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M – Maxie’s Mighty Saliva


I know, I know – it seems as if I might be running out of things to blog about, now that we are approaching the midway point of the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2018.  You are probably thinking to yourselves, what the heck, SD has been reduced to writing about her dog’s spit.  And I would have to say, well yeah, I have.  This was my oldest son’s idea for a blog post.  And I will tell you how we came to this point.

As with all dermatologic issues that arise in our house, I am forced to drop everything and evaluate the offending lesion immediately, come up with a diagnosis and some form of treatment.  Dermatology, I really don’t think is that difficult, because basically there are two lines of treatment for most lesions.  If it is wet, dry it and if it is dry, wet it. That’s really all one needs to know about treating the common lesions.

But here is what we were thinking about last night.  My oldest, is a body builder.  And when it is leg day – he wears knee sleeves, I am assuming in order to provide more stability to his knees when doing dead lifts.  Which is smart.  But he always develops a contact dermatitis when he wears these things.  I suspect he has a latex allergy, but he continues to wear the sleeves.

Yesterday, I walked in the door and was presented with a vesicular lesion on the side of his calf.  It was kind of weepy and gross. I wasn’t sure what it was.  However, Maxie – my Golden Retriever (and the sweetest boy – ever) took an interest in this lesion as well.  And as Maxie does, he took care of it.  My oldest said after Maxie licked the site, it felt so much better.  And it actually looked better as well.  So, this got us thinking.  What properties are there in a dog’s saliva?

We went on Google. And here is what we discovered.

Dog saliva contains:

Nerve Growth Factor – a protein which speeds up the healing process.

Histatins – a protein with antibiotic agents which wards off infections, and helps the wound close faster.

Lysozyme – an enzyme that breaks apart and destroys harmful bacteria. This means the enzyme attaches to the bacterial cell wall – particularly gram-positive bacteria – and weakens it, leading to rupture.

And just the action of the dog licking the area – debrides away the unhealthy tissue,  thereby cleansing the wound, and making it all nice and tidy.

Of course, you don’t want your dog to lick surgical wounds because there is the potential for introducing bacteria into an otherwise clean wound.

And although this might be a slightly nauseating topic, especially if your not a dog person, it is quite fascinating.

According to one of the scientific articles I read (yes – researchers really get funding for studying the beneficial properties of dog saliva) Saliva of different dog breeds as antimicrobial agents against microorganisms isolated from wound infections.
Akpomie, O.O. 1, Ukoha, P.2, Nwafor, O.E.2 and Umukoro, G1. (2011) – they found even in small doses, canine saliva had potent antimicrobial effects on awful microbes such as Pseudomonas, Candida, and Staphylococcus aureus. What?! Why aren’t we developing a synthetic dog saliva and marketing it – instead of fighting these wound infections with big-time antibiotics.

So there you are – everything you wanted to know about dog saliva, but were afraid to ask!


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