Wound Soaker Catheters

At the Foster Hospital for Small Animals and Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment and Specialties (Tufts VETS), we have been using wound soaker catheters routinely since 2004 for infusion of lidocaine (dogs) and intermittent bupivacaine injection in cats after a variety of procedures. These include  limb amputation, ear canal ablation, intercostal and sternal thoracotomy, celiotomy, and soft tissue tumor excision.

This dog, shown the evening after a thoracotomy, has a wound soaker catheter placed in a median sternotomy incision. Both the wound soaker (lowermost) and thoracic drain (uppermost) can be seen. He is ambulatory and comfortable.

Two of our anesthesiology/pain medicine specialists, Dr. Emily McCobb and Dr. Cheryl Blaze, collaborated with experts at Mila International (Erlanger, KY) to develop the competitively priced veterinary catheters. Qualitatively, we find that the pain relief afforded to patients is excellent. Dogs recovering from an intercostal thoracotomy will lie on the side of the incision, which suggests that they are quite comfortable. Perhaps the most compelling application is the use of wound soakers for limb amputation. In fact, the use of wound soaker catheters has become a common and preferred amputation pain management technique in many hospitals. Patients are comfortable upon recovery from anesthesia, will stand, walk and eliminate with ease, and generally will eat the first postoperative night. Continue reading

Clinical Case Challenge

Anesthesia and Pain Case Challenge

History: An 8 year old, 30 kg, mixed breed dog presents with recent onset of left hind leg lameness.  Radiographs and subsequent biopsy reveal the presence of an osteosarcoma of the distal femur. The decision to amputate the limb is made. How would you manage this dog’s acute perioperative pain using a wound soaker catheter? Calculate doses and volumes of local anesthetic needed to maintain pain control, and duration of treatment.

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