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My Chihuahua, Mia, was attacked horribly by my bigger dog on Saturday. They gave her stitches and everything seemed to be going well until tonight, when I noticed that a big part of her stitches have dissolved. There is now a big opening near her neck. The wound is oozing brown stuff and the smell is rotten. I'm so worried that this is wet gangrene. I had been giving her antibiotics prescribed by the vet, but they don't seem to be working. She has been licking and scratching her wounds a lot while we were at work. Tonight, I put her in a small dog sweater to prevent more scratching. I called the best rated vet within a 20 miles radius, and they said she will be fine till morning. I am taking her to the vet before 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. It is now 10:00 p.m. here. I would take her to the emergency clinic, but many people have told me not to trust anyone who works there because the doctor recently lost his license in another state. Plus, they are extremely expensive.

Do you think my dog will be ok till morning? Could this just be an infection and not gangrene? If it is gangrene, will she be ok, even though it's near the neck? I know they'll have to cut tissue out.
 

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I'm so sorry that it isn't going better for your girl!

Only a qualified vet can answer your question and without even seeing a pic of her would I would not be able to guess what it may be. If it's gangrene then she needs the vet NOW, with that time is very important and an hour can make all the difference in the world, it progresses that quick. If it's getting infected then being seen now would be better, but I think you can get away with waiting till morning. Keep an eye on it and if you see it getting noticeably worse in the next hour or so then get her to the vet. FWIW, I do think she'll likely be O.K. till morning, but I'm just some random person on the internet and like I said I have no idea what the wound looks like so you likely know best.

Keeping her from getting at the wound is very important, her messing with it is making it worse, trust me on that one I had a dog that was an expert at taking a simple wound and turning it into an infected mess. Ask the vet about the cone of shame, aka elizabethan collar.

You and your girl are in my prayers
 
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ag no! so sorry you and your girl are going through this. Please keep us updated. How is she doing this morning?
 

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. I took her to the vet this morning. I was the first person in line. The main doctor came in and told me that even if it is gangrene, she will be ok. They said some antibiotics don't always work with certain dogs; it just depends. I wasn't able to see the wound because it was covered with a bandage and a sweater. Thankfully, she didn't bother her wound at all last night. I think the sweater helped.

When I brought her in, the doctor didn't seem too worried. I don't know if he's just trained that way, or if I don't have anything to worry about. She smells horrible. I'm certain that there has to be dead tissue. That smell is like roadkill. I'm so worried. I'm going to call and check on her in about an hour or 2.

The good news is, she's able to turn her head a good bit without signs of discomfort. She also has an appetite and is staying hydrated.

I'll keep you all updated!
 

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I called the vet and they said she will need to be re-stitched. The woman on the phone said it's not gangrene, but I don't know if she's 100% sure because she's just going by what the vet told her to say. Do vets usually give phone calls if it's more serious? I can't help but wonder if they're keeping something from me and waiting till I come get her. :/
 

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If anything other then just routine stuff is going on with Samantha, our Vet, or someone from his office always calls to see how she is doing, if she is home, if she is at the Vets, they will or should call to keep you current on her condition and the plan for treatment. If they are going to re-stitch, that at least means there is non-infected tissue present to stitch. As long as your girl is eating and drinking, she is probably doing ok, but if she stops, get her to the vet immediately.
 

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Asking if it's gangrene seems specific. I would probably ask if it's infected. And if so, how did it get infected, especially if medicine was prescribed, and how do you stop it from happening again. Also sounds like you may need to come up with a way to stop her from bothering with it, sounds like the sweater may be a great option if a cone is going to bother it.

Good luck, sounds like a very scary situation to be in. I hope she is ok!
 
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If anything other then just routine stuff is going on with Samantha, our Vet, or someone from his office always calls to see how she is doing, if she is home, if she is at the Vets, they will or should call to keep you current on her condition and the plan for treatment. If they are going to re-stitch, that at least means there is non-infected tissue present to stitch. As long as your girl is eating and drinking, she is probably doing ok, but if she stops, get her to the vet immediately.
Thank you so much for your reassuring response! I just made a sigh of relief. I am on hold with the vet right now. I'm so nervous!

