Full Thickness Skin Grafting in Eighty Clinical Cases of Wounds in Companion Dogs
S.V. Vishwasrao, PhD (Surgery)
Associate Professor, Bombay Veterinary College, In Charge Veterinary Polyclinic, Teaching Veterinary Clinical Complex Goregaon East
Skin wounds are the most common injuries seen by veterinarians where there has been a considerable skin loss. Skin grafting is one of the methods of choice for effective and early management of wounds in pets. Skin Grafting can be simply defined as a piece of skin transplanted to replace a lost portion of skin surface. Defects on limbs and face of present problem because the adjacent skin that can be bought over the site is limited. The modern surgeon dealing with wounds is concerned not only with wound healing but obtaining a better final surface and shortening the convalesce of the patient.
Analysis of cases at the Animal Hospital in Mumbai, India, revealed that out of 5760 dogs admitted during three years period 2340(40%) cases were of wound alone. The aim of present study was to compare free full thickness and mesh skin grafting in terms of (i) viability, (ii) suitability for covering wounds, (iii) to suggest suitable donor area, (iv) to suggest most appropriate grafts that could be cosmetically acceptable, (v) to formulate guide lines for selection of clinical cases for grafting.
Material and Methods
Autogenous Skin Grafting was carried out under general anesthesia on eighty clinical cases of wounds in dogs over a three year period, which were divided into two groups of 40 cases each. Each group was subdivided into two subgroups A and B. In group A skin grafting was carried out on the head while in subgroup B skin grafting was carried out on the limbs. All dogs were adults and weighing over 10 kg body weight. Care was taken to ensure that the dogs were free from underlining infection before skin grafting. Skin grafting procedure was carried out by following steps: 1) Presurgical evaluation of the patient. 2) Preparation of recipient site. 3) General anesthesia. 4) Skin grafting procedure, harvesting skin from donor site and transplantation. 5) Closure of donor area. 6) Post operative care of grafts. 7) Evaluation of the graft.
Results and Conclusion
Full thickness skin grafts were accepted in 16.6% of cases. These grafts showed sparse hair growth, were pliable, lighter shade of pigment in the centre while periphery remained pigmented. Cosmetically acceptable coverage was obtained. In mesh grafts 63.3% viability was obtained, these grafts showed sparse hair growth, had pigment gain and become progressively darker. Cosmetically undesirable diamond shaped pattern was obtained. Loss of grafts was because of accumulation of fluids below the grafts, imperfect immobilization, infection, mutilation of the graft and irregular recipient bed. Medial aspect of thigh is the most suitable donor site. Restraint effective bandaging and possibility of contamination are major problems in dogs. In spite of these problems it is possible to accomplish free full thickness and mesh skin grafting in dogs. These grafts hasten the healing process and minimize blemishes. The amount of aftercare required and the variable results have indicated that skin grafting procedure can be used in certain selected cases that do not heal by conventional methods and where minimum scar formation is important.