Dogs Community
10.3k Members
539893 tn?1213841330

Tumor removal stitches not healing

Hello and thank you so for spending your time helping all of us with our questions! My dog had two big bumps removed from her stomach while under anesthesia to have her teeth cleaned.  I have 2 questions, the first more pressing:

1) Both wounds were stitched up and have had trouble healing.  They went back and forth--would look like they were healing then would become red and angry looking again.  No weeping or pus, just very red and irritated looking, and occasionally swollen up.  I took her back to the vet after a few days and they said to apply a warm compress 2 times a day for 15 minutes, and to do another week of antibiotics (Clavomax).  I also got the E-collar in case she was licking the wounds, though I never saw her do it--when I was around.  One of the wounds now looks okay, like it's on it's way to healing, but the larger one is still a very angry red.  I'm very worried.  When just the warm compresses and the oral antibiotics weren't working I also trying drying the area after the compresses (warm, wet towel) with a warm blow dryer and then applying triple antibiotic cream, but of course it just rubs off when she lays down. So tonight I put pure lavendar oil on it, since that is a natural antibiotic and won't rub off.  She's extremely unhappy with the E-collar.  I'm concerned this infection will somehow spread and make her very sick.  So, right now it is very red.  No swelling, no pus or weeping, but no sign of drying up and healing like the other wound.  Although it's not wet, it's not dry in the same way as the wound that is healing, either; it just looks more moist and tender.

2) In the future, if she gets these big bumps/tumors, should I just leave them alone if they're not bothering her?  I thought it would be good to have them removed in case they were cancerous.

Thank you!  Lori & Joyner
5 Responses
305217 tn?1218305908
As far as the incision not healing right, if there is no swelling/puss and it is just red, I would use the neosporin or other antibiotic ointment, making sure it is clean and dry before applying. You can use some peroxide first to rinse it, or pick up some "wound wash" at the drug store....it comes in a spray can so it's easier to use. You can use both of these together if you wish. Then let dry, apply antibiotic ointment.  Because it is on her stomach can't you then cover with gauze and use the waterproof medical tape? That isn't as sticky as others, so it shouldn't hurt much ( just a pinch, if you pull the skin a little tight around it it's easier to remove) to change the dressing as needed. The paper tape doesn't stick as well, and some others are too sticky. The boxes will say. You could then try wrapping an ace bandage around her belly area where the dressing is (not to tight, but tight enough to hold it on) So she can't lick/chew at it.
Or you can buy some of those larger band-aids they have now and just use that with  the ointment and maybe a few strips of tape to keep in place. Then wrap w/ ace bandage.
She may allow the ace bandage to stay on as opposed to the collar....I hate those too.
I would check bandage area twice daily and change with fresh wash then ointment and new bandage.
As long as she is on oral antibiotics she should be fine for any infections.
It's just keeping it clean, covered and dry until the skin looks more normal/healing and starting to scab.

Well, lumps/bumps are very common w/ dogs. It just depends on what they are, which could be any # of things. Mostly they are just benign cysts. They can get very large and feel "mushy". As the dog gets older these can be quite numerous and big. Some breeds are more susceptible than others.
The harder bumps that don't move around under the skin or on the skin can be more concerning.
But any bump/lump needs to be seen by the vet to determine what it is. If they are just the benign cysts, generally there is no need for surgery unless it is interfering with their daily life/eating and getting quite large. Sometimes they just drain these but they tend to fill up again if you don't remove the "sac" and any tentacles if present.  Mine have gotten quite a few of these over the years and I've never had them removed unless there was a possibility of it becoming cancerous. If just regular cyst it's better to leave alone avoiding any surgical procedure and infection.
I've had a couple smaller hard lumps removed, looked more like a wart, that were questionable and the biopsy showed cancer. But w/ them removed all was fine. When they are small like that it's easier to remove whole thing instead of taking a piece to biopsy. With the softer ones they can do a needle aspiration in the office to see what kind of fluid it is under the microscope and go from there.
Anyway, it's best to let vet decide on removal depending on lump.

Hope your baby feels better soon, sending her hugs and smoohes ; )
Take care

82861 tn?1333457511
Did your vet sent the removed tissue to pathology?  Knowing exactly what those bumps were may help your vet figure out why the wounds aren't healing well.

You're doing everything I would, so hopefully other members will have some ideas.  If you haven't told your vet about the 2nd wound still being a problem, definitely give them a call.

One last thought: since the wounds are on her tummy, is it possible that it's just the normal pressure of her body and contact with the floor/ ground that is causing the trouble?  Is it in a place where the skin would normally move around while she gets up and down?  You may only need to rig up some kind of cover to help keep it cleaner - like not picking up dirt from the floor.  Depending on the size of the dog, a t-shirt can be rigged up with the forelegs through the arm holes and knotted at the back to hold on bandages and keep the area clean and tidy.  My neighbor had a similar situation and had to use ace bandages to keep her dog's wound clean (it was a tumor on her chest right where it hit the ground).
305217 tn?1218305908
I had a dog who had gotten into a fight w/ cat and the wounds he had were only surface type wounds/scratches, nothing deep. But they weren't healing as they should have, at first the vet said because he is a bit older it might take longer. But I wasn't  happy with how long it was taking and the vet did some more blood tests and found his thyroid was way low, put him on meds and he healed in no time.
Then a couple months later it turned out he was diabetic too. But he was 10 yrs old. So then came the insulin shots.....

Thyroid issues seem to be much more common in dogs these days.

539893 tn?1213841330
Thank you so much for those great observations and suggestions.  I hadn't thought about the wound rubbing the floor being an irritant, but it's in a spot that would do that, whereas the second wound that's not as likely to touch the ground is healing okay now.  I'm going to get some waterproof medical tape and large bandages and try using those with ointment, and I may use the t-shirt as well.  She is getting more used to the E-collar and I think it's made a difference keeping it on more consistently...so she must have been licking her stitches when I wasn't looking.  

Thanks again, very helpful!
514916 tn?1224521687
I totally agree w/the suggestions of BabaluandaOtis, and hope the situation continues to get better for you.
Have an Answer?
Top Dogs Answerers
675347 tn?1365464245
United Kingdom
974371 tn?1424656729
Central Valley, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Members of our Pet Communities share their Halloween pet photos.
Like to travel but hate to leave your pooch at home? Dr. Carol Osborne talks tips on how (and where!) to take a trip with your pampered pet
Ooh and aah your way through these too-cute photos of MedHelp members' best friends
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child