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Glossary Term: Dehiscence


Definition: Pronunciation Key: Dee-hiss'-ense

In medical terms, a dehiscence is an opening up; usually thought of relative to a surgical suture line. Dehiscence can also mean an opening of an organ and the release of contents.1

This term also applies to botany, where a fruit or pollen-producing structure matures and releases the fruit or pollen.

If your pet has recently had surgery, it is crucial to keep your pet physically calm and prevent him/her from chewing and licking at the sutures (stitches) to prevent a dehiscence.

For a "non-invasive" surgery, such as a small skin tumor removal with 2-3 sutures, a dehiscence is probably not a major emergency and can wait until your veterinarian's office is open. It is important to keep the wound clean and free from the self-induced trama of licking, chewing and scratching.

If your pet has had abdominal or other major surgery, it is advised to call your veterinarian immediately (please call the emergency service if your veterinarian is not available) to prevent serious complications. Abdominal surgery sites are generally closed in 3 or more layers, so the degree of dehiscence can be minor or major, depending on what layer(s) open up. It is wise to have a veterinarian examine your pet with any questions about sutures coming out early post surgery.

Keeping your pet physically calm and not allowing any licking or chewing at the suture area will help ensure post surgery healing success! Reference:
1Dictionary reference

Veterinary Glossary Index

Pronunciation: Dee-hiss'-enseAudio Link
Common Misspellings: dehissence, dehissance, dehisence, dehisince
John's dog escaped from her run the day after her spay surgery, and was found the next day with a small abdominal dehiscence.

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