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  #1  
Old 18th July 2009, 08:51 PM
Kimber's Avatar
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Tearing Out Staples

My 5 year old boxer Runt recently had ACL surgery. The surgery site was closed with 13 staples, and looked really great, and he was healing well. I kept an e-collar on him whenever he couldn't be watched closely (like at night when we were sleeping), and also when my husband and I went to work. It worked great until last Thursday evening. He was just a little over one week post surgery, and I had only worked a half-day, but upon returning home we discovered that Runt had removed ALL of his staples, as well as the internal sutures. His knee was gaping wide open, and fortunately there was not a lot of blood (a little on his blanket and on the e-collar). We called our vet immediately, and rushed him in. Since it was after hours, it of course was considered an emergency "after hours" call. We had to leave him overnight (as well as a second night), and the vet had to do an additional surgery to remove dead tissue, clean up the area, and re-staple the wound (this time with 25 staples). The emergency visit and repair work cleaning and reclosing the original surgery site ended up costing more than the original ACL surgery. We picked up our boy today, and have a larger e-collar on him this time (it's one we had from his first ACL surgery three years ago), so we're hoping it helps. I'm afraid to leave him until he's healed, for fear he'll tear out his staples again. During the first ACL surgery (to his other knee), our vet glued the surgery site closed, but with our current vet, staples are the method used (we live in a different state than where we lived during the first ACL surgery). We had no problems with the glue.

Any suggestions on what we can do to keep him from fussing with the staples? We got some of that stuff from the vet that you put on wounds to make them taste awful, to deter your dog from messing with them. Also, I know that with this same larger e-collar, Runt was able to get all of his bandages off his leg in the past (three months ago he had a tumor removed from his other leg, and removed his bandages with the e-collar on), and the vet wasn't able to get Runt to keep his bandages on during the last day of his visit there either. I'm adjusting my work schedule for the week (working only half-days), and getting my mother to come over to our house and dog-sit Runt if necessary. The vet suggested putting him in a small kennel or confining him to a small room, but we've tried that in the past and it hasn't worked. Otherwise Runt is a VERY well behaved dog. He just hates sutures!
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  #2  
Old 19th July 2009, 04:40 PM
Murp.mm's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
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Oh your poor baby. My girl just recently had ACL surgery as well. She 5 too. Thank God her stitches are on the inside. One managed to get loose and Ms. wasn't long before she pulled it out. I know if hers were on the outside I'd have the same problem. I don't know what to tell you apart from putting that nasty stuff around the incision as you are already doing. Have you tried giving him a kong with peanut butter in it and maybe some treats stuffed in it to keep him occupied for awhile. I know you can't do that all day but if you're home with him you might come up with some ways to distract him but I think we need to be a genius when it comes to boxers.
The surgery is expensive enough without having to spend more money to get his knee restitched. That's a bumer!!

Apart from that how is he doing? It'll be a month on Tuesday since Ms. Ali's surgery and she's not putting full weight on her leg yet. She does keep her paw down quite a lot but if she wants to get somewhere fast her paw goes up but I must say compared to before surgery she's dong great. We saw our vet last week and he said everything is fine and healing well. Her leg is stiff when she wakes up too. I'm guessing that's normal. She so used to being active that it's getting harder to keep her still and when we have visitors she goes nuts. I guess I just want her to be her old self again which I know will take quite awhile. Having a poodle that barks at everything and gets her going in off no help.

Wish I could help you out but Ms. Ali wouldn't even keep that e-collar on after having a lump removed from her front paw a few years ago. I'm sure someone on this board will have some ideas as what to do. Best of luck.
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(Mom to Ali, flashy fawn boxer 2004-03-15); Bailey male mini-poodle 2002-04-09 (Nanny to Abby-shep/lab mix rescue- blind -2005)
Mr. Sook - Sept 20, 1993- Oct 4/08
Waiting at the bridge RIP sweetie

Last edited by Murp.mm; 19th July 2009 at 04:43 PM.

 
  #3  
Old 20th July 2009, 02:42 PM
Kimber's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Murp,

Thanks for your suggestions and help. I was able to alter my work schedule so that someone is home with Runt for the entire week, either myself or my husband. Thank goodness my employer is easy to work with!

Also, I talked to our vet this afternoon. He's been on vacation, and it was the other doctor in his practice that did the emergency work on Runt (he did a good job). Anyway, our vet said that he was going to take a good look at the bill today and reduce it accordingly, and told me not to worry as it wouldn't be that expensive. He told me about a dog he worked with in the past, and this dog did the same thing following surgery, and pulled his staples out four separate times. He said he hasn't seen it happen often, but it does happen. His biggest concern was that Runt is ok, and told me at the first sign of anything not looking "right" to call him immediately. I tell you, I'd recommend our vet to anyone.

Mr. Runt has been behaving himself very well, but it helps to keep a watchful eye on him so he keeps those staples in!

 
  #4  
Old 20th July 2009, 04:02 PM
Murp.mm's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
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Thank goodness your vet sounds sooo reasonable!! That shows he really cares about what he's doing and not just for the money. We leave our babies in their hands and we have to believe they are being up front with us. Sure sounds like your vet is doing that without question. Glad to hear that Runt is coming along and I know he's a good boy cause my girl is good even when she's bad and truly that's not a lot now that she's five. She's so excitable when anyone visits that I wonder if she's not hurting her knee. Anyway I'm glad to hear that your boy is being good and not at his stitches and you've got a good employer. Having someone there with him all week will certainly make a difference. I know I'd need to be here with Ms. Ali full time since her surgery if I wasn't retired so that helps a lot. Keep us updated on his progress. Take care.

Last edited by Murp.mm; 20th July 2009 at 04:07 PM.