Author Topic: Surgery recovery is taking too long. The wound is open again.  (Read 606 times)

Offline saori90

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Surgery recovery is taking too long. The wound is open again.
« on: October 02, 2016, 02:29:43 PM »
I am really upset and worried I made a mistake having my rat's tumor removed.
We noticed the tumor as it was already quite big. I have no idea how we missed it. It honestly feels like it grew overnight as I take my rats out of a cage everyday. Anyway the vet said to remove it so of course we decided to do so as our rat is in overall good health shape. So we spent so much money on it ( like OMG! How will I make rent next month :()  but the surgery seemed to go well and our lovely boy was full of energy as soon as he came home. The vet said to keep him and his brother seperate for few days. No problem. So the next day he opened his wound. He was in so much pain! My heart broke. We went to the vet the next day and she had him restitched and gave him  a plastic pet cone (Elizabethan collar) ! And she said we have to keep him in it and separate from his brother  for 10 days! 10 days! People online say how those collars are so terrible and that rats really suffer in them. And he did suffer :( He is so miserable in a cone away from company, away from his cage. He can't eat his regular food as it is small and he can't reach his hands to his mouth so he can't eat properly. So we need to give him other food and feed him. He can't groom himself either and looks like a mess. We started removing the collar for few minutes when looking at him so he can clean   himself but that doesn't help much.  So basically he is so miserable but we decided we have no choice but keep him in the cone for the 10 days.

So today is day 10! 10 days from being restitched. 12 days post surgery. So 12 miserable days with lots of medicine. We removed the cone but still left him seperate from his brother.  An hour later and his wound is open!  There is blood and he seems to be uncomfortable. I can't believe it is happening again! Its not as bad as 10 days ago obviously but it is still quite scary looking. I can't believe it is not healed yet! People online write how rats heal quickly and how week should be more than enough. We are going to a vet tomorrow morrning and I don't know what to do.

Have it resttiched and keep him in the cone for 20 days this time? What time of quality of life is it?  He is miserable. I thought : he just needs to suffer through for several days and he will be fine. But I just can't do that again :(
I honestly wonder if having a surgery was a right call. I never imagined recovery would take so long. Certainly didn't think I would have to keep the rats seperate for more that 2-3 days. 
I really think the vet will just restitch him and tell us to keep him in a cone for another 10 days or so...
I am so upeset :(


Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: Surgery recovery is taking too long. The wound is open again.
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2016, 08:43:32 PM »
Im so sorry. Ive had many rats go through surgery and I keep them separate from their siblings so the stitches have a better chance at staying in, although it seems they inevitably get chewed out anyway. Even rats who have taken their own stitches out within a day or two have never had to go back to get restitched. They usually are okay to heal on their own with antibiotics to prevent infection as the wound is closing. Im a bit surprised that after 10 days he is still not healed well enough to not open his wound, but depending on how it looks, it might be fine to just leave it. A check up with the vet is definitely a good idea.

Good luck to you and your boy. I think you made the right choice with surgery. Im sorry his time recovering has been long, but I hope its almost over. Sending good thoughts for the vet appointment tomorrow.  :heart:
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Offline mamarat2

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Re: Surgery recovery is taking too long. The wound is open again.
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 11:28:46 AM »
How's the sutured area look?  If he has swelling issues in that area and it's not healing, he could be having a reaction to the sutures.  I have had a few rats with tumors removed and they chewed the stitches out, our vet opted not to restitch and let it heal on it's own.
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Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: Surgery recovery is taking too long. The wound is open again.
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 12:11:57 PM »
Is he on a pain killer? I continue to be amazed how many vets don't do this for rats. If not, that could be part of the misery. If he is, is it one of the ones with a side effect of gnawing? They may need to change types.

So sorry you are both going through this.
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Offline saori90

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Re: Surgery recovery is taking too long. The wound is open again.
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2016, 02:58:10 PM »
Thank you for your advice. Unfortunately the vet visit didn't go well.
The vet said that the wound absolutely needed restitched and that it was infected! Which could be why it didn't heal ? I am so confused. He was on constant pain medication and antibiotic. After the surgery we went to the vet twice for check up and there didn't seem to be any indication of infection or anything. She said to keep him in a cone, keep on giving him pain medication and antibiotics and keep the rats separated. I am so confused to why this wound hasn't healed. I wish I took a picture before they restitched it.
My guess is that maybe the wound was already infected the 2nd time they restitched him and that kept it from healing? Maybe the other vet didn't notice or I don't know... I am so confussed. Basically she also had to like trim the wound so almost 2 weeks after the surgery we are on square 1!


Offline BigBen

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Re: Surgery recovery is taking too long. The wound is open again.
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2016, 06:22:46 PM »
I'm so sorry you have to go through all this; you sound frustrated.

The good news is that rats heal quickly, so unless the wound becomes infected yet again, it should only be two or three days before the wound seals.  They usually wait about ten days to remove stitches/staples just in case.  It does happen that surgical sites can develop abscesses, usually at the site of one of the stitches, and this is probably what happened to your poor boy.  Abscesses are hard to treat with antibiotics, because there is no blood supply to them.  (They are the body's way of isolating an infection.)

I don't know about the collar and isolation, but I am not a vet.  I can say, however, that the rats I've had experience with haven't bothered their incisions after the first night, when they were still high on buprenorphene (pica and biting are known side-effects of this opioid).  The other rats in the cage have never troubled the incision, either.  Rats, being very social animals, usually also heal better when they are with their cagemates.  They tend to pine when separated from them.

If it were me, and I had the time to keep an eye on the patient, I would put your boy back in the cage with the others, and leave off the cone or collar.  But if you trust your vet and have confidence in his or her expertise and judgement, then it might be good to follow the advice you were given.
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