Is animal saliva antiseptic?
Stories about pioneers, travelers, or hunters who made it through their injuries because certain wild animals happened to lick their open wounds. Many cultures believe this. There is even a French saying, “Langue de chien, langue de médecin,” which translates to “A dog’s tongue is doctor’s tongue.”
We’ve all heard that a dogs lick can be antiseptic but is it really or is it–like so many things–an old wives tale.
Are there components in animal drool that can kill bacteria in wounds?
What you need:
• Fresh saliva from either your cat your dog (some dogs drool a lot; cats drool sometimes as well when they like the way you pet or massage them)
• 5 petri dishes that have sterile agar medium
• Non-pathogenic, freeze-dried Staphylococcus bacteria found on the epidermis
• Sharpies for labeling the petri dishes
*** There should be adults present to handle the bacterial cultures
How you do it:
a. Inoculate one petri dish with few grains of the Staphylococcus bacteria. Do not use too much. Label it as “Control 1”. Set the petri dish aside.
b. Inoculate the second petri dish with ¼ teaspoon of your pet’s saliva. Label the petri dish as “Control 2”.
c. Inoculate the third petri dish with the Staphylococcus bacteria and a little of your pet’s saliva. Label the petri dish as “Sample A”.
d. With your bare hands, rub your hair, your pet, and then the grass in your garden. Just make your hands as saturated with germs as possible.
e. Take another petri dish and press your hand lightly on the agar for a second or two. Label the petri dish as “Sample B”.
f. Repeat step “d” and add a bit of your pet’s saliva on the areas where you pressed your hand. Label the petri dish as “Sample C”.
g. Isolate the petri dishes and put them somewhere in the room where they cannot be disturbed.
h. Check the petri dishes after 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours, and 48 hours.
i. Compare the size of the bacterial colonies in every dish. See if the petri dishes that contain your pet’s saliva reduced the bacterial colonies.
j. Learn about lysozyme, opiorphin, IgA (immunoglobulin A) and peroxidases, which are present in the saliva of animals. These components are known to heal wounds because of their antiseptic properties.