This wound looks worse than it is.

Kitty cutI saw this little kitty today for a very nice lady who wanted a second opinion.  Her cat received a big wound in the left flank about six days ago.  Her regular veterinarian sutured the laceration and sent her home with antibiotics.  That seems like a good plan.

She was upset because the wound is opening up now and it just doesn't look good to her.  She was even afraid it might open up and let the cat's "guts fall out".  That would be bad, I think you'll agree.

A little questioning reveals that the kitty seems to be feeling well and eating well.  That's good.  No fever when I checked her temperature.

LacerationA closer look at the wound lets us see that while it is open, there are no pockets of fluid around it and the wound is not deep.  The exposed raw tissue looks pretty healthy.  There are a few stitches present, but many appear to be missing.  And what's that black stuff in there?

I've talked about crushing injuries time and again (here and here).  I really believe what has happened here is that the wound edges were damaged in the initial injury.  The other veterinarian sewed it together nicely, but the tissue he sewed died.  Then it started falling off (the black stuff is dead skin).  Really, for that scenario, this looks pretty good.

The owner and I discussed our options.  I could certainly have made fresh edges on the wound and scraped it out and re-sewed it.  It would look nice, and I'm pretty sure it would have healed well.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that the cat would be any more comfortable and heal any faster than if I just put a bandage on to protect the tissue from drying and other trauma.  So that's what we did.

The owner was quite convinced that the other doctor had done the worst job in the world.  She hasn't seen a gazillion wounds like I have. 

The other doctor did what was technically appropriate, but he did do a poor job in letting the owner know what to expect.  Some of these things are not going to get totally fixed on the first visit.  She could have been happy with the first doctor with a little more communication.

Don't feel bad about asking your veterinarian for more information and clarification.  They won't think you're stupid – they'll just realize that they haven't done their job of explaining as well as they need to.

2 thoughts on “This wound looks worse than it is.

  1. Sharon says:

    I totally agree with you but with this stipulation: some vets really ARE stupid. Some do not even know how to treat an URI. Been there, done that. I totally agree with you though: question, question, question. A good vet will realize that they need to explain more, a bad vet will expose him/herself

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