If your furry best friend has just undergone surgery, you must wonder how to tell if dog stitches are dissolvable.
Dissolvable stitches are popular among vets and dog owners since they break down and get absorbed into the body as the dog heals.
This improves your dog’s healing process, but vets use many types of stitches. You need proper knowledge to tell them apart and make the right choice for your pet. Here is all the information you need on dog stitches;
How to Tell If Dog Stitches Are Dissolvable
If your dog has had surgery or a wound that requires stitching, it’s essential to know whether the stitches are dissolvable.
This will help you provide appropriate care; here are some ways to tell if your dog’s stitches are dissolvable:
- Ask the vet. The easiest way to determine if your dog’s stitches are dissolvable is to ask the veterinarian who performed the surgery or placed the stitches. They can tell you if the stitches are dissolvable and when they should dissolve.
- Look at the packaging. The manufacturer of the stitches will indicate on the package whether or not the stitches are dissolvable. You can always call the manufacturer or consult your vet if the packaging doesn’t specify.
- Check the wound. Dissolvable stitches will start to break down and dissolve over time. You will notice loose strings and the stitches breaking apart as the wound heals.
It’s important to remember that not all dissolvable stitches look the same, and some may take longer to dissolve than others.
Whether the stitches are dissolvable or not, monitoring the wound for signs of infection is essential.
You should contact your vet immediately if you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge or if your dog is excessively licking or scratching the area.
Types of Stitches Used in Veterinary Surgery
There are several common dog stitches, each with advantages and setbacks. You should consult your vet and know as much about each as possible to adequately care for your dog. Let us get to the details;
- Monofilament sutures. These sutures are made from a single strand of material, such as nylon or polypropylene. They are less reactive biological agents; hence they can work for internal sutures or skin closure under low tension.
- Multifilament sutures. These are made from several materials, such as silk or cotton. They are more pliable than monofilament sutures and are typically used for skin closure in areas under high tension.
- Absorbable sutures. These sutures are designed to be absorbed by the body over time and do not require manual removal. They are a product of materials such as catgut, polyglycolic acid, or polyglactin.
Absorbable sutures are used for internal or superficial wounds that don’t need long-term support.
- Non-absorbable sutures. Unless a vet manually removes them after the wound heals, these will stay in the body permanently. They are made from durable materials like silk, nylon, or polyester.
These are ideal for external sutures, primarily to support tissues that take a long time to heal.
- Barbed sutures. These sutures have small, backward-facing projections along the length of the suture.
They are designed to create a stronger, more secure hold without the need for knots. These strong sutures are used for skin closure on big dogs or areas with high tension.
- Staples. These are metal clips that are used to hold skin edges together after surgery. They are typically used for long incisions, such as orthopedic surgeries.
The Difference Between Dissolvable and Non-Dissolvable Stitches
Dissolvable and non-dissolvable stitches are two types of sutures used in surgical procedures. You must know the distinguishing features of each type to make the right choice for your dog’s care. Here are the critical differences between dissolvable and non-dissolvable stitches:
- Material. Dissolvable stitches are made of catgut, polyglactin, or polyglycolic acid. Non-dissolvable stitches are made of nylon, silk, or polyester, which can’t be absorbed into the dog’s body.
- Absorption. Dissolvable stitches are designed to gradually break down and be absorbed by the body’s tissues over time. Depending on the material used, they may dissolve in as little as a few days or take several months to dissolve completely.
Non-dissolvable stitches are designed to remain in the body permanently unless a healthcare professional manually removes them.
- Purpose. Dissolvable stitches are typically used for internal suturing, such as closing incisions in the abdominal cavity. This is because they don’t need manual removal and hold areas with light tension.
Non-dissolvable stitches are typically used for external suturing where a doctor can remove them. They are suitable for closing incisions on the skin surface or supporting tissues that are slow to heal.
- Removal. Dissolvable stitches do not require manual removal as the body naturally absorbs them over time.
Non-dissolvable stitches, on the other hand, need to be manually removed by a healthcare professional after the wound has healed sufficiently.
- Complications. Both dissolvable and non-dissolvable stitches can potentially cause complications such as infection, inflammation, or delayed wound healing.
Non-dissolvable stitches hold a higher risk of causing an infection, especially if you don’t properly clean and remove them.
Caring for Your Dog’s Wound After Suture Removal
After your dog’s sutures have been removed, it is vital to continue to care for the wound to promote proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. Here are some tips for caring for your dog’s wound after suture removal:
- Keep the wound clean and dry. It is crucial to keep the wound clean and dry to prevent infection. Don’t let the dog swim or play in the rain, as water is good for bacteria that might cause infections.
If the wound gets dirty or wet, gently clean it with warm water and mild soap, and pat it dry with a clean towel.
- Watch for signs of infection. Watch for redness, swelling, discharge, and a foul odor, as these are the most common signs of an infection. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.
- Prevent licking and chewing. Dogs may try to lick or chew at their wounds, which can cause further damage and delay healing. Consider using an Elizabethan collar (cone) to prevent your dog from accessing the injury.
- Monitor healing progress. Check the wound regularly to make sure it is healing correctly. The skin should be pink and smooth, and the wound should remain closed for healthy healing. Contact the vet with any signs of delayed healing or abnormal scars.
- Follow post-operative instructions. Follow any additional post-operative instructions provided by your veterinarian. Instructions like administering medication, limiting your dog’s activity level, or scheduling follow-up appointments are crucial for proper healing.
- Provide a balanced diet. A balanced diet is crucial for proper wound healing. Feed your dog a well-balanced, nutritious diet of protein, vitamins, and minerals. These will help with healing and fight infections to ensure a speedy and permanent recovery.
- Be patient. Wound healing can take time, so be patient with your dog’s recovery process. Keep your dog from taking part in high-intensity activities until the wound heals.
Common Complications with Non-Dissolvable Stitches in Dogs
Non-dissolvable stitches can provide long-lasting support to the healing tissue and help with recovery. However, some potential complications can arise if not properly cared for. Here are some of the common complications with non-dissolvable stitches in dogs:
- Infection. Dogs may develop an infection at the incision site if the area is not kept clean and dry. Signs of infection may include redness, swelling, discharge, and a foul odor.
- Abscess. Bacteria can become trapped within the incision site, leading to the formation of an abscess. Abscesses can be painful and may require surgical intervention to drain.
- Poor healing. Non-dissolvable stitches can prevent natural healing if they are too tight or if the tissue around them becomes inflamed. This can lead to delayed healing and increased scarring.
- Suture reaction. Some dogs may be allergic to the material used in the non-dissolvable stitches. This can cause inflammation, redness, and swelling at the incision’s site, leading to delayed healing.
- Inflammation. Inflammation can occur if the body’s immune system reacts to the non-dissolvable stitches. This can cause swelling, redness, and discomfort for the dog, instigating scratching and licking and causing delayed healing.
- Dehiscence. Sometimes, the non-dissolvable stitches may fail to close the incision, leading to wound reopening. This can result in further complications, such as infection or delayed healing.
You know how to tell if dog stitches are dissolvable, and you will be a better dog owner. There are many dog stitches, each with different uses, advantages, and disadvantages. A good dog owner must have such information to ensure you always make the best choice for your dog’s health. The right stitches will support rapid healing with minimal scarring and a low risk of infection or allergic reactions.