Elsie - treatment of reopened, large post surgical wound

Abscesses · Mites · Fungus · Lumps
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Hilary Holmes

Post   » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:41 pm

Elsie is an 18 month old intact female. In May of this year I noticed a very large mammary tumour. This was removed by an "exotic" vet at the local veterinary hospital. The wound was quite tight to begin with, as the vet had removed a substantial amount of tissue, but we hoped some of this was swelling, and it would settle with time. Which it did.

A week post -op I noticed she was nibbling at the wound, and I assumed it was healing and a bit itchy. I saw there was a small area of the sutures which had opened, and there was a small hole in the wound. I felt she should see a vet again, to have it glued. We were away from home, so not able to see the vet who had done the surgery, but I was able to get her in to see a local vet who I had used previously and been quite impressed with. I made an appointment for that afternoon.

However, when I picked her up the entire wound had opened, and even though I am a RN, I was horrified, It was really shocking. The vet operated immediately, and found a huge abscess deep within the area where the mammary tissue had been. She had quite possibly been in pain and I had misread the signs.

The vet had to remove more skin, so the wound was under more tension than ever, with her poor genital area all "cock-eyed" and swollen. I have no idea how the poor pig was able to pee. We saw the "exotic" vet a couple of days later, who was very concerned about how tight and swollen everything was. He even felt he may have to operate again, once everything was healed, in order to get everything back in the correct place.

Sadly, 2 days later we were almost back to square one. From having a small hole in the wound, it rapidly progressed to a large one, but not as dramatic as previously. Elsie was seen by the vet who had done the surgery and admitted, with a view to having surgery the next day. In the end, the vet decided that this may not be a bad thing, as it had taken the strain off the sutures , so the wound was left open to heal by "second intention". We used some Manuka honey on the wound, which seemed to help.

Finally, after 3 weeks, the wound was almost healed. There was a very large scab covering it, which I assume held the wound together. Now, that area is completely healed, the hair has grown back, and apart from having only one nipple, she is good as new.

During the whole time, she had to be supplemented with syringe feeding, was on antibiotics, analgesics and pro-biotics. She also had an episode of bloat, which needed ranitidine and Infacol. It was an enormous effort to get that wound healed, and to support her little body whilst she was getting better and the wound was healing. Without the support of this site, and the wonderful advice I was given when I was feeling completely overwhelmed at times, and for BamBam bringing offerings of fresh grass, I fear there may have been a completely different outcome.

I apologise for the length of this post, but my aim has been to show that a pig can battle back from awful problems, just as sweet Elsie has done.

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