Stephen J. Birchard DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Adaptic Gauze for Open Wounds: Effective, absorptive, non-painful, and cheap!

Adaptic petroleum impregnated sponge. (from:
Petroleum impregnated gauze sponges (e.g., Adaptic sponges) are  non-adherent gauze sheets that can be used on open wounds in dogs and cats. They are considered semi-occlusive; they allow absorption of fluid without adhering to the wound surface. These sponges provide moisture and protect the delicate cells on the wound surface.
Clinical Use
Adaptic sponges are a good choice for wounds that have already established a healthy granulation bed and do not require any further debridement. Since they allow some absorption of fluid be sure to apply cast padding as the second layer of the bandage.  They can be left on 2-3 days, giving owners a more convenient schedule for outpatient visits. They are less painful to remove than wet to dry dressings and thus the patient may not require sedation for bandage changes.
A fully granulated wound in a dog that would be a good candidate for an Adaptic dressing.
One study found that petroleum impregnated sponges were superior to other non-adherent dressings in encouraging wound contraction.(1) However, they inhibited epitheliazation of wounds to a greater degree than the other materials investigated. Although this is considered a disadvantage of the sponges, I have seen wounds in many clinical cases epithelialize completely while using them.
Adaptic dressings being applied to an extensive open wound on a dog.  Standard bandage material
(cast padding, Kling, and Vetwrap) were applied over the Adaptics to complete the bandage.
Petroleum sponges cost a fraction of some other non-adherent wound coverings.  A 3 X 3 inch sterile Adaptic sponge costs roughly 50 cents per sheet compared to hydrocolloid dressings that can cost several times that amount. Another advantage is that the Adaptic sponge can be trimmed to match the size and shape of the wound.

Comparison to Telfa Pads
Over the years I have found that many veterinarians and vet students are unaware of the advantages of these types of sponges. Telfa pads seem to be more recognized and used as non-adherent primary layer of bandages. I find that Telfa pads are much too occlusive; they trap exudate next to the wound surface rather than absorbing it into the bandage. Petroleum sponges are much more absorptive than Telfa pads and are a option better for open wounds.

Petroleum gauze sponges provide a good option for the management of the final stage of wound healing of non-infected granulating wounds. Surgical reconstruction of the wound can then be considered if feasible.


1. Lee AH, Swaim SF, McGuire JA, Hughes KS. Effects of nonadherent dressing materials on the healing of open wounds in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1987 Feb 15;190(4):416-22.