At Vetericyn, animal wellness is our top priority. We were founded on a mission of caring for our customer’s pets and livestock the same way we care for our own. That’s why we’re always on the cutting edge of current technology in animal health and wellness.
One of the secrets behind the proven effectiveness of Vetericyn Plus products is hypochlorous acid, or HOCl.
HOCl is a substance that’s produced in white blood cells as a defense against infection. It has revolutionized wound care in recent years because it’s not only safe and gentle, but also effective against an array of harmful microbes, including parvovirus, MRSA, staph, coronavirus, and more.1
With that said, what makes HOCl so different from other antiseptics? And how can you use it to protect your pets from illness and infection?
Let’s break down everything you need to know about HOCl and the Vetericyn difference.
What is Hypochlorous Acid?
Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is a type of acid that forms when chlorine breaks down in water. If you hear the word chlorine and think of disinfectant, you won’t be surprised to learn that HOCl is also a potent disinfectant. HOCl is1:
- Rated food-safe by the EPA and approved for use in food prep areas
- Proven to inactivate viruses in under 1 minute of contact time on surfaces
- Effective against a wide range of viruses, bacteria, and fungi
With so many upsides, you may be wondering why HOCl isn’t a household word. It’s not because it’s a new discovery—scientists have known how to create HOCl since 1834. The problem with HOCl was that it naturally breaks down too quickly to be mass-produced. But thanks to advancements in manufacturing processes, Vetericyn can now produce a synthetic, shelf-stable HOCl that lets pet owners use this powerful healthcare tool at home.2
Why Choose HOCl Technology Over Other Antiseptics?
There are a number of common antiseptics found in the average medicine cabinet like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or chlorhexidine. These and other disinfectants can kill bacteria and other pathogens on surfaces and in wounds.
So what makes HOCl a better choice?
HOCl functions differently than other antiseptics, and it’s much safer to use on animals. Here’s the science behind HOCl that sets it apart:
- It’s produced by immune cells – Unlike other disinfectants, HOCl is naturally produced by the white blood cells of animals. Although the HOCl found in wound care products is synthetic, it’s as safe and non-toxic as the natural HOCl produced by the body.
- It’s powerful, yet gentle – HOCl is one of the body’s best natural defenses against infection. It works by attacking invading pathogens and breaking down their cell walls. Harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes are destroyed, while the body’s own cells are untouched.
- It speeds healing – HOCl can help wounds heal faster by increasing oxygen flow to the tissues. It also breaks down the protective biofilm that forms around bacterial infections, allowing faster healing of tough infections.3
- It doesn’t harm healthy tissue – Traditional disinfectants like iodine, benzalkonium
chloride, chlorhexidine, isopropyl alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide do kill pathogens, but they also damage healthy tissue. HOCl fights harmful microbes without damaging skin cells around the wound.
- It won’t cause discomfort – HOCl is a better choice because it cleans wounds just as effectively, but without burning or stinging. In fact, it’s so gentle, we even use it in our eye care formulas.
How Does Vetericyn Harness the Power of HOCl Technology?
Vetericyn was one of the first animal care companies to put HOCl to work in our products. We’ve created a full line of wound and skin care sprays, gels, and eye and ear treatments using HOCl that are non-toxic, non-caustic, and effective. The entire Vetericyn Plus line is safe for all animals at all life stages—even delicate exotics like reptiles and birds.
Best of all, unlike other antiseptics, accidental ingestion or contact with sensitive skin isn’t a problem with Vetericyn.
Our simple, safe ingredients won’t cause irritation of even the most delicate tissues, such as the eyes and mucus membranes. You can safely use Vetericyn products around the eyes, nose, and mouth, and you don’t need to worry even if your animal licks the wound after you apply Vetericyn.
What Makes Vetericyn’s HOCl Products Different?
Not all products that contain HOCl are equally safe and effective. For a HOCl solution to be reliably skin-safe, shelf-stable, and non-cytotoxic, it needs to meet two key requirements4:
- Free of hypochlorite anions – When hypochlorous acid is produced, a similar molecule called a hypochlorite anion may also be present. The two molecules are closely related, but hypochlorite anions can actually interfere with the functioning of skin cells. Thus, it’s crucial for HOCl cleansers to contain little or no hypochlorite in order to be completely safe for skin cells.
- Proper pH balance – Some HOCl products have a pH that’s higher or lower than the natural pH of skin cells. Both high and low pH can kill healthy tissue, making these products harsh and irritating when applied to the skin. High pH HOCl formulations will always contain the harmful hypochlorite anions discussed above.
Every Vetericyn Plus wound care product is precisely formulated to be pH neutral. They contain only super-oxidized HOCl without hypochlorite anions. Our products are always safe if ingested, completely non-cytotoxic (won’t kill healthy tissue), and won’t sting, burn, or cause any discomfort.
