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  • Author or Editor: Ed J. Friend x
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Objective—To describe the outcome of full-thickness skin grafts used to close skin defects involving the distal aspects of the limbs in cats and dogs and identify factors associated with outcome.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—20 cats and 32 dogs with a skin defect involving the distal aspect of a limb that received 58 full-thickness skin grafts between 2005 and 2012.

Procedures—Data regarding patient signalment, location and cause of the skin defect, surgical and anesthetic duration, and postoperative bandaging protocol were obtained from the medical records. Graft outcome was assessed by interpreting descriptions in the records; skin viability over ≥ 75% of the graft area between 7 and 14 days after surgery was considered a successful outcome.

Results—For 4 of the 58 grafts, graft outcome could not be determined from the medical record. For the remaining grafts, success rate was significantly higher for grafts placed in cats (17/22 [77%]) than in dogs (12/32 [38%]). The overall complication rate was 50%; complications included skin graft failure, donor site dehiscence, and bandage-induced sloughing of skin adjacent to the graft recipient site. In addition to species, anatomic location of the skin defect was identified as a prognostic indicator of graft outcome.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Full-thickness skin grafting had a higher success rate in cats than in dogs. Skin grafts applied to the antebrachium, compared with other locations on the distal aspects of the limbs, were associated with a poorer prognosis.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association