Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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I have a question for you experienced pawparents about how amputation incisions heal. Sparky's incision is about 10 inches long. The amputation was one week ago. The incision is stapled. The top 7 inches are just about completely healed, but the bottom three inches are still slightly red, and just slightly oozy looking. I think the bottom staple might be gone. It's not actually leaking any fluid, but just looks a bit wet.
I will call the vet tomorrow, but would apprectate it if any of you can tell me how long incisions typically take to heal up, and whether they typically heal consistently, or in a top to bottom pattern. Also, would it be ok if I put a little peroxide on the oozy part? When we go for walks and he lies down, this is the part that is on the grass, and no doubt coming into contact with some icky germs.
Valentina's incision healed at the top well before the bottom. The vet said that most dogs are healed enough to get the staples removed in 10-14 days. Valentina did have hers removed after 14 days but she had a whole host of complications and had a drainage tube put in so my experience is different than yours but by the 14th day the top was perfectly healed and the bottom was red and puffy and leaking fluid still. She later developed an infection which now is pretty much gone. Without complications going on I am not sure if it is normal for it to be wet looking. Definitely consulting the vet tomorrow will be the best thing to do to make sure that it is ok and not developing an infection. Valentina was on antibiotics after she came home but she still got an infection and ended up having to go on 4 different ones including an injectable one before it finally started to get better. Hopefully the vet tells you that it is normal and he will end up healing just fine. To protect Valentina's incision I draped a towel around her neck and secured it with a pony tail holder so if she laid down in the grass it would usually kind of lay underneath her so it wasn't coming in contact with the ground. If it wasn't quite under there good enough I would tuck it under her a bit. This also kept her from licking it. You may have to use something small for Sparky. Alot of people have put Tshirts on their dogs. Maybe a little kids one would help. Hope all turns out well! Good luck with your consult!
Oh and I have read to never try to clean it yourself or apply anything to the incision without consulting your vet first. My vet gave me a special antiseptic to clean Valentina's with. And I think that sometimes things like peroxide can irritate the delicate tissues. So be sure to check first.
Our dog, Capone, had a pressure bandage on until he went back to the vet to have the staples removed. I did nothing with the wound during this time nor was instructed to. The only thing my vet suggested was to apply hot compresses to an area that was protruding from his bandage. This area was a seroma which resolved in due time. I would definitely discuss this matter with your vet. We also kept a t-shirt on our boy too to help with extra support and protection.
Thanks everyone. Your suggestions are very helpful. He is now wearing a t-shirt and the licking is far less. Another inch from the bottom of the incision has cleared up , so it's just the last 2 inches or so that has a bit of redness. I think it was the licking (when the cone was off) that was causing the trouble. I will call the clinic in any event. Thanks again for your help.
25 April 2007
Do not use peroxide! We recently talked with a surgeon at CSU who strongly suggests never using anything to clean directly on the incision area. Warm water can be used to clean around it. Peroxide will kill the cells trying to heal, and ointments will prohibit proper “breathing” of healing wounds. Most dogs get stitches/staples out at around 14 days. The bottom of many incisions will often take a bit longer to heal since the fluid flows downhill.
Yes, generally you are not supposed to clean the incision but due to the large amount of fluid that Valentina had there was a buildup of the sticky fluid accumulation all around the area of the incision so my vet instructed me to use a special cleaning solution that he gave me each day to clean off all that junk. I did not actually directly clean the incision. Glad that another inch of Sparky's incision has gotten better! And glad that the Tshirt is helping. Valentina's appears to be all healed on the outside and there is not a drop of drainage but she will still try to lick it sometimes. So when I am out of the room I still keep the towel draped around her. Hope Sparky's incision continues to get better each day!
26 July 2008
Radar's healed that way too (top first). It looked to me like on the bottom end of the incision the skin was folded under and the fold is what took the longest to heal.
Other than drainage which is most likely normal I would just watch for heat. If the area around the incision if very hot it could be a sign of infection.