Correct way to remove stictches from a dog by a "vet" ?

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by serge, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. serge

    serge PetForums Newbie

    Mar 20, 2010
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    Hi all, first post brought about by a very unsavoury incident at the vets yesterday and I am hoping somebody can say whether they believe the vet used the correct way to approach it or not.
    Background - my 5 year old German Shepherd had to be neutered because one of his testicles had not dropped and the vets informed me it was an increased risk of cancer and early death. I agreed to the neutering and yesterday he went for his stitches to be removed. The "vet" (not sure if he was a vet or nurse or what) muzzled him then he wrestled him to the ground and lay over him while the other assistant removed some of the stictches. My dog fought all the way and it was obvious he was becoming more and more distresed and he yelped in pain several times. Looking back i should have stopped it earlier but I assumed the "professionals" knew what they were doing, just like we do when we go the doctors for example.

    It was obvious to me that it was not going to be fully successful and i suggested that would it not be better to sedate the dog first? The "vet" said yes and to bring him back on monday. The dog took some time to recove from this before i could walk him back to the car.

    Since then he has been a different dog - listless, whimpering, totally different to before this ordeal.

    Does this souynd like the right way to remove stitches from a dog, or would a better approach just have been from the outset to have arranged sedation and removal without all of the distress and possible risk of injury to him?

    I'd appreciate your views and I'm already kicking myself for not stopping him earlier.
  2. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

    Apr 15, 2009
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    Its a difficult one to comment on.

    It is normal for a dog to be restrained and slightly manhandled, the safety of those involved does come first; and it is normal for a dog to struggle and protest.

    One of my boys has recently has surgery in his armpit, and it takes me and my vet a bit of a job to flip him on his side and hold him there. He struggles, shakes and pants. But its literally for 30 to 60 seconds.

    However, it does sound like your dog was traumatised. If an animal is becoming obviously distressed to a degree where it affects them physically, then id say those involved went beyond what they should have done.

    Did anyone talk to your dog to reassure him, or even ask you to?

    In future you can always ask for dissolveable sutures to be used, so you can prevent such situations.
  3. mollythecollie

    mollythecollie PetForums Member

    Aug 29, 2009
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    Most dogs have stitches out easily, but it is important they are restrained so that they aren't injured.
    The vets will have wanted to avoid sedation if at all possible, but obviously it seems this might be the only option.
  4. Nellybelly

    Nellybelly PetForums VIP

    Jul 20, 2009
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    It depends on the dog. My vet avoids sedation anywhere possible.
    My previous boy Nelson was just such a good boy - he had blood tests, ultrasounds, x-rays without any sedation.

    My current girl is bit more squirmy, but has had an ultrasound and blood test without sedation, and this has been no problem.

    It 's hard to say whether or not your dog should have been sedated sooner, as a few seconds, even minutes of struggling to avoid sedation may be justifiable.
  5. dexter

    dexter PetForums VIP

    Nov 29, 2008
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    thankfully my vet lets me remove any stitches myself.

    hope he's not too traumatised x
  6. gesic

    gesic PetForums VIP

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Is it posible he hurt himself during the ordeal?
    Wrestling a gsd may have caused him to pull a muscle or strain a limb whilst struggling. Afterwards ie even days later this may cause discomfort and is displayed as listless behaviour and panting.
    Just knowing how notorious gsds are for having bad hips and imagining that at some stage his hind limbs may have been held this might be a possibility.
    His behaviour with u at home should not be is the vets he has a problem with, this may be something u have to work upon to gain his confidence.
  7. Lyceum

    Lyceum PetForums VIP

    Sep 25, 2009
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    That sounds awful. I'm grateful my boy is really good, I just picked him up, pulled him back so he was lenaing back and the vet took the stitches out no problem. Don't think I'll have as much luck with the pup when he's done, he's a stubborn so and so, when he was a pup, getting worming solution down him was a giant ordeal lol.

    I'm nowhere near an expert but that sounds a bit ott too me, I'd not be happy to let my dog go through that, but then as you said, you assume the experts know what they're doing.

    I hope he gets back to his normal self soon.
  8. EmCHammer

    EmCHammer PetForums VIP

    Dec 28, 2009
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    With mine for neutering, boys and girl we stood them on their hind paws so I could support their front legs and stroke them whist the vet snipped them out. Neither minded the vets then much but now its much more of a struggle...

