01 November 2008

Still Minding the Dog

Well, Max's early phase of recovery went better this time: he soon remembered how to poo and wee in the garden - something he would normally never consider an option - and we got his stitches out on day 10. The removal of the stitches and the ensuing couple of days are the subject of this communication; the squeemish should look away now (no, there are no pictures, that was a joke).

We went to the vet's on Thursday with a dog who was doing very well and was walking fairly comfortably on his leg after not using it much at all for the first few days after surgery. In we went, with Max's usual, 'I know where we are! This way! Follow me!' attitude. Once inside, we got his predictable, 'What have you brought me here for?' stance, his ears down, his tail between his legs, his legs quivering. We sat waiting long enough for Max to become resigned to his predicament and then the nurse called us through.

The wound looked pretty good on removal of the dressing, and the stitches came out fairly quickly and easily with not much objection from Max. He was pleased to be heading out of the consulting room so soon, and amused himself by saying hello to a Weimarama in reception while we procured worming tablets (for him, of course).

We went outside to the car and I lifted him into the back (he's not allowed to jump in while his bone mends and the leg is meanwhile held together by a small metal plate) and sat with him. It was at that point that I noticed my hand was wet. A quick inspection showed me that his wound was leaking serous fluid; it was odourless and only slightly pink, demonstrating the absence of infection and no serious bleeding. Max was a bit confused by our response, which was to lift him back out of the car and to take him back into the vet's.

It appeared that the leakage was from the suture wounds that were now open, having been plugged hitherto by the sutures. There was quite a large seroma (a serous-filled cavity) around the site of the surgery, and the nurse and vet spent a bit of time applying gentle pressure to express as much of the fluid as possible before putting a new dressing over the scar and letting us go again. No-one seemed too worried at what they saw.

Unfortunately, since then Max seems to have been quite subdued and uncomfortable, hardly using his wounded leg. I suspect that all the manipulation to get the fluid out has aggravated his tender tissues and made the wound quite sore again. The wound was dry the next day so we were quite confident that a satifactory resolution was emerging.

This morning, a different picture presented itself. The wound was leaking again, and his leg looks as though he has been licking it during the night. There is a small hole through which the fluid is leaking. I'm not sure if it is a suture wound or first indication that the wound has begun to break down as a result of the fluid inside and Max's attention from the outside. Max is still reluctant to walk on his leg. We dried the wound and then dressed it to keep it clean and dry and to discourage licking, and plan to keep a close eye on things and return to the vet's early in the week if there is further deterioration or no improvement.

We now have a quiet, house-tied weekend ahead of us just when we thought we might be getting a bit more freedom, although my beloved has gone shopping for the day to try and shake off the stir-craziness induced by the last week of confinement. It's my turn to go loopy today... Max is also looking a bit sorry for himself and will probably feel even more so when he discovers that he has to sleep with his lampshade on again...


  1. Get well soon, little brother.
    (I'm not sure if it's simply the comment moderation that ate my last comment (a couple of days' back) or if I didn't get through to the end of the process.) Anyway, Max should read this and know that he's in my prayers and stuff.

  2. Your comment is there Tim, attached to the previous posting. Max says, 'Thanks. I'm feeling a bit better today and have just had lots of fun chewing a stick.'

  3. I left that one ages ago.
    Nope, having gone through the posting process with the previous comment (the one above, not below), it was definitely me screwing up posting.

    Max, I'm glad to hear that you're doing better - keep up the good work.