I have known Princess since she was a puppy and that made it even more difficult to see her in bad shape. When I came into the exam room, she was on her side and didn’t even get up to greet me. She had escaped from her yard on Memorial Day and was found three days later. Luckily, she has a collar with her name and number embroidered on it and is also microchipped. If it weren’t for that, she may not have gotten the medical attention she needed right away.
Unfortunately, she needed a lot of attention. At first she just looked like she had some matted mud and dirt in her gorgeous husky coat, but upon closer look it was matted with dirt and infection. As we started to shave her hair we noticed not only wounds, but thousands of maggots! Infected skin had attracted flies to deposit their eggs and shortly thereafter, Princess was hosting their young. Some skin was so diseased, it could be peeled away. Some tissue could be scrubbed dry only to watch it become moist with infection seconds later. Our best theory was that she was attacked by coyotes and that most of the injuries were made as she struggled to get free.
We knew from experience that she could heal and that in the coming days, more skin which once looked healthy could start to look bad. That bad skin would end up becoming leathery, die and need to be removed. She started eating, taking her medication and was doing well, but over the next few days, she stopped eating and became more lethargic. She needed to be hospitalized and given intravenous(IV) fluids. The wounds had seeped so much that she lost valuable proteins; therefore, we had to give her fluids rich in a molecule that mimics naturally-produced protein. If she did not have this, fluid given IV would not stay in the vessels, but would leak out into her chest or her abdomen and not get to the tissues and organs where it was so desperately needed.
She continued to fight, but her recovery was slow initially and it was taking a toll on the family both emotionally and financially. The family remained strong and never gave up on her, and we all reaped the benefits by watching her make a wonderful recovery. The going was slow initially, but I have never seen wounds heal so fast.
If a wound is not sutured closed, it can heal, but the healing is slow. Sutures bring healthy wound edges together and the edges of the wound contain substances that allow a seal to form which usually heal nearly completely in a week. If the edges are not closed, the wound has to fill in naturally. The wound heals in from the bottom up eventually forming a bright pink, glistening, bumpy bed of healthy tissue called granulation tissue. Concurrently, the wound begins to contract inwards from the outer edges. Scar tissue is formed and it is always a waiting game to see how much of the new tissue will grow hair. In Princess’s case, she is growing hair on almost every part of the healed wound although some of it will likely be darker than before.
I apologize for the lapse in my blog for those of you who read, but I thought her story should be told as it is informative and inspirational. Thank you to our whole staff as nearly every doctor saw Princess during this time, countless assistants and technicians helped with wound care. Thank you also to those who returned her and especially to her wonderful family who ensured someone knew who her family was and that the family she would be returned to would love her back to health.
Thanks for reading!