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second surgery

My pug was recently attacked by another dog. He had a surgery to clean the puncture wounds and place a drain for fliuds. the attacked area was th e neck and ear on the right side. The cut made for the procedure is very long, from ear to below his jaw.  Upon followup exams he has developed hard skin to the touch and the vet says he may require yet another surgery to remove possibly dead tissue. Is this normal or the result of an inexperienced vet? We were not told to watch for this kind of reaction and followed all instructions given to us. He is currently on antibiotics and occasional pain pills as needed.

Thank you for your time

Eric, Ruperts dad
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I am so sorry that Rupert was injured and hopeful that his problems fully resolve.  To answer your question...it is not unusual for pets or people to require additional surgery following a traumatic injury such as a bite wound.  The canine teeth of a dog (the fangs) often cause what appears on the surface to be a puncture wound with a variable amount of tearing of the skin. What can't be seen, is the often extensive damage that these powerful teeth, that curve backwards can do to underlying tissue.  Even the most skilled surgeon can't anticipate if this underlying tissue will recover well or become devitalized (die) and require additional surgery to remove it.  The drain was a very appropriate first step.  The teeth can introduce bacteria under the skin that can fester and cause an abscess to form.  Antbiotics and thorough flushing of the wound can't always prevent an abscess from forming.  It is also possible that the hard tissue that you are feeling is not infected tissue but rather scar tissue that has formed secondary to the trauma incurred from the bite.  

I would suggest that you voice your concerns to your veterinarian.  Hot packing the area is ofte of assistance. You can apply warm compresses to the affected area for 5 minutes 2 to 3 times per day. This can help to bring a potential absces to a head or spead the resolution of inflammed but otherwise healthy tissue.

Talk to your veterinarian and give Rupert some time.  

I wish you the best...
Dr. Bernadine
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