Thursday, August 11, 2011

538. Z-plasty for a Syrian hamster?

This Syrian hamster was bitten through the vertical grate which separated two hamsters. A rotten-flesh smell leaked from a big black abscess on the left elbow. The abscess was drained by Vet 1 and the wound stitched up.

Two days later, the hamster came back as the stitches had broken down.

1. Contaminated wounds are best not stitched. Give the hamster antibiotics for 3-7 days to get rid of the bacteria and to let the skin return to normal.

2. In this hamster, stitching the lower end to the upper end of the big wound will not permit healing as there is a high skin tension. This will lead to stitch breakdown.

3. Z-plasty and stitching up small areas in front of the elbow is one option.

4. I advised surgery but the owner did not accept. The chances of full cover of the skin wound are not 100% and the owner must be informed properly.

In dog bite wounds around this elbow, Z-plasty ought to be done as such big exposed areas are easily infected and itchy. It takes more than 3 months and does not heal as can be seen in one case handled by Vet 1 and observed by me earlier. In this case, the owner did not give permission for surgery and prefer simple nursing and treatment and that is where the vet's hands are tied.

It is not wise to keep such dogs for over 3 months inside the veterinary surgery to do simple nursing and treatment if owners do not want to permit surgery because keeping a dog hospitalised for such a long time is not good for the poor dog. The owner has to bear the responsibility of caring for the dog.

5. As for this Syrian hamster, I don't know what happen as the owner did not return for follow up. I prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory oral and advised daily cleaning of the wound. I will be most surprised if this hamster survived the bacterial infection from the environment. But miracles do happen and the wound may close by granulation.


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