    One of mine had to have staples, quite brutal I thought and we had to manhandle her a bit but I held her tight at the head end whilst the other vet helped hold and soothe her whilst the vet could quickly get on iwth it. She has tried to snap at the vets before so sometimes its a bit of a wrestle but nothing I feel too uncomfortable with to get the job done.

    She is staffie sized so easer to lift.
  9. moboyd

    moboyd PetForums VIP

    Sep 29, 2009
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    Taking stiches out is very simple, I have done it a few times with my dogs(some dont like the vets so easier) I have even taken them out of a wound on myself, sometimes the skin slightly grows over the skin, and can be a little painful/sting, I guess it depends on the pain threshold on the patient if it hurts or not. I am figuring he thought hmmm big dog not worth the risk of getting bitten if a stitch is caught, so muzzled your dog, if your dog would not lie down on his back(many dogs wont do this for a stranger in a strange place) so that he had access to the wound, then he would have had no real option but to get him down somehow(although I would have thought he would have asked you if the dog would lie down for you? it sounds like your dog wasnt happy being at the vets and wasnt ready to co operate unfortunately this does happen.Wearing a muzzle was also something he may have not liked too much either but I suppose if the dog snapped YOU would have felt awful if anyone got injured. I would think because of him straining/struggling he may have bruised himself or maybe its just that he is feeling put out, if i can aviod sedation I would hence why I have taken stitches out previously on a couple of my dogs(especially the males), I wouldnt kick myself over this I think the vet was in a situation, that he had a dog that was not happy to be there, there was stitches to take out, rather than having to sedate(increase costs? risk of reaction after already having a GA? he tried to go the usual rout but unfortunately your dog was not having any of it? and wasnt going to make it easy for the vet, it happens, keep an eye on your dog, and if no different phone the vet and explaine how he's been since the visit, he may be having some pain from the surgery and the struggle.

  10. GoldenShadow

    GoldenShadow PetForums VIP

    Jun 15, 2009
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    My vet just got my boy onto his back, I steadied him while she cut them out. With him he just wriggles and so it was to keep him steady.

    He has had issues before with vets trying to touch him again getting over excited and nervous, when this happens they tried to muzzle him to hold his head stead (was swinging it about, not biting just being silly) but was still a pain, so he was then sedated.

    They asked if I would like him sedated, but if they hadn't or I said no I think they probably would have battled on to be honest, sedation isn't great and sometimes its nice to hope the dog might calm down I suppose.

    My boy was being wrestled by me, my Mum, two vets and a vet nurse just to get his boosters, that's why he needed sedating in the end as they couldn't do those or his glands, but could get a shot of sedation in him. He was very stressed out in that scenario, but to be honest its not good to sedate them all the time, I think Roo was so withdrawn because of being drugged not the bit before really, its hard to know...

    I would think it could be worth trying to calm them down as when they get older sedation is so much more risky. Rupert adores one vet in particular, the one who did his stitches, and will do anything for her and is impeccably behaved, but he just doesn't really seem to trust the others enough to do anything for them. The one he does like has a softer approach, but the male vet, a different female vet and a female vet nurse all suggested sedation over fighting him, but it did take 10 mins to sort him not 40 seconds to whip out some stitches etc, maybe as it was quick they just wanted to get it done as it wouldn't be for long?
    #10 GoldenShadow, Mar 20, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  11. yorkshireblonde

    yorkshireblonde PetForums Junior

    Feb 8, 2010
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    I have taken the stitches out on most of my dogs- pyreneans and newfoundlands.
    On a few occasions rather than upset them I have ended up on my back underneath the dog a bit like a car mechanic. Not sure all vets would be willing to do this, although I have seen a couple of my vets grovelling on the floor with the dogs!:thumbup:
    Makes me laugh to think that with the little beasties get seen on the table at the proper height whereas with the giant breeds they end up on their knees.:lol:
  12. findley

    findley PetForums Member

    Jan 8, 2010
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    I am a veterinary nurse and I have taken out sutures and watched several vets take out sutures. The only thing I will comment on is it depends how good the dog is and how easy the sutures are to remove. Another way of looking at this would it have been possible to put sutures in that would dissolve?:confused: