The cat slipped a stitch, what do we do?
September 26, 2011 1:17 AM   Subscribe

Our cat (and another pic!) was spayed on Thursday morning. It is now Sunday night and we've discovered that this afternoon one of the stitches came out (pic here - it is the bottom stitch). What do we do?

Complications: we're currently living on a Pacific island where vet services are minimal. If we take our cat back to have the stitch put in again, it will most likely mean a full general anaesthetic for the second time in five days (providing there is anaesthetic left - they tend to run out). We did think of using a band-aid/ plaster/ liquid band-aid - but I don't know anywhere that sells liquid band-aids here, and she'd most likely rip off a normal band-aid.

I will emphasise: she isn't ripping at the stitches or anything - we think the stitch cut through the skin on one side of the wound when she got incredibly skittish this afternoon and decided to run around the house at speed (since then we've been keeping her in one room).

She had an antibiotic shot yesterday. The wound isn't bleeding and has begun to heal, but I'm looking for advice on what the safest course of action is.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
I wouldn't worry about it for tonight, as long as the site of the wound looks okay. When cats are spayed, there are usually a couple of layers of stitches (internal and external). Just call your vet in the morning and ask their opinion. I would guess that they aren't going to restitch her, but I'm not a vet. (Even if I were a vet, it is your vet's opinion that counts here.) She's a cute thing--good luck!
posted by studioaudience at 2:03 AM on September 26, 2011

Oh what a cutie!

The stitches are just to help the wound stay closed while it heals. If it looks like it's healing okay and not bleeding and no additional stitches are coming out, you're probably okay.
(I had something similar happen when I was, er, spayed, and the only side effect was a bit of a wider scar at that part of the scar.)
posted by rmd1023 at 5:08 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wound looks ok, no inflammation to indicate infection, so you're ok for now.

Liquid band-aid: off-the-shelf superglue works fine for wound closure.
posted by FrereKhan at 5:17 AM on September 26, 2011

Came to say to just let it be, and that the picture with the coconuts is awesome.
posted by Tarumba at 6:01 AM on September 26, 2011

Agreed on the cat, she is adorable! Wouldn't worry about it the missing stitch unless it either becomes red and inflamed or your cat begins to give it a lot of attention (licking at it or biting at the remaining stitches).
posted by Jayed at 6:14 AM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yep, like everyone else said, just leave it be unless it becomes swollen/irritated/infected. It looks fine in that photo, I wouldn't worry at all. (She's a cutie! I love dilute torties!)
posted by strega_bianca at 6:18 AM on September 26, 2011

I would bet that they already used a glue inside of the wound in addition to the sutures. It looks fine. The safest course of action is not to mess with it. Don't worry unless it turns into a red & irritated looking mess.
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:28 AM on September 26, 2011

I think the critical period for stitches is the first 24-36 hours, and after that they just make for a prettier closure. There's probably some side effect of reminding the animal to chill a little, but she's got enough stitches left for that (also, she's a cat, she's not going to chill if she doesn't wanna).

Like bolognius maximus says, there will be an internal closure of some kind (could be glue, might be dissolving stitches) holding the musculature closed, and that too begins to knit very quickly.

It's best if you can keep that bit clean for a day or two more, but by now she's probably doing that herself.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:34 AM on September 26, 2011

If you think you have to close the wound or hold it closed, crazy glue will work in a pinch. At least it works on my arms and hands when I need it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:32 AM on September 26, 2011

I am not a vet, but I have used vet wrap to bandage my pets when I don't want them biting or scratching themselves. It is stretchy, breathable and it sticks to itself. If you have a farm supply store or some place that caters to horses, I would check there.
posted by desjardins at 7:43 AM on September 26, 2011

Another vote for leaving it alone. My cat popped one of her stitches a little less than 24 hours after she was spayed. The anesthetic wore off, and she was tearing through the house at full-speed. Called the vet, who told me to keep an eye on it. As long as it's not inflamed or bleeding, she should be fine. Hyper cats are... hyper (I call mine Spazticat in this mode), which is why they tend to stitch in layers.
posted by MuChao at 9:08 AM on September 26, 2011

It looks fine to me, but if it starts weeping fluids (especially off-colored ones, like yellow), get her to the vet.

On second thought, I'm pretty sure you need to send her to me so I can personally examine her. I "promise" I'll send her back. No, really.

posted by cooker girl at 7:05 PM on September 26, 2011

Thanks so much everyone! Just a quick follow-up...

I kept the incision site clean using ethanol wipes and it's looking pretty good. We'll take our cat to have her stitches out at the 10 day mark - the only outcome of that one slipped stitch seems to be a little bit of scar tissue, but nothing more.

Thanks for all the advice (and compliments on our island kitty)!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 5:11 PM on September 30, 2011

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