Bone Cancer in Dogs
Post Operative Bruising and Seromas
With amputation surgery, there is a lot of manipulation of tissues … muscles, ligaments, skin, etc. There is a normal amount of bleeding that is washed out during the surgery, but the tissues themselves suffer bruising inside, and that shows up under the skin. Sometimes, with the shift in weight, as the dog becomes more mobile, the bruising shifts. Bruising is normal, as the surgery itself is somewhat traumatic. Initially it will be bright red, then purplish/blue then eventually greenish and then it will fade away. The bruising looks worse than it really is.
The important thing is to check the wound for drainage, and if you see any, note the color and smell (yes, smell) of the drainage. Take daily pictures of the wound. Some dogs will develop a seroma, which is a fluid collection under the skin that usually drains through the incision as it is healing. The fluid can look bloody or watery tinged with blood, but should not be just blood. This can get quite big so be prepared and consult with your veterinarian. If the wound is healed above the seroma, there is no place for the fluid to drain, and swelling under the stitches will develop. Consult with your veterinarian, as this condition usually requires drainage. There are times where the seroma can become infected, which is why smelling the wound every day is important. It is hard to describe what a clean wound smells like, but you will know if the smell changes to an infection … usually the color of the drainage changes as well, if the infection is significant.
Changes in the wound, loosening of the stitches or staples, drainage from the wound or change in smell or color of the drainage should all prompt a consultation with your veterinarian.