Objectives: To describe the use of absorbable gelatin sponges as haemostatic implants in clinical veterinary surgical cases and to document any related postoperative complications.
Methods: Practice databases were searched for the product names “Gelfoam” and “Spongostan”. Patient records were retrieved and data regarding patient signalment, surgical procedure, National Resource Council (NRC) wound classification, source of haemorrhage, pre- and postoperative body temperature, postoperative complications, time to discharge and details of any postoperative imaging were recorded and reviewed. Follow-up information was obtained by repeat clinical examination or telephone interview with either the owner or referring veterinary surgeon. Cases with incomplete surgical records or those which were not recovered from anaesthesia were excluded from the analysis.
Results: Fifty cases (44 dogs and 6 cats) satisfied the inclusion criteria. Satisfactory haemostasis was achieved in 49 cases with one case requiring reoperation during which a second gelatin sponge was used. There were no detected hypersensitivity responses or confirmed postoperative complications relating to the use of gelatin sponges during the follow-up period (median 13 months).
Clinical Significance: This is the first review of the use of gelatin sponges in clinical veterinary surgery and suggests that gelatin sponges are safe to use in cats and dogs.