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Beetlecat April 12th, 2007 12:10 AM

Lump Surgery Aftercare in dogs - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden
I am currently caring for an austrailan cattle dog that had surgery couple weeks ago to remove a tumor from her left hip. A large piece of skin was removed along with the lump and the rest was pulled together and stitched up.

The stitches pulled themselves apart about 10 days after the operation and the dog was taken back to the vet to have new stitches put in. Now they are tearing again.

There is a nickle-sized open wound where the stitches pulled apart, but we've decided against having them put back in since it seems like there's just not enough skin left to properly cover the area where the tumor was removed. We are just healing it as an open wound while trying to prevent it from tearing further.

The dog is totally housebound except for short excursions outside to go pee. She has perscribed antibiotics and we are giving her a baby asprin each day for the pain. She wears a collar to prevent her from licking at the wound, but the owner made her a loose-fitting 'pant leg' to protect that area in case she squirms past the collar.

Is there anything else I should/can do as far as aftercare goes? We all want her healed as quickly and painlessly as possible :sick:

TeriM April 12th, 2007 01:21 AM

I would give the vet a call and get their advice. Perhaps if it has healed to a smaller size you could use that skin glue stuff but I would definately check with your vet before doing that.
Good luck :) .

SableCollie April 12th, 2007 12:59 PM

If there is not enough skin to close the wound, a skin graft might have to be done.

Obviously with an open wound, there is chance of debris getting inside, or infection, or the death of skin surrounding the wound.

You should check with the vet and see if a skin graft is possible.

petdr April 18th, 2007 12:02 PM

Try to minimize heavy activity/exercise; wound healing will take approximately six weeks. Limit licking/scratching/self-trauma to the healing region, continue to use oral antibiotics.

Unfortunately, this type of delayed wound healing is all too common in vet medicine. In human surgery for tumors, there are two teams: the first team removes the tumor and does not care how extensive the surgery is, as long as the tumor is totally resected. The second team comes in to repair the defect.

The reason for the two team approach is to keep surgeons from removing too little of the tumor site because of fear that too much tissue is removed, and adequate closure can not be done as a result. The second team is usually a skilled plastic surgery team specialized in difficult/complicated closure.Tissue grafts/skin flaps/etc. are all used. There is much preplanning done to expand tissue (saline implants placed weeks or months earlier under the skin) before
surgery is done. Not much of this is done in vet surgery because of the
expense, therefore, these delayed wound closures continue to be a problem.

Dr. Van Lienden

Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124

Adogsday April 18th, 2007 12:27 PM

My dog same problem
My dog just had the same problem about a month ago, he had 3 very large tumors removed from his under arm, ribs, and chest. After the first 10 days he had to be brought to his vet again and she moulded a body cast over him, he was ripping his drainage tubes out and holes were present, we did not add stitches. After a week or so, cast came off and it healed up nicely, then about a week later stitches (the ones that were left!) were removed. It does take quite some time for these major operations to heal. My dog wore a t-shirt for weeks to keep him from scratching an licking. You really do have to limit their activity, and it was very hard knowing he was in pain and I could not do anything about it. He is now starting to go for walks and on the way to recovery.

argieshark December 14th, 2007 11:29 AM

We just had the same thing done to a rhodesian ridgeback. our vet did not splint the wound, and the stitches opened up and now there is a 2 in diameter hole. The surrounding skin is not connected to the underlying muscle fascia...which is necessary to facilitate wound healing/closure/ we're going to immobilize the leg with a splint as best we can in hopes that the tissues will start to reconnect and facilitate the hole closing from the edges of the wound towards the center via epitheliazation and subsequent scar formation/granulation of the fascia/epithelium...we just don't know how long it will take...

assuming we accomplish the objective of drastically limiting leg/skin movement, how long should we expect this process to take?

Thanks in advance.

argieshark December 17th, 2007 09:09 PM

I've since been back to our vet and they tell me it will take over 2 months for his skin to 'contract' back over the wound hole. This will be tough...if his tumor cells grow aggressively and prevent wound closure, we will probably elect to amputate his leg.

Longblades December 18th, 2007 06:10 PM

We had a similar problem with a smallish lump on our girl's elbow. The first surgery was successful but the lump came back, some years later, and we had your problem. The opening was certainly bigger than a nickle, more like a big loonie. Our Vet apologised profusely and said they had made a mistake by using a laser cutting tool. The skin in the area was already stretched a bit from the first surgery and the laser tool slightly cauterizes the edges of the opening. The two things together were the reason, we were told, the skin edges did not adhere. Along with the fact it is practically impossible for a dog to keep absolutely still and not move an elbow. Our Vet performed yet another surgery, cutting the edges of the skin back even further but using a scapel this time and then the edges did heal together.

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