Asking if it's gangrene seems specific. I would probably ask if it's infected. And if so, how did it get infected, especially if medicine was prescribed, and how do you stop it from happening again. Also sounds like you may need to come up with a way to stop her from bothering with it, sounds like the sweater may be a great option if a cone is going to bother it.

Good luck, sounds like a very scary situation to be in. I hope she is ok!
Sorry for being so specific. I got carried away with worry. I tend to do that, especially with something like this. I'm almost certain it got infected because she was licking and scratching it. The sweater worked well, so I may wash it, and put it back on her. Thanks for the response!
 

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UPDATE: They had to removed an extensive amount of tissue and skin. There was necrotic tissue. What I don't understand is how she became necrotic even if she were on antibiotics? Should I be upset with the first vet she went to?
 

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UPDATE: They had to removed an extensive amount of tissue and skin. There was necrotic tissue. What I don't understand is how she became necrotic even if she were on antibiotics? Should I be upset with the first vet she went to?
I think these would be great questions to ask the vet when you pick her up. I mean I know dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths, and considering it was caused by a bite, maybe they didn't clean it out well enough? Who knows. I would definitely ask a ton of questions about why this happened and how you can prevent it from happening again. Sounds like your dog is under the care of a good vet now.
 
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I think these would be great questions to ask the vet when you pick her up. I mean I know dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths, and considering it was caused by a bite, maybe they didn't clean it out well enough? Who knows. I would definitely ask a ton of questions about why this happened and how you can prevent it from happening again. Sounds like your dog is under the care of a good vet now.
She is under good care now. The vet she went to first is a mobile vet that was on site when she was attacked. They even said they were concerned about one patch of skin that appeared to be black; but not concerned enough.
 

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I'm not a vet (and I don't even play one on TV!), but I think the necrotic/sloughing tissue associated with bite wounds is generally caused by two factors: lack of blood supply/trauma to the tissue, and infection due to the bacteria associated with the offending animal's dirty mouth. The first issue is most common with injuries where the tissue is severely traumatized/bruised/macerated, or where blood supply is compromised on one or more "sides" of the injury, which can cause the tissue to die. The issue of infection is something which antibiotics can help combat, but even they are not foolproof, and if both factors (tissue damage and infection) are in play, it's pretty common to have issues with necrotic tissue/wound sloughing. The problem is that the vet doesn't know when treating the initial injuries what areas of tissue will recover in, say, 3 days, and what areas will be dead and falling off, so they usually remove the obviously dead/irreparable stuff, and try to save the rest. If they removed all the "maybe" tissue with some of these injuries, that would be a large area, and they might not be able to actually close the wound due to lack of skin to oppose, and sometimes the "iffy" areas do recover. I don't think it's terribly uncommon for injuries like this to require more than one surgery, to debride necrotic tissue and "close the gap" between the healthy tissue edges. Some severe cases actually require specialist surgery, and/or skin grafts to repair large open wounds.

It can't hurt to either ask the current vet if they think the approach the first vet took was appropriate, or to contact the first vet and update them, and see what they say. It sounds like they may have been concerned about the one area of tissue, but maybe they saw something that led them to believe it was potentially still viable, you won't know unless you ask.

That said, I'm sure her licking and scratching was a huge contributing factor to the issues, and would either keep an e collar on to keep her off of it, or a lightweight shirt/sweater if the vet oks that (they may not want it covered, so be sure to ask). Good luck with her!
 

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Dog bite wounds are always unpredictable immediately after the bite occurs. Sometimes they heal routinely but often it takes 24-48 hours to discover the total damage caused by the bite as the areas that have lost circulation due to tissue damage finally rear their ugly heads, and the surgery sites often have to be redone thanks to all the new dead tissue and related uncontrolled infection that results (particularly if wounds caused by a larger dog- more yanking, pulling and tearing of tissues in those situations). We ALWAYS warn owners that there is simply no way to judge what is 'good' and what is 'bad' tissue right after a bite. You just have to guess and not be too aggressive removing tissues and just clean things as well as possible and plan on removing more in a few days (and if you don't have to after all, all the better). Whenever there is dead tissue, there will be uncontrolled infection and a bad odor... does not mean the incorrect antibiotics were selected, but it does mean the wound has to be thoroughly cleaned and debrided all over again and possibly resistant bacteria will begin to populate the wound (like the canine equivalency of MRSAs, called MRPAs)... makes final resolution of infection more difficult but certainly not impossible.
 

