Dakota and Phlebitis
On February 18, 2002, Dakota had her teeth cleaned. Not a big deal except for the fact she was put under anesthesia for the procedure. The anesthesia was administered via a catheter inserted into her right foreleg. After the catheter was removed, Dakota developed a swelling in the area and presented with a slight limp.
I was told by veterinarian personnel that some swelling was normal. The limp was possibly caused by the fact Dakota is such a pain in the neck to handle and her leg may have been held too hard and bruised.
Her limp became progressively worse during the week. I examined her leg and noticed the leg felt extremely hot to the touch. I put her in the tub and allowed tepid water to run over her leg to bring down the fever.
The next morning, the leg was raw looking and little patches of hair were missing. Dakota had been biting at it while in her crate the night before. I didn't like the way it looked, or felt, so I took her into the vet.
The verdict -- phlebitis had developed in her leg and the surrounding tissue was dying due to a reaction to the anesthesia. Dexomethosone (metabolic steroid) and saline was administered via injection into the area. I was given instructions on administering DMSO and wrapping the leg.
After three days, the skin began to break apart and slough off (to fall off the leg). The area was infiltrated with saline to help remove more of the toxins. Trypzyme-V was administered to the site and we were sent home with the Trypzyme-V and instructions to keep the leg wrapped. Dakota was to be kept quiet and to not chew on the site.
Below are pictures of the site and my attempts at keeping Dakota from chewing at the site. Her leg was covered with a telfa pad, then wrapped in vet wrap. I then put a t-shirt on her and taped the sleeve over the site. It took her about a day of getting used to the shirt (note: cutting off the end of the t-shirt was necessary as she kept getting her hind legs caught in the tail of the shirt, causing her to stumble and to run into instead of jumping up on the bed).
Day 16 - March 6, 2002
Area of necrotic skin is 1 inch at top, 2 inches wide, and 2 3/4 inches long.
(teeth were cleaned on February 18)
Day 29 - March 19, 2002
Flap of skin lost; edges of wound brought together with stitches.
Wound went from 2 3/4 inches long by 2 inches wide to 2 1/2 inches long by 3/4 inches wide.
Scarring will hopefully be less noticeable.
Arrows points to healed area of phlebitis.
Pictures taken December 2002, ten months of healing time and the hair is growing back over the site.
The scar is barely noticeable.
The vets at Underhill Animal Hospital did a very good job of stitching the wound together.
Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is a commonly available product with a wide variety of non-medical uses. In industry, it has been used as a chemical solvent. In laboratory research, it is often used as a cryopreservative for cultured cells. One of the properties of DMSO is that it is absorbed very rapidly through the skin and cell membranes, carrying along almost anything else (particularly low molecular weight molecules) dissolved in it that would not otherwise be able to cross those barriers.
Intravenous and oral administration of DMSO allow it to penetrate rapidly into vascular and non-vascular tissues in the body (854). Its popular use among athletes, people with arthritis, and others have stemmed from claims that topical DMSO reduces pain, decreases swelling, and promotes healing of injured tissue.
Embolism is the obstruction of blood flow by an embolus -- a substance (e.g., a blood clot, a fat globule from a crush injury, or a gas bubble) not normally present in the bloodstream. Obstruction of an artery to the brain may cause stroke. Pulmonary embolism (in the pulmonary artery or a branch) causes difficulty breathing, chest pain, and death of a section of lung tissue (pulmonary infarction), with fever and rapid heartbeat. Embolism in a coronary artery can cause myocardial infarction (heart attack).
Phlebitis is the inflammation of the wall of a vein. Causes include nearby infection, trauma, surgery, and childbirth. The area over the vein is painful, swollen, red, and hot. A tender, cord like mass may be felt under the skin. It usually occurs in surface veins in the lower leg and can be treated with pain relievers and bed rest, with mild exercise after inflammation subsides. Phlebitis can last for years; in such cases, irritation of the vein's inner lining leads to blood clot formation, a condition known as thrombophlebitis (see thrombosis). In deeper veins, this requires anticoagulants to prevent blood embolisms.
Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) in the heart or a blood vessel. Contributing factors include injury to a blood vessel's lining from inflammation (thrombophlebitis) or atherosclerosis, blood flow that is turbulent (e.g., from an aneurysm) or sluggish (e.g., from prolonged bed rest), or coagulation abnormalities (e.g., from high numbers of platelets or excessive fats in the blood).
Thrombosis, especially in deep veins of the leg, is a particular danger after major surgery. A thrombus can block blood flow at the point of clot formation or break free to block it elsewhere (embolism). If the embolism travels to the lung, brain, or heart, it is usually fatal.
Dakota and the rest of the pack that
have their health taken care of by
Daniel A. Hill, D.V.M.
Underhill Animal Hospital
© 1998 - 2004 Brenda "Rion"