Incision indecision: Evil infections and hideous hernias in pet medicine
“My complication had a complication.” That recurrent line in Terry Gilliam’s brilliant flick, Brazil, has been popping up a little too often over the past few days. Here’s my list:
1-A non-healing ear hematoma on a severely allergic, mixed breed dog who also suffers from chronic ehrlichiosis. The sutures are perpetually infected. The ear is horribly inflamed. I’d be at my wit’s end if it weren’t for the fact that “Subwoofer’s” last ear hematoma, two years ago, took ten weeks to finally resolve.
“Tincture of time” is what finally cured it. That, and a lot of bandaging, cage rest and re-culturing for antibiotic therapy tweaking.
2-A diabetic Schnauzer (well-controlled) who recently suffered a fungal nodule (diagnosable only on removal and biopsy) on his toe. So you know, toes are the worst places to incise.
The minimal skin left to cover the wound, the weight exerted on the sutures, the propensity for self-trauma, the problems inherent in bandaging…
It’s always a nightmare—and this was no exception. I have to change the bandage every other day—and this’ll likely go on for a couple of weeks. Thank God his owner’s a stellar client—otherwise, I’d think I’d slit my wrists.
3-The worst…a wholly preventable one. A spay on a stray mom whose six month old kittens were also spayed and neutered at the same time. I cautioned the owner to keep everyone quiet—and separated if they insisted on playing too hard. Everyone had their E-collars on when they left.
Unfortunately, mom’s incision opened up beneath the surface, occasioning a hideous hernia. It wasn’t my fault, though. Upon seeing her for her suture removal ten days later it became apparent that her mammary glands were once again full of milk and her teats looked raw.
Sure, I never thought to tell the owner not to let the (grown) kittens suckle her. I just thought that kind of knowledge was common sense. How would you like a vigorous suckle from a creature nearly your own size right next to your recent abdominal incision?
Damn those cats and their fertility! Damn those clueless owners and their lack of common sense!
It’s been a rough week…but don’t worry, I’ll recover.