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UPDATE: Mia will have to stay another night. She was supposed to come home today, but the doctor wants to keep an eye on her wounds a little longer. I feel good leaving her in his care, but my gosh, I really do miss her. My mom and I are going to visit her this afternoon. We visited her Saturday and she was so clingy. She cried so much when we had to put her back in the kennel. It broke my heart. :(

I'm not a vet (and I don't even play one on TV!), but I think the necrotic/sloughing tissue associated with bite wounds is generally caused by two factors: lack of blood supply/trauma to the tissue, and infection due to the bacteria associated with the offending animal's dirty mouth. The first issue is most common with injuries where the tissue is severely traumatized/bruised/macerated, or where blood supply is compromised on one or more "sides" of the injury, which can cause the tissue to die. The issue of infection is something which antibiotics can help combat, but even they are not foolproof, and if both factors (tissue damage and infection) are in play, it's pretty common to have issues with necrotic tissue/wound sloughing. The problem is that the vet doesn't know when treating the initial injuries what areas of tissue will recover in, say, 3 days, and what areas will be dead and falling off, so they usually remove the obviously dead/irreparable stuff, and try to save the rest. If they removed all the "maybe" tissue with some of these injuries, that would be a large area, and they might not be able to actually close the wound due to lack of skin to oppose, and sometimes the "iffy" areas do recover. I don't think it's terribly uncommon for injuries like this to require more than one surgery, to debride necrotic tissue and "close the gap" between the healthy tissue edges. Some severe cases actually require specialist surgery, and/or skin grafts to repair large open wounds.

It can't hurt to either ask the current vet if they think the approach the first vet took was appropriate, or to contact the first vet and update them, and see what they say. It sounds like they may have been concerned about the one area of tissue, but maybe they saw something that led them to believe it was potentially still viable, you won't know unless you ask.

That said, I'm sure her licking and scratching was a huge contributing factor to the issues, and would either keep an e collar on to keep her off of it, or a lightweight shirt/sweater if the vet oks that (they may not want it covered, so be sure to ask). Good luck with her!
Wow. I truly feel like you just typed exactly how I felt about all of this.

I truly do not think it was the first vet's fault. I told her what happened, and she was very apologetic. I think she only had so much tissue to work with. I believe she thought the questionable tissue might have a fighting chance with the antibiotics; and since the wounds were so big, she probably thought it was necessary to give the tissue a chance to heal since taking it out would leave her very little options on repairing Mia without significant scarring.

I also believe that her licking and scratching contributed to 80% of this happening. She didn't start smelling like a corpse until Thursday night (and all of this happened 5 days prior).

Dog bite wounds are always unpredictable immediately after the bite occurs. Sometimes they heal routinely but often it takes 24-48 hours to discover the total damage caused by the bite as the areas that have lost circulation due to tissue damage finally rear their ugly heads, and the surgery sites often have to be redone thanks to all the new dead tissue and related uncontrolled infection that results (particularly if wounds caused by a larger dog- more yanking, pulling and tearing of tissues in those situations). We ALWAYS warn owners that there is simply no way to judge what is 'good' and what is 'bad' tissue right after a bite. You just have to guess and not be too aggressive removing tissues and just clean things as well as possible and plan on removing more in a few days (and if you don't have to after all, all the better). Whenever there is dead tissue, there will be uncontrolled infection and a bad odor... does not mean the incorrect antibiotics were selected, but it does mean the wound has to be thoroughly cleaned and debrided all over again and possibly resistant bacteria will begin to populate the wound (like the canine equivalency of MRSAs, called MRPAs)... makes final resolution of infection more difficult but certainly not impossible.
Thanks for all the info! They told me that it's pretty common to have to do a 2nd surgery when there's a bad dog bite. I'm just hoping they didn't have to remove any muscle.
 
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