Canine Foot Lesions: The Bandaged Dog

What you should know about lesions on the feet of dogs, especially surgical lesions. This is a post operative letter.

You’re getting this document because your dog has some sort of lesion on its foot. That could be a tumor, laceration or any kind of surgery.

Canine Foot Lesions: The Bandaged Dog

There are certain things, that just happen, every single time there are stitches in a dogs foot.

It doesn’t matter who your veterinarian is or what you do, it’s just the way it goes:

Number one: Stitches fall out

Face it, the dog is basically walking on it suture line and that kind of stretching and tearing is going to put a lot of pressure on the stitches and sooner or later, one or two of the stitches will pop. When that happens, a little bit of scar tissue fills in the gap which represents decent healing, but it does extend healing time past the normal seven or eight days it normally would take to heal.

Consider that every step the dog takes is pulling on the stitches, so the fewer steps it can take the longer the stitches will hold. But, some will pop. It is unavoidable.


Number two: Inflammation and Discharge Always Occur.

Again, the dog is walking on a surgery site and every step pushes and pulls on the line and keeps healing from occurring as quickly as other places. Discharges accumulate and at first, that requires frequent bandage changes to keep those secretions from setting up infections.

Number three: Bandages are pretty important.

At first, postoperatively, you will probably be coming to the office every day or every other day for bandage changes. That is dependent upon the estimated amount of discharges in the bandage that need to be removed. It is imperative that you keep the bandages changed according to plan, I appreciate that it is labor and time intensive, but that is the nature of lesions on the foot.

Number four: Abnormal tissues heal abnormally.
One of my reviews on Google hold that I did a poor surgery on the dogs foot because the surgery did not heal normally.

I would say that is a failure on my part to explain to the client when you remove cancer from tissues and you expect cancerous tissues to heal back normally, that is often a fail.

Of course when you go in you don’t know that you’re necessarily removing the cancer until later. So, when you are dealing with abnormal tissues, healing will often occur abnormally, whether that is delayed, weird looking, or painfully slow. A cut made by some glass in normal tissue heals a lot faster than a cut made surgically in cancerous tissue. That’s all I’m trying to get across.

Canine Foot Lesions: The Bandaged Dog

dog foot lesion
The bandaged foot has several identical principles.

The summary of this article occurs in five points

  1. Number one. Stitches always pop.
  2. Number two. Discharges always occur.
  3. Number three. Bandages require changes; sometimes frequently.
  4. Number four. Abnormal tissues heal abnormally.
  5. Number five. Every step the dog takes compromises the foot lesion, the fewer steps it takes, the longer the bandage and the stitches will last.


Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.