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Old 07-07-2009, 10:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cat's incision opened after suture removal

My nephew's cat's incision opened after his cat's stitches had been removed (spay procedure...one testicle had not descended so they needed to open the belly to remove.) He came home to find the cat's intestines on the floor. He immediately took him to vet & vet said "that happens in a small percentage". Well, the cat died this morning & I can't help but think the vet removed stitches too soon & is using that explanation to remove the blame from herself.
Any thoughts?
Thanks.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat's incision opened after suture removal

I am so sorry for your nephew's loss. I would certainly think that no competent vet would remove stitches without checking the integrity of the healed incision. If there was any question that the incision was not fully healed, the stitches should not have been removed. Someone needs to advocate for your nephew if your nephew is not old enough to do so himself. The vet needs to assume responsibility - ethically, morally, and financially - for this death, and someone should see to it that she does.

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Old 07-08-2009, 12:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat's incision opened after suture removal

Welcome, though I am so sorry it is under such sad circumstances...

I would think, if the stitches were in for at least a week they should have been fine at removal? Though if the incision was large, like, *much* larger than a female cat spay incision, that could have been a factor in the integrity of the incision healing process. Also, if the kitty groomed and worried at the incision site after the stitches were removed, that could have also been a crucial role in the failure of the incision site. How soon after the stitches were removed was he found in that condition?
What a horrible, horrible thing to come home to. I cannot imagine.

I would agree with the vet, these things can happen, but only very rarely. Without knowing more I cannot condemn this vet, though I think due to the traumatic nature of the cat's end, it would be a very kind 'goodwill' and humanitarian gesture on her part if she refunded all costs associated with the neutering surgery.

I am so very sorry for your nephew and his kitty.
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat's incision opened after suture removal

I'm sorry this happened to the poor kitty, how awful.

I think I would report this to the state veterinary office and let them determine how common this is. It certainly begs an investigation in my opinion.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat's incision opened after suture removal

I'm so so sorry for the loss. What a horrible way to lose a loved pet.

During my 3 years working in a vet hospital, I never once saw this happen. I had heard a story of how a dog once CHEWED it's stitches out and there were intestines coming through the wound but NEVER that it had happened after stitch removal. I'm not saying it CAN'T in any cases, I just don't think it's something that should be taken lightly by the vet..

Usually, there are atleast 2 layers of sutures - one layer through the muscle and then the the second through the skin. So maybe after the skin sutures were removed, there was a breakdown in the muscle sutures?? And the pressure of the stomach contents (no longer being supported) then broke through the skin?? I'm not sure but I'd definately be questioning it with the vet, and asking her to explain the cause.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat's incision opened after suture removal

I would agree. After 5 years of working in a very busy animal hospital, I never came across such a thing. I am so very sorry for your nephew and his poor kitty.
I'm with doodlebug. I would report it and let them determine whether the vet was negligent or not.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat's incision opened after suture removal

the only times have seen that happen were shortly after surgery, especially if there was free access to the surgery site and the pet was chewing at the sutures.

When was the surgery and how long after were the sutures removed?

Its possible there was a suture reaction to the sutures used internally and for some reason they didn't hold, but I would imagine there would have been a great deal of pain and swelling that would have been obvious when they removed the external sutures.

Was the cat acting fine after surgery?

I am so sorry for his loss, that is such a terrible way to lose a pet!
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cat's incision opened after suture removal

Thank you for the responses & the welcome.
Charlie wore an Elizabethan collar so he couldn't get access to the sutures so I know the healing wasn't interrupted. I'm not sure how long he healed but will ask my nephew. I am in agreement with you all. If there was ANY question as to the integrity of the heal, stitches should've been allowed to remain in for another few days. I believe the onus lies on the vet.

I will forward these responses to my nephew so he can react with some more knowledge. I agree...what a terrible sight to see when he came home to check on Charlie. He met him as a mangy, infected, flea-ridden stray kitten so at least Charlie had a good 7 months before the end. I know the next kitty that finds my nephew will have as good a life : )
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