Dudley came into the practice in August following a road traffic accident. He had multiple wounds and scrapes to his left hind leg. Fortunately x-rays revealed no broken bones but we still needed to address the skin wounds.
The skin on the leg was grossly contaminated and traumatised and initially it wasn’t clear if all of the tissue would survive. We decided the best option was to try to close the wound, however, we were unable to do this completely without further risking the health of the damaged skin. The remaining open area and other wounds were dressed carefully to try to maximise tissue healing whilst we waited to see how much tissue would survive.
Lower limb wounds are harder to treat as there is very little “spare” skin we can utilise surgically to close over the hole. We therefore have to rely on and encourage the body’s natural healing capacity and prevent infection. A clean surgical wound will typically be healed within 10 days but a wound like this we knew could take weeks. It eventually took five and a half weeks for Dudley’s tissues to fully close and the scar is remarkably small considering the size of the original wound.
We also had the additional complication of a dog that was very fearful of his veterinary practice due to previous painful spinal surgery at another practice. Through careful use of gentle handling and avoiding doing anything painful without first sedating Dudley, we’ve not only managed to avoid worsening his fear, but he actually enjoys coming to the vets now.
Our nursing and vet team have spent a lot of time with Dudley during his visits for repeat dressing changes (often three times a week), giving him a positive experience despite needing to provide treatment for a painful condition. We can see the results of this effort whenever he comes into reception with a waggy tail.