had a personal experience with it, but having previously worked in the pet industry, I have seen numerous adaptations of them. Some are soft and flexible, others are more of a bubble around the dog's neck, I could go on and on.

But, the most innovative thing about this medical device that I found, and what made a world of difference, was that it was clear. Yup, you can completely see through it.

Many of the ones I have seen in the past are colored, or tinted, so the animal cannot see around them. Think about that. Would you like it if you weren't able to see what was going on around you? Probably not.

Most dogs hate the collar and experience extreme anxiety with it on. My dogs hasn't, and I attribute it to the fact he can still see all around him. He can see better when walking down the stairs, can still curl up in his crate like normal, but also see what I am doing by just moving his eyes, and he doesn't have to feel vulnerable, because he can tell what is happening around him.

Almost every person who has seen him with it on has commented about the clear plastic, adding how that makes much more sense, and why aren't they all like that.

When we think of innovation we tend to think about some ground-breaking, explosive discovery, but sometimes a simple change can make a big difference.

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