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Old 01-08-2014, 04:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Post-castration swelling

So here's my story...
my 1 year old GSD was castrated last week. The vet kept him over night and we picked him up the following afternoon. When they sent him home, his scrotum was at least the same size as it was before the castration, if not a little bigger, and there was a fair bit of bruising (maybe 20-30% of his scrotum looked bruised). I crated him that evening with the e-collar on and most of the next day, just to restrict activity, and after that I started letting him wander around the living room - but no playing and if he started getting wound up he went back in the crate. We rearranged our furniture so that there was no place for him to go that I couldn't see him from where I was working on the couch, and if I so much as went to pee or fill a glass of water the e-collar went back on. I was bound and determined not to let him lick that site or do too much.

The next day I went to look at his site and noticed that the bruising was spreading, now we were up to about 50%, and it was a little more swollen. But he was acting fine - good appetite, friendly, seemed totally oblivious to the fact that anything had happened and kept giving me those sad eyes, not understanding why I wouldn't play with him. No signs of infections or anything. So then I took him out to pee, looked away for a minute to readjust my glove, and he'd launched himself into a nearby snowbank. He managed to either scrape off the scab over the incision on the snow or something and he was dripping bloody fluid all over (not just blood). After about an hour when I was just starting to consider the emergency vet it stopped. After that, I started icing it for 5-10 minutes or so a few times a day.

That was 2 days ago. Now, It's about twice the size it was, and is 100% black and blue. The site itself still looks fine to me, it's no warmer than his normal skin temp, no pus or discharge and no redness other than the purply red of the bruises, but he was acting in so much pain today that he didn't sit down for 2 hours. He just stood there panting and whining, and when he started trying to sit he'd yip and bolt forward and look behind him like he thought someone had kicked him in the butt. Needless to say I drove him straight to the vet the earliest time they get him in today.

Vet takes a look at it and kind of freaked out on me. Said that it was absolutely *not* normal swelling, it was a complication, and it was infected. She told me that I let him do too much activity, and that he was probably licking it when I wasn't paying attention. She asked me how long it had been swollen like that - saying it didn't even look like he'd been castrated. I said that it was swollen when I picked him up from the surgery (at least to the size it had been before i dropped him off) and she kind of snapped at me saying, "It did not look like that when he left here" (I didn't say it did, let me finish grrr). But that it had been getting steadily more swollen and more bruised since then, and told her about the one jump into the snow bank.

She gave him antibiotics, two pain medicines, and I'm supposed to be doing warm compresses on his scrotum every couple hours. He's also restricted to the crate for the next two days (this should be fun), and is supposed to be in the e-collar 24/7, even when he's eating. And if it's not showing improvement in 2 days she's taking him back for surgery to drain it.

So tonight I tried to do a warm compress on it, and the second I even touched his scrotum (literally the second, there was no pressure at all) he screamed. That's the best word I can think for it, it was a noise I'd never heard from him before. I tried again a few hours later (After another pain pill) and got the same response. I'm not sure what to do now, the warm compresses don't seem to be an option. The poor boy's in so much pain, and hating being crated like this, and I'm feeling like a rotten dog-mom.

I don't know what to do other than hope the antibiotics and crating works before he has to have more surgery... I just hate this...
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:29 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is what is difficult in post-surgery instruction - what pet owners think is limited, is not, in many cases. I tether, crate, leash potty after surgeries. I use an e-collar, shirts, boxer shorts so they can't get to the incision. The one time I wasn't strict, there was a good sized seroma (female spay), but no infection.

Did you test the temp of the warm compress on the inside of your wrist?

Dogs do learn that if they react, you will stop with the compress. If the compress is a reasonable temp, and you are only gently touching it, then I would report to the vet as soon as they open this morning. And I would call anyway with an update.

I also take cell phone pics of incisions when I get home, and daily, so I have a record of what things look like. I would start doing that now.

Do not feel bad about crating and the collar. I've had dogs on 6 weeks of crate rest after big surgeries - and did not feel bad for a second that they were in there - they needed that time to heal and rest, from the inside out.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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This happened with one of my males, he decided to take a flying race around my yard and boom, his scrotum swelled up bigger than it was originally.

My vet said it sometimes happenswith older dogs especially, hard to tie off all those vessels or something or othr..Anyhow, they aspirated it, (no surgery required), drained it off, and yes warm/cold compresses.

I also agree in taking pictures...

