Last week I had an appointment on my schedule to see a mouse from the pet store with a bite wound. I didn’t know what to expect when his little white face peeked out from under his towel, but I soon found out that this was no ordinary lesion. The bite must have happened a while ago – at least a week or two – and gone undetected until it formed an abscess that ruptured, causing the skin over his back to slough off. The odor was terrible and the poor little mouse must have been in so much pain. I was very grateful that the pet store manager brought him in right away.
I spoke with the manager about my concerns. Over half of the mouse’s skin was missing and there was a deep infection present. We agreed that the most humane decision might be to put him to sleep. However, I obtained permission to surgically explore the wound under anesthesia before making this decision. Regardless, I went into the surgery with poor hopes for this little guy’s survival.
I held my breath in the operating room as I trimmed away the necrotic tissue to reveal whatever may lie underneath the sloughed skin. And to my great surprise, Mother Nature was way ahead of me. There was already a healthy bed of granulation tissue in the wound (the necessary first tissue in wound healing) and the edges had already reattached to the underlying muscle. There was still a serious infection and a large defect over the patient’s back, but there was also a chance that he could survive this injury with a little help.
Encouraged, I cleaned the wound and flushed it thoroughly with sterile saline. When the mouse awoke from anesthesia we decided to name him “Flap Jack” in honor of the flap of skin he now had to re-grow:
Flap Jack's injury on day 1 Continue reading