Optivisor & Novaguard: Two More Alternatives To Elizabethan Collar!

Novaguard, Optivisor, & in background, traditional Elizabethan collar.

I love it when people care for their pets so much they’re not willing to settle for a crappy status quo. Tasi Stampoultzis developed the Optivisor to protect his dog, Billy’s, eye after surgery when it became clear the traditional Elizabethan collar (E collar, lampshade collar, cone collar) was terrible. Elizabethan collars interfere with a pet’s hearing and vision, they make it difficult or impossible to eat or drink, and pets are always running into furniture or walls with them. Stanpoultzis was a contestant on New Inventors and although he didn’t win, I think the Optivisor is a great invention. Don’t miss this video of Billy showing off the Optivisor.

Other alternatives like the Neck’s Best Thing, the BiteNot Collar, and body socks have addressed the need to keep pets from fussing with stitches, bandages, or wounds on their torso, legs, or tail, but so far nothing has addressed keeping a pet from scratching at their face or eyes. The Optivisor and the Novaguard do just that. Cool! It may seem silly to be excited about this, but anyone who has watched their pet suffer from wearing an Elizabethan collar understands.

The Optivisor protects the eyes and the upper part of the face from scratching.

The Novaguard protects the whole face.

Both leave the ears free so the pet can hear, but that also means the ears are not protected, so if your pet is scratching its ears these won’t stop it. (Note: the sizing is for dogs, but I wonder if the smallest size would work for cats.) It looks like they should be available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and soon New Zealand. But, it’s not clear if you can order them. I’ll see what I can find out and let you know. (Thanks to John, who let me know about the Optivisor.)

Check out these other alternatives to Elizabethan collars:

We Like: Brain Twisters Flower Toy

The Brain Twister is a nifty toy from Canine Genius:

  • it’s got a squeaker in each flower
  • it makes a great fetch toy
  • the spiral shape makes it much more interesting—Saffron likes inspecting the whole “stem” and shaking it so it flaps around
  • the inner seam is very well reinforced, so it also makes a great tug-of-war toy, it stretches to 46 in.
  • it also comes in neoprene for a water toy (Note: it appears it’s no longer available in neoprene.)
  • it can be wrapped around your dog’s torso for a game of “how do I get this thing off me”—Saffron loves this game as you can see below

Check out this post on the Plush Leo with Stuffies, also by Canine Genius.

Mod Pod Pet Bed

These beds are groovy, Baby! The Bubble Bed is from the Italian pet design company, b.pet. The beds are made out of acrylic with a chrome base and a good size for cats or smaller dogs. If you’re in the U.S. you can get them from www.kylousa.com, although not all the colors are available. (Note: I have no experience with this company.) They’re pretty fun and functional looking beds.

How To Safely Remove A Tick From Your Pet

It’s time to revisit my least favorite topic—ticks. Blech! While we don’t have a really bad problem with them in the Pacific Northwest, they pose a real danger in other parts of the country. This previous post is packed with information and presents a novel way of removing them from your pets—complete with video.

Parasites are not my favorite topic. In fact they really give me the creeps, but ticks are an important topic and their removal can be tricky. Using tweezers risks breaking off the body of the tick and leaving its head under the skin.(Ugh!) This can lead to infection and scarring. Applying a noxious substance to the tick can be bad if your pet licks it clean or it can lead to the tick depositing more of its disease-carrying saliva in the wound.(Bleh!) Using a match may cause the same thing to happen and just doesn’t seem wise to do on a furry animal.

Despite the “ick-factor” for me, I found good instructions for a safe way to remove the entire tick on the site Instructables.com. There is even a video demonstrating the technique which only requires using your finger to get the tick to crawl out almost immediately.(Gah!) This technique seems especially good for pets that don’t want to hold still. I highly recommend using latex gloves to do this to limit your exposure to the diseases ticks can carry. Don’t squish them between your fingers for the same reason. Instead, put them in a jar filled with rubbing alcohol. Don’t just flush them down the toilet–this won’t kill them. Once you remove the tick, be sure to clean the wound with antiseptic.

Ticks are serious business when it comes to cats, dogs, rabbits, and other companion animals—not to mention the risk to humans. The mere presence of ticks on your pet can cause tick paralysis in your animals.

Ticks carry a number of diseases including:

Prevention is your first defense. We use Frontline Plus on our dog during flea season, so we haven’t ever needed to remove a tick from her.(Yea!) I definitely recommend using a product like Frontline Plus, Revolution for Dogs, or K9 Advantix. (Frontline Plus is the only topical treatment of the three that kills ticks and is safe to use on cats.) Always check with your vet before administering medication to your pets. It isn’t always possible to use one of these topical treatments on animals with tick infestations, especially in weakened, underweight, and/or anemic animals which happens sometimes with neglected and stray animals. The technique above would be very usefull in those instances.