Are you confident in your vet? I'm kinda surprised she didn't decide to just try and aspirate it to relieve some of the pressure?

and I agree with Jean
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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if there was swelling when you picked him up, why not point this out to the vet? yes e collar stays on 24/7. i would ask about IV antibiotics at this point. sounds like you didn't completely understand the post op instructions/
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanKBBMMMAAN View Post
This is what is difficult in post-surgery instruction - what pet owners think is limited, is not, in many cases. I tether, crate, leash potty after surgeries. I use an e-collar, shirts, boxer shorts so they can't get to the incision. The one time I wasn't strict, there was a good sized seroma (female spay), but no infection.

Did you test the temp of the warm compress on the inside of your wrist?

Dogs do learn that if they react, you will stop with the compress. If the compress is a reasonable temp, and you are only gently touching it, then I would report to the vet as soon as they open this morning. And I would call anyway with an update.

I also take cell phone pics of incisions when I get home, and daily, so I have a record of what things look like. I would start doing that now.

Do not feel bad about crating and the collar. I've had dogs on 6 weeks of crate rest after big surgeries - and did not feel bad for a second that they were in there - they needed that time to heal and rest, from the inside out.
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That's the thing, except for the one jump into the snow bank, I followed their activity instructions. He only went out on the leash. The care sheet says "no running, jumping, stairs, or rough housing". He was confined to a small area of the living room with me where I could constantly have eyes on him, and any time I couldn't directly look at him his e-collar went on. They didn't tell me to crate him for the first day, I just thought it would be best to be safe. I had no reason to believe that him walking around the livingroom would be bad, and that was ALL I let him do. And yeah, the one jump probably was enough to do some damage, but it was getting worse before that.

The compress definitely wasn't too hot. It was just a washcloth run under hot water, by the time I got it to him I wasn't even sure it was warm enough to do any good, anyway.

I had been taking pictures since the day after. I even called the vet the day before I brought him in and asked about the swelling and they said that it was normal for his scrotum to swell, and that gravity would make it swell more, too, just to keep watching the incision, and as long as the incision looked fine and he was acting normal (at the time he was) he didn't need to come in.

I know that it's important and necessary, I just wish he'd stop howling. He's got too much energy.


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Originally Posted by huntergreen View Post
if there was swelling when you picked him up, why not point this out to the vet? yes e collar stays on 24/7. i would ask about IV antibiotics at this point. sounds like you didn't completely understand the post op instructions/
I did, they said swelling of the scrotum post-op was normal. Actually the sheet they gave me with post-op instructions doesn't even list scrotal swelling as a reason to call, only swelling at the incision site. I did completely understand the post-op instructions, you may know what you've done or what your vet has told you in the past, but you don't know what my vet told me... I was more strict than the instructions say to be, except for that one jump - which I'm already kicking myself for glancing away, but I can't do anything about it now.

Also, she said that he has to go back under anesthesia to aspirate it - that's what I meant by another surgery.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I am so sorry you and your dog are going through this. You have sufficiently reinforced my decision to not fix my pup. At least not for a long time. Good luck. Please keep us updated on what happens.

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Old 01-08-2014, 03:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well swelling is normal, but not swelling that is bigger than what you started with..

I imagine the vet doesn't want to try and aspirate without sedation, mine was a very easy dog to work on so he didn't require sedation
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have sent over close to 2000 dogs to be either spayed or neutered since my time at the shelter. They go to a clinic in another town and we pick them up the next day. I have only seen about 4 or 5 serious complications in that time. We almost never use an e-collar. We only do if we observe them licking. They go back in their kennels and we take them outside to potty. We limit exercise and all exposure to water (bathing/swimming) until the glue has sufficiently set (at least 5 days.) One of the worst we saw was one of the few dogs that got stitches and he had a reaction to the stitch material. In 99.9 % of our dogs you wouldn't know by the next day that they had even had surgery. The point of all of this is to say that I can't figure out why I hear so many scary tales of things gone wrong. We use a high volume spay/neuter clinic which has vet students doing surgeries and yet we have such a lower incidence of negative occurences. I just wonder about the competency of many vets out there..........
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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rad10, my comment was not meant to upset you. for some reason i didn't finish my sentence which should have included "or the post op instructions were not made clear to you". it is also possible there was nothing you could have done to prevent this.

Last edited by huntergreen; 01-08-2014 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm sorry your dog is having such terrible complications! The last foster I had neutered had a little swelling but not that much and I didn't keep him crated. I kept him quiet but did take him for short leash walks several times a day.

It sounds like there is something else going on. especially if the site was very swollen when you picked him up: perhaps an allergy to the stitches or something else?

I hope he improves quickly!
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