Wound Care Dos and Don’ts
Animals incur wounds, cuts, and scrapes in many ways, and every pet owner will end up dealing with an injured pet sooner or later. Proper care and cleaning of wounds is vital to prevent more serious problems down the road, such as secondary infections or abscesses.
Here are a few general dos and don’ts pet owners should always keep in mind when caring for a wound5:
- Do consult with your veterinarian – Veterinary care is important any time an animal has an open wound. The vet can suture the wound if needed, provide medication for pain management, and prescribe antibiotics. Bite wounds should always be treated promptly by a veterinarian, since the risk of infection is especially high.
- Do flush the wound – Do this daily or twice daily with the appropriate Vetericyn Plus Wound Care liquid depending on the species of the animal.
- Do apply a thicker protective gel after flushing – Vetericyn Plus Hydrogel or Dressing Gel form a protective layer that keeps the wound moist so it can drain properly and heal from the inside out. Wounds that dry too quickly can harbor bacteria under the surface, leading to serious infections or abscess.
- Do bandage the wound – Bandages keep wounds from drying out, protect from dirt and debris, and prevent further injury. Use a layer of sterile gauze, followed by an absorbent layer of padding, and secure with tape or vet wrap.
- Don’t wrap bandages too tightly – Tight bandages can impede circulation and slow the healing process.
- Don’t use harsh antiseptics – Never use hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, iodine, or other disinfectants that damage healthy skin and slow the healing process.
- Don’t remove bandages quickly – Pulling a bandage off quickly can rip off the scab or cause further injury to the wound. Instead, the bandage must be pulled slowly and carefully. Soaking it with warm water can loosen the bandage and allow it to be removed easier.
Ingredients to Avoid In Animal Wound Care Products
There are some common ingredients in off-the-shelf wound care products that people assume are safe for their pets because they’re safe for humans. Worse, some dangerous ingredients are included in products irresponsibly marketed as pet-safe.
If you see one of these ingredients on the label, steer clear:
- Tea tree oil – It’s soothing for human skin, but it’s highly toxic to cats and dogs.
- Ointment labeled “triple antibiotic” – Some cats have a dangerous and possibly fatal allergy to the antibiotics in ointments made for humans.
- Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide – As noted above, these hurt when applied, harm healthy tissue, and interfere with the healing process. They can also cause vomiting in cats and dogs if ingested.
- Chlorhexidine – This common disinfectant is often recommended for animals, but it is caustic to the skin. It’s especially unsuitable for cats, because it can cause severe reactions if licked, such as ulcers and severe irritation of the mouth and throat.6
For Gentle and Effective Wound Care, Choose Vetericyn
Hypochlorous acid is a powerful advancement in wound care for animals. As a natural substance produced by the body, it can be used without fear of causing irritation, damage to healthy tissue, or adverse reactions. Best of all, it makes wound care relatively painless.
With Vetericyn pet care products, pet owners can trust that they’re getting HOCl that’s expertly formulated to be shelf-stable, non-cytotoxic, and pH neutral.
Vetericyn has everything animal lovers need to treat and prevent common problems like hot spots, pink eye, fungal infections, and everyday cuts and scrapes. From cats and dogs to chickens, iguanas, horses, and everything in-between, we’re dedicated to providing safe, reliable, and research-backed remedies to help all animals thrive.
Reviewed by Solomon Benarroch, Veterinarian
Solomon Benarroch DVM has been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years. His primary focus has been in equine soundness and performance sports medicine. Originally from Winnipeg, Canada he attended college at the Western College of Veterinarian Medicine. And completed an internship at the University of Minnesota. He is the father of three kids and when he isn’t working (which is rare), he enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.
- Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Hypochlorous acid: A review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7315945/
- Cleveland Clinic. What is hypochlorous acid? And why should you use it? https://health.clevelandclinic.org/hypochlorous-acid-skin-care/
- World Health Organization. Hypochlorous Acid for disinfection, antisepsis, and wound care. https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/essential-medicines/2021-eml-expert-committee/expert-reviews/a18_hypochlorous-acid_rev2.pdf?sfvrsn=cc8d0fb3_11
- Wound Source. Pure hypochlorous acid: A primer on ph and wound solutions. https://www.woundsource.com/blog/pure-hypochlorous-acid-primer-ph-and-wound-solutions
- Merck Veterinary Manual. Wound management. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/special-pet-topics/emergencies/wound-management
- Veterinary Practice News. The pros and cons of scrubbing with betadine, chlorhexidine. https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-scrubbing-with-betadine-chlorhexidine/
- Today’s Wound Clinic. Treating chronic wounds with hypochlorous acid disrupts biofilm. https://www.hmpgloballearningnetwork.com/site/twc/articles/treating-chronic-wounds-hypochlorous-acid-disrupts-biofilm