Reconstructive Surgical Repair of a Forth Degree Iatrogenic Burn in a Dog

Vinicius Gonzalez Peres Albernaz, Jorge Luiz Costa Castro, Sérgio Santalucia, Rafael Ricardo Huppes, Andrigo Barboza de Nardi, Josiane Morais Pazzini


Background: Burns are uncommon in small animal surgery routine and represents a real therapeutic challenge. Skin can be affect in different degrees of deepness as superfcial, partial thickness, full thickness and full thickness affecting underlying tissues. Each degree has individual features. Progression through degrees can occur in the frst 24 h or if treatment is inadequate. This paper aims to describe therapeutic approach and surgical technique to treat a huge dorsal iatrogenic thermal burn injury.
Case: A 4-year-old female German Shepard was referred to veterinary hospital after 11 days of elective ovariosalpingohisterectomy. The patient presented a severe skin injury with crusts, eschars, purulent discharge and myiasis on dorsal cervical, thoracic and lumbar region. Beside severity of the wound, animal present good general status and normal vital signs. Complete blood count and biochemical analysis were within normal ranges. Histopathologic analysis of a wound tissue sample revealed the presence of coagulation necrosis and inflammatory response. The absence of traumatic events, histopathologic result and wound features increased suspicious of an iatrogenic burn injury from a poorly regulated thermal mattress used during surgical intervention. “Rule of Nines” was estimated as 25% of total body surface area. Systemic antibiotics and topical treatment with 0.05% chlorhexidine digluconate and 2.5% silver sulfadiazine ointment followed by wet-wet bandage was performed after initial surgical debridement. Muscle and vertebral bone explosion were evident. Topical treatment with Silver Sulfadiazine and chlorhexidine persisted twice daily until granulation tissue formation. Pain killers and sedation were often necessary during bandage changes. At 65th day proceeded to en bloc excision of scar tissue and surgical reconstruction with skin advancement and recruitment technique. Tie-over dressing was applied to cover the fnal wound. After 14 days animal received hospital discharge, and was assessed bi-weekly for 60 days.
Discussion: Besides great extension of the burn injury, patient’s age, absence of systemic involvement and fluid therapy or critical care the prognosis was good. Modifed “rule of nine” are used to estimate wound size in dogs. The wound was classifed as forth degree or full thickness injury due to exposed muscular layer and bone. Early debridement, standard topical and systemic treatment protocol applied granted good recovery of wound bed. Due to be uncommon in small animal routine, main diagnosis and therapeutic recommendations for veterinary patients are based on human data. Systemic antimicrobial drugs are usually not recommended due to low concentration in burned tissues, however, prophylactic use was necessary due to highly infected tissues and possible bacterial absorption from devitalized tissues. Delayed primary closure technique was necessary due to highly infection site and extension, which turns surgical approach hard to perform. After formation of a granulation tissue bed for wound reconstruction, surgical treatment was performed. Surgical reconstruction is indicated in large full thickness defects and for better cosmetic appearance. The correct use and regulation of thermal mattress can avoid burns that can be life threatening. This case report rises the important concept that even low contact temperatures when persistent for long time can cause burn injuries.

Keywords: thermal, mattress, injury, dogs, plastic.

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