Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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This is just a question of curiosity. A couple of recent members have had to deal with seromas and they had staples. Radar had regular stitches and tension stitches and had absolutely no problems. In fact we were utterly surprised at how clean and smooth the incision has healed.
So I was wondering if anyone has noticed any trends in recovery in regards to using staples over stitches, or vice versa. I know that it’s generally the surgeons call and we have no control over it but it might be an interesting topic to look at.
Connie & Radar
Connie and Radar
When Titan’s seroma burst and they have/are having a hard time keeping one area closed I asked for sticthes. They told me they don’t do stitches. This was one of the nurses they never gave me an explanation. They ended up stitchingthe bottom layer of skin and then staple. About 4 staples need to be redone again. Good question I am going to ask the vet tomorrow. I thought for Titan’s size stitches would be better. I mean the staples look smaller than when you use a stapler at your office.
Heidi and Titan
Oooh, great topic for discussion, thank you!
How observant to make that connection. Interesting.
My surgery was done at a teaching institution. The surgeon gave me stitches, but I had a very minor seroma . But nothing like the big gushing icky ones that we’ve been hearing about lately. The seroma was puffy and scared my pawrents, but my good private practice vet drained it in her office one time with a syringe, and it never came back.
If there are any vets out there, or anyone who knows a vet that can help us with this topic, we’d sure love hear from them.
When I told the nurse that Titan’s seroma burst she said "no biggie we can probably restaple it." I said unless you have a big a** stapler those staples aren’t giong to be holding his skin together.
I said unless you have a big a** stapler those staples aren’t giong to be holding his skin together.
Heidi we are cracking up! I mean poor baby of course, but that is a pretty funny comment.
I find the comment that "we don’t do stitches" somewhat odd and a bit lazy on the part of any vet. They should do what’s needed and not what’s easiest.
My vet explained the type of stitches she used to me. The tension stitches were something I hadn’t seen before. The regular stitches went across the incision but the tension stitches went along the side of the incision lengthwise. These basically kept stretching and lengthwise movement from pulling the incision out of place. The result was quick healing, clean and smooth.
Possibly her use of stitches was dictated by Radar’s size (I’ll ask next time we go in) and this may also be a consideration for vets when doing very large dogs like Titan.
Connie & Radar
18 August 2008
My father is a retired veterinarian & I worked with him for 17 years. He wasn’t a big proponent for staples simply because he preferred sutures. There is less scar tissue build-up & the surgery site looks better. In my experience, vets choose staples out of convenience. It is MUCH faster to staple an incision. Unfortunately, alot of the vets that have graduated in the last 15 years love to use staples. If they refuse to suture, it might be that they are not as comfortable suturing. Or, it could be that they have had a bad experience with an animal who has reacted to sutures. This scenario can be a real nightmare!
I don’t have any experience with comparing sutures to staples with respect to healing & fluid build-up since we never used staples. I personally like suturing the surgery site. I think it looks better, it’s cleaner & your dog is less likely to mess with the incision.
13 June 2008
Titan got some of his sutures removed today. I do think in some areas sticthes would have caused less scar tissue like near his stomach. Because he is a big guy that area dropped a little. I think because he is so big gravity doesn’t help. But he does have some scar tissue there. I think the tension sticthes that Connie and Radar talked about would have helped that heal nicer.
27 July 2008
22 August 2008
I am just weighing in on the sutures vs staples discussion. I think that sutures are definitely more comfortable for the dog, and may be more cosmetic. Staples are much easier to remove than sutures, and don’t cause a skin reaction like some suture material can.
The main reason to use staples is usually because they are faster. Tazzie’s surgery was going on 3 1/2 hours and I knew that sutures would take another half hour at least so I told the specialist to go ahead and staple (it took 5 minutes). I put a padded bandage on her and she seems fine. Also, a small seroma was starting to form so I just removed a few strategic staples and the incison was able to drain on its own without a second surgery.
If you have a preference I would talk to your vet before surgery and see if they can accommodate your request!
Pam (and Tazzie)
Pam & Tazzie, thank you so much for your thoughts, it’s so great to hear what someone who does this for a living thinks.
We could come up with all sorts of ideas about why some vets use staples versus sutures, but never having had to make that decisions ourselves,
we can only guess, and potentially come to some very wrong conclusions.
Thank you for a very unbiased and honest opinion!
23 October 2008
Just piping in here for the sake of statistics….
Calamity has staples – TONS of them – and she has 2 sertomas.
Someone said it’s the surgeon’s choice….I say BS….remember YOU are the one employing the vet. If your vet will not have a conversation with you and listen to you find another one. We all have paid thousands of dollars for our pets, we deserve to be treated like a partner in the care of our pets. We are with our pets 24/7 compared to the very short time any specialty surgeon is (for those of you who have used speciality clinics for your amputations).
Yes, stapling is much quicker, but if it causes complications – no matter how small – discuss this with your vet. Your pet deserves the best of care.
Janie & Calamity http://www.trix.....gspot.com/