When a dog, who previously had two of his toes removed, came in for a bandage change just before Halloween, veterinary technician Michelle Jaeger knew exactly what she wanted to design on the bandage around his paw. He would sport a skeletal bone—reflecting his missing digits—with an orange wrap.This extra touch of care lightens the mood during pet owners’ hospital visits.
Vet techs are used to wrapping bandages on sick or injured animals, but Jaeger, clinical coordinator in small animal soft tissue and oncologic surgery at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, takes it a step further and creates colorful and detailed designs for her patients’ bandage wraps.
Jaeger first began designing these bandages when an owner’s young son started making color requests for his pet. Eventually, he began to request specific designs and the rest is history. Now, Jaeger has developed a collection of cute, fun, and increasingly intricate bandage designs for her patients.
Jaeger finds most of the inspiration for her designs through the pets’ owners. Sometimes she will base it off what she knows about the owner, or owners will make certain requests for cartoon characters, superheroes, or Illinois-themed designs for game day.
The bandages provide enjoyment for the owners, and Jaeger is happy to take the time to do them.
“The owners are always appreciative of the designs,” Jaeger says. “Caring for extensive wounds can be a very stressful time, not only for the patient, but for the owner as well. The designs may not directly help with the animal’s healing process, but the hope is that the design provides a fun statement and point of discussion for the owners during what can be an otherwise worrisome time.”