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Post-surgical evisceration with or without auto-cannibalism in 333 dogs - a survey of veterinarians

Mark Rishniw,Lori R Kogan.


Background: Few reports of post-surgical evisceration exist.
Aims: To collect a large case series of dogs experiencing post-surgical evisceration, with or without autocannibalism.
Methods: We surveyed practicing veterinarians who were members of the Veterinary Information Network about their experiences with post-surgical evisceration in dogs, variably accompanied by auto-cannibalism (ingestion of eviscerated organs or tissues). Responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: We identified 333 cases with sufficient information for analysis: 221 with evisceration and autocannibalism, and 112 with just evisceration. Most cases occurred following surgery for reproductive reasons (desexing, ceasarian section, pyometra). Most occurred in young adult or adult dogs. Most dogs received analgesia perioperatively, had routine closure (simple interrupted or simple continuous muscle layer closure) and most did not wear an E-collar post-surgically. Most dogs eviscerated within 3 days of the initial surgery. Approximately 64% underwent surgical repair and survived long-term without complications, more frequently if the evisceration was not accompanied by auto-cannibalism.
Conclusion: Our study suggests that post-surgical evisceration and auto-cannibalism can generally be successfully managed by practitioners, and does not confer a uniformly poor outcome for the dog.

Key words: dehiscence, eventration, ovariohysterectomy, surgery, trauma

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