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Comparison of the role of the subcutaneous tissues in cutaneous wound healing in the dog and cat.

Bohling MW, et al. Vet Surg. 2006.


OBJECTIVE: To describe and compare the contribution of the subcutaneous tissues to 1st and 2nd intention cutaneous wound healing in the dog and cat.

STUDY DESIGN: Experimental study.

ANIMALS: Domestic shorthaired cats (n=6) and 6 beagle dogs.

METHODS: Paired wounds were created on either side of the dorsal midline; the subcutaneous tissue was removed on 1 side and left intact on the other. Square, open wounds of the dorsal aspect of the thorax were observed for 21 days to monitor granulation tissue formation, wound contraction, epithelialization, and total healing (contraction+epithelialization). Breaking strength of sutured linear wounds was measured 7 days after wounding. Laser-Doppler perfusion imaging (LDPI) was used to measure cutaneous perfusion.

RESULTS: First intention healing: subcutaneous tissue removal had no consistent effect on sutured wound strength at 7 days in dogs or cats. Second intention healing: removal of subcutaneous tissue reduced wound perfusion, granulation, contraction, epithelialization, and total healing. Granulation tissue formation and wound contraction were delayed to a significantly greater degree in cats than in dogs (P<.05). Two dogs (33%) had minor wound infections.

CONCLUSIONS: The subcutaneous tissues make an important contribution to 2nd intention cutaneous healing. Dog and cat wounds had delayed 2nd intention healing when subcutaneous tissues were removed; wounds in dogs, but not cats, had largely recovered from this delay by 21 days.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Extensive debridement of subcutaneous tissue may delay wound healing particularly in feline patients. A higher risk for wound infections may accompany extensive removal of subcutaneous tissues in dogs.


16409403 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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