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Dogs + Surgical Conditions

  • Anal sac disease is a common problem in dogs that can be very uncomfortable or painful. Signs to watch for, diagnosis, and treatments, including identifying and managing underlying causes are outlined in this handout.

  • Anesthesia is accomplished by administering drugs that depress nerve function. It is important that you fully understand what will happen to your pet, and that you acknowledge that you understand the risks. Anesthetic monitoring in a veterinary hospital is similar to that found in any human hospital. With today's anesthetics, many of which are reversible, your pet should be almost completely normal by the time of discharge.

  • Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive therapy that is used to examine, diagnose, and treat diseases and conditions that affect joints. It requires a specialized piece of equipment called an arthroscope which will allow your veterinarian to look inside the joint using a small fiber optic camera that is hooked up to a monitor. It often requires general anesthesia; however, small incisions in the joint allow for a quicker recovery than traditional methods allow. The recovery time will depend on the extent of the injury, but compared to traditional surgery, recovery time is generally much shorter.

  • Bandages and splints protect an injured or wounded area of the body. It is important to closely monitor your dog’s bandage or splint to ensure it does not slip or become wet or soiled and to ensure there is no discharge or foul odors indicating infection. This handout explains optimal bandage and splint care for your dog at home as well as possible complications that will require veterinary attention.

  • Bites wounds are one of the most common reasons dogs are seen for emergency appointments with their veterinarians. The dog's teeth and jaws are very powerful and the wounds they inflict can crush or tear muscles and skin, penetrate through the chest wall and cause lung collapse, or cause serious or fatal damage to intestinal organs. All bite wounds are considered to be contaminated and/or infected. Left untreated, the bacteria in an infected bite wound will cause a localized abscess or more generalized cellulitis that spreads through the surrounding area. All bite wounds should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Treatment will depend on the extent of the injuries, your dog's general health, and the location of the wounds.

  • Bladder stones are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. The most common signs that a dog has bladder stones are hematuria and dysuria. Bladder stones can develop within a few weeks or they may take months to form. Most bladder stones are visible on radiographs or an ultrasonic bladder examination. There are three main treatment options for bladder stones: 1) surgical removal; 2) non-surgical removal by urohydropropulsion, or 3) dietary dissolution. Prevention is possible in some cases, depending on the chemical composition of the stones.

  • Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is an acute life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with large amounts of air and then twists around effectively cutting off the outputs to the esophagus and intestine. It then continues to expand putting pressure on the mucosa, major vessels and diaphragm. Because of the constriction of major vessels returning to the heart, a dog will collapse from lack of oxygen and nutrients to vital organs. Underlying causes are still a mystery but most dogs affected are large breed, deep chested male dogs although any dog can experience GDV. There is a definite risk in dogs that have eaten large meals and then exercise. Bloat may be diagnosed by physical exam but radiographs and other testing is needed to show volvulus. Treatment involves decompressing the stomach with a stomach tube or a percutaneous catheter, shock treatment with IV fluids and emergency medications, surgery to correct the volvulus and identify and remove any necrotic areas of stomach or spleen. Mortality rate ranges from 15-40% in treated cases. There is no guaranteed prevention for GDV but gastropexy can reduce the risk. Attention to diet, feeding and exercise may also prevent gastric dilation.

  • This handout summarizes the most common forms of lameness in growing dogs. Included are osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), panosteitis, hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD), elbow dysplasia, ununited anconeal process (UAP), fragmented coronoid process (FCP), patellar luxation, and hip dysplasia. Clinical signs for each of these conditions, along with treatment options, is discussed.

  • Bowel incontinence refers to the loss of the ability to control bowel movements. There are two broad causes of fecal incontinence: reservoir incontinence and sphincter incontinence. In reservoir incontinence, intestinal disease interferes with the rectum’s ability to store normal volumes of feces. In sphincter incontinence, a structural or neurologic lesion prevents the anal sphincter from closing normally. Clinical signs, diagnostic testing, and treatment vary based upon the underlying cause.

  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome refers to a particular set of upper airway abnormalities that affect brachycephalic dogs. The most common sign of the condition is mouth breathing and, in the long term, the increased effort associated with breathing can put a strain on the dog’s heart. Surgery is the treatment of choice whenever the anatomical abnormalities interfere with a dog’s breathing.