Sticky Surgical Complication


Today's humor entry is short and sweet. Literally. Sadly, after surgeries, we cannot simply speak to our animal friends and convince them to not lick and chew at their surgical sites. This can unfortunately lead to the patient opening up their freshly made incision, which, if made in an important place like the abdomen, can lead to life threatening complications like the pet's intestines falling out. Whoops! Because of this risk, we try extremely hard to compel owners to be diligent about watching their pets post-operatively and to keep the Elizabethan collar in place. Unfortunately, this sometimes does not happen, despite the best intentions of all involved. One rainy day we received a call from an extremely panicked owner relaying to us that her recently spayed Shih Tzu was having an emergency. She told us that the poor pup's "guts" were coming out and she didn't know what to do. We directed her to wrap the dog in a towel and to rush her right in. She arrived in a matter of minutes, ran into the building, crying and upset, and thrust the poor, confused pooch into the arms of my technician. The tech rushed her to the back and called for my assistance. I carefully unwrapped the towel and braced myself for the worst. Sure enough, on her belly, right where I had made my incision there was a red circular tube protruding from the area. I asked the tech to lie her on her side so I could get a better look and... wait... what?? Something was off here. The cylindrical object didn't quite look like intestine or body wall. It wasn't bloody, in fact, it was hard and sticky. I grabbed a moistened gauze and applied gentle traction and it popped right off!!! What in the world? So, I did what any sane person in this situation would do and I sniffed it. Cinnamon! The dog had a cinnamon fire Jolly Rancher stuck to her abdomen. Her incision was intact and healing beautifully. The look on her owner's face when I took that candy back in the room to her was priceless. 😊

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