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Your pet's incision - Part 1

The appearance of your pet’s incision can be a source of stress, unless you know what to expect! Here are some very common “things” that you may see with your pet’s incision and what they may be caused by

 

  • Bruising nearby, but remote from, the incision – At the time of surgery, your pet has their surgical site covered in sterile drapes, which are held in place by “towel clamps”. These sharp little things, on occasion, can hit a small blood vessel in the skin and lead to a big bruise. Like other bruises, these resolve gradually over time. 

  • Bruising all around the incision – Every incision will have some bruising and for many of our surgeries a long-lasting local anesthetic (numbing medication) is infused around your pet’s incision to make sure they are comfortable in the immediate period following surgery. This infusion of numbing medication is administered through several injections, which very commonly cause bruising all around the incision that lasts approximately one week. 

  • Swelling of the limb below the incision – This is especially common following knee surgery, where there is a delayed swelling that shows up 2-3 days after surgery and appears to settle at their hock (ankle joint). This swelling appears to be very soft and “blubbery”, and it resolves after one week most often. 

  • Red colored discharge from the incision – Despite this having the appearance of blood, it rarely is. This thin, red-tinged, fluid is “inflammatory fluid” that the body produces after surgery, and it can occasionally ooze from the incision in small volumes. You should take a photo and send it to Dr. Lynch or his nurse if this is noticed so that we can monitor it and ensure it resolves.  

 

What does a normal incision look like?

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