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Old 07-18-2019, 01:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Recovering from Surgery

My little one just had surgery to get a tumor removed. In just the little time between noticing it and seeing the vet, the tumor grew huge. He had to be put under and get staples just above his front right leg. He's not bleeding as the bedding is clean, but his fur and spines have a decent amount of blood on them.

Obviously he can't have a bath at the moment so he's going to have to be a little messy for the next two weeks. But I'm hoping someone here can give me advice to make sure the next few weeks go as smoothly as possible.

The vet gave me a few rules to follow:

1) No clothes or fabrics near him as they can catch on the staples. Makes enough sense so there's no issues here. Using Aspen bedding at the moment since there's no fleece lining or blankets for him, I intend to fully clean his cage 3 or 4 times a week so I'll be going through a lot of bedding in this time. He doesn't seem to be a huge fan of the stuff as he tends to shove it all to the corners and run around on the plastic bottom of the cage.

2) No running wheel or letting him jump. The wheel bit is the biggest issue. I think he's bored without it. I've put a few extra toys in his cage but all he wants to do is flip everything over and around the cage. For an entire hour today, (that I watched) he stood there and would lift his food plate up with his snout, drop it, and lift it again. It was almost like he was working out. There's little doubt he's been looking for his wheel so I'm wondering if there's any kind of good toy to include, that's safe for his condition, to help entertain him.

3) No letting him chew on the staples. Couldn't be more obvious but he's active quite a bit at night while I'm asleep so I can't hover over him constantly. Other than watching the staples, I'm also trying to keep an eye on his bedding to make sure it stays clean. I imagine it will bleed if he bites them or rips them out somehow so if everything is clean I don't need to constantly harass him to look at his leg. Is there anything else I should be keeping an eye on?

Behavior wise, he's a lot more active in the light now. He used to be a bit more shy when being watched but he didn't mind being talked to when he was lifting the plate up for that whole hour. He's a bit more touchy about being picked up and pet, I imagine the nurses and vet poked and prodded him for quite some time and he's now associated being handled with the operation since that was very recent for him. That will go away with proper handling.

Is there anything else I need to be aware of in this time? I want this recovery period to go so well that he ends up better in every regard than he was before the operation.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I will certainly defer advise from the experts. But I do offer my prayers for your baby. Dear St. Francis, please give comfort and healing to this precious little one. Thank you.
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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1. Your vets recommendation against cloth is odd to me. I’ve always used cloth liners during recovery. Even with the hedgehog who had a mammary tumor that left a line of stitches from front leg to nearly her rear leg. Preferably white or a very pale yellow. Liners allow you to see any spotting of blood or discharge that may indicate a problem. And you don't run the risk of a sliver of aspen or dust contaminating the wound site, keeping the wound site cleaner.

2. Because I use liners I tend to add additional toys to burrow under and explore during recovery. Extra blankets, fleece covered tubes, etc. Again in light colors so I can see if there are issues. Basically anything that encourages burrowing so that they can entertain themselves. Wall climbing is often a boredom/stress issue in cases like this. You are going to need to add something extra to entertain him. Tubes, ping pong balls, etc something that he can take his frustration of having no wheel out on.

3. Examining the wound site multiple times a day is really the only thing you can do. As mentioned above, I also use light color cloth to help me see if there is drainage/blood, but unless you go against your vet's recommendation you don't have that option.

So, not sure if your vet warned you or not, but depending on the size of the wound and how much tissue damage was done around the tumor you may see a large amount of bruising. Bruising is fine, but redness, swelling and if it feels warm to the touch, those require you to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Monitor for discharge, again I like liners for helping with that as they often sleep on their stomachs and you can see how much fluid and what color is leaking out if there is any. But watch the fur around the site.

Personality wise. I had some that were clingy and wanted to be held more, I think the warmth of our bodies felt good on the incision site. If he is on pain medication he may seem out of it at times. That can be normal depending on what he was given. Each one reacts to pain differently, so if you are seeing a major personality change, talk to your doc. Especially after he has his last dose of pain medication. Usually vets only like to keep them on it a couple of days, but with major incisions they may need an extra day or two to help them heal.
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