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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7325
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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I rescued a female cat from one of our local shelters. They

Customer Question

I rescued a female cat from one of our local shelters. They spayed her before they would release her to us. As is our policy, we took her immediately to a private vet for her intake exam. They noticed swelling, "next to the OHE incision." 5 days later,
we returned the cat to our vet because she had swelling in the abdomen the size of a my fist, and she was generally not feeling well. In fact, she had lost 1.25 lbs. in just 5 days. Our vet noted a "large non reducible swelling adjacent to the OHE scar" with
suspected, incisional dehiscence." The vet recommended exploratory laparotomy which was performed, and they found the omentum was outside the incision "cranial to the previous body wall suture site" They trimmed and replaced the omentum back into the abdomen,
and resutured the site. We have complained to the head vet at the animal shelter. She agrees that the dehiscence shouldn't have occurred, that the vet was basically rushing and sloppy due to their high volume and "assembly line" set up. However, instead of
referring to the problem as dehiscence, she refers to it as a hernia. I feel using the word "hernia" is an attempt to minimize the problem, because to my understanding, they are similar problems but not the same. In addition, we have always referred to the
problem as dehiscence, just as our vet did, so why is the shelter vet choosing to refer to a hernia? Can you explain the difference to me? Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you.

Dehiscence refers to an incision line that has been sutured and has broken down so the the tissue edges are no longer apposed.

A hernia is a break in the body wall, but is due to either a separation of muscle of thbody wall or a congenital defect where the body wall never closed correctly during formation.

If the swelling was in proximity of the incision, I would expect it was a dehiscence. I suppose there could have been a adjacent hernia that was present and if the surgeon was not paying attention, could have missed it (especially if she was on her back and the omentum was not protruding, but if it was a non-reducible hernia, I don't know how it could have been missed. I suspect it was incision line breakdown.

I am happy to hear at least that it is all repaired now.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.

Dr Z

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Any idea why the shelter's head vet is choosing to use the word hernia, instead of dehiscence?
If she's reprimanded the vet who did the surgery, I'm concerned that vet is going to think it's not a big deal! It clearly was, or this small cat wouldn't have gone from 6.25 lbs to 5 lbs in 5 days.
We gave the shelter's head vet our vet records. Thanks for your help. Kitty is doing great now, and her tummy is nice and round.
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

I don't know why she is choosing that particular wording. An incisional hernia could occur if the incision line was closed in a sloppy fashion and trapped the omentum in the cranial portion of the incision as it was closed. This scenario could occur without any breakdown of suture line and it sounds like that may be what happened versus a dehiscence where the suture line actually broke down and partially released. In either case, it is a big deal.

If you work with this shelter in the future, I would inquire if you could have the surgery performed by your vet as long as you brought back proof that it was done.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I see what you mean. Thanks!
Yes, with virtually every shelter we work with, our preference is to take the cat unaltered, and let our vet do the surgery. It's more expensive for us, but I know their work and I trust them. Thanks again for clearing up the confusion I had. Venita
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

You are most welcome.

Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.
Hi Venita,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Z.

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