We provide many surgical services at our clinic including routine spay and neuters, soft-tissue surgeries and orthopedic surgeries. Occasionally, we refer our patients to specialists (board-certified veterinary surgeons) to perform complex operations.
Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring
The types of anesthesia used and patient monitoring techniques vary greatly among veterinary hospitals. When choosing your pet’s surgical facility, be sure to question the types of anesthetics used and the protocols in which they monitor anesthesia. More often than not, the more expensive anesthetics are safest to use, but anesthetics are also chosen for other reasons such as their ability to control pain. Different types of anesthetics are:
Tranquilization or sedation is used to calm an animal under various conditions. The animal is usually awake or may sleep, but is easily aroused when stimulated. Pet owners frequently request sedation for their animals during travel, thunderstorms, or fireworks. Sedation and tranquilization are not without risk and each individual patient needs to be assessed prior to dispensing these medications.
2. General Anesthesia
A general anesthetic results in a loss of consciousness in the animal and a loss of sensation throughout the entire body. Most general anesthetic procedures involve several steps beginning with the administration of a sedative. An intravenous injection of an anesthetic renders the animal unconscious while a breathing tube is placed into the animal’s trachea. A gas anesthetic is delivered in combination with oxygen to the animal via the breathing tube to maintain the state of unconsciousness. Although general anesthetics are significantly safer than they have been in the past, there is still the remote chance of an anesthetic accident. There are many ways to reduce the risk associated with anesthesia including a thorough physical examination and pre-surgical blood work. Anesthetic monitoring equipment and protocol can also contribute to a safer anesthesia.
During anesthesia, our patient’s vital signs are monitored closely by a veterinary nurse. Your pet’s heart rate, respiratory rate, capillary refill time, blood pressure, EKG, and temperature are charted and recorded every five minutes. A change in blood pressure is an early indication of a likely problem. Monitoring our patient’s vital signs so closely during anesthesia allows early intervention on our part and prevents anesthetic risks to your pet.
Spaying refers to the surgical procedure performed on female dogs and cats to render them infertile. There are many benefits to spaying your female companion. First, you will contribute to the prevention of the dog and cat overpopulation. Second, spaying will eliminate the sometimes ‘messy’ heat cycles that attract male dogs to your house from miles away. Third, you will help prevent diseases in your pet such as pyometra (infection in the uterus) and mammary cancer. Spaying involves surgical removal of both ovaries and the uterus. It can be performed under a number of anesthetics and monitoring devices. If you are shopping around for a competitive price on this procedure, be sure to question the type of anesthetic used and the monitoring equipment and procedures followed. We use several monitoring devices during your pet’s anesthetic. A veterinary technician continually assesses your pet’s vital signs during the procedure. Although the risk of an anesthetic death in a normal healthy pet is very rare, our monitoring devices and procedures allow us to respond to an anesthetic emergency faster. Faster responses can save lives.
Neutering refers to the surgical procedure performed on male dogs and cats to render them infertile. There are many benefits to neutering your male companion. First, you will contribute to the prevention of the dog and cat overpopulation. Second, neutering will eliminate undesirable and at times, embarrassing behavior in your male companion. Third, you will help prevent diseases in your pet such as prostate disease and testicular cancer. Neutering involves surgical removal of both testicles. It can be performed under a number of anesthetics and monitoring devices. If you are shopping around for a competitive price on this procedure, be sure to question the type of anesthetic used and the monitoring equipment and procedures followed. We use several monitoring devices during your pet’s anesthetic. A veterinary technician continually assesses your pet’s vital signs during the procedure. Although the risk of an anesthetic death in a normal healthy pet is very rare, our monitoring devices and procedures allow us to respond to an anesthetic emergency faster. Faster responses can save lives.
Soft Tissue Surgery
Soft tissue surgery includes surgeries not associated with bone. Examples of soft tissue surgeries and their benefits are listed below.
Probably the most common soft tissue surgery performed at our clinic is the removal of masses or ‘lumps’ on animals. Most of these masses or ‘lumps’, once removed and tested, are benign (non-harmful); however, occasionally they are more serious. Early removal and accurate diagnosis of a ‘lump’ is necessary to improve the outcome in your pet if the mass is cancerous. Lacerations are also common in pets and suturing will reduce the chance of infection, improve healing time and reduce scarring.
Many breeds of dogs are susceptible to ear infections. Surgical treatment on ears improves air flow into the ear canal and can reduce the occurrence of ear infections. Tearing in your pet’s eyes can mean an infection is present or it may be a sign the cornea (outer layer of the eye itself) has been damaged. A damaged cornea may require soft tissue surgery to allow the cornea to heal faster with less scarring. Less scarring will improve the ability of your pet to see. In some animals, the cornea (outer layer of the eye) may be damaged by the eyelid hairs surrounding the eye. Surgical intervention involving the eyelid improves the comfort in these animals. It also reduces the chances of corneal scarring and enhances the animal’s vision in the long term.
Orthopedic surgery refers to bone surgery. There are many different situations where bone surgery may be necessary including leg fractures, hip dysplasia, disc disease, etc. Most orthopedic surgeries can be performed at our clinic. Occasionally we refer our patients to a Board Certified surgeon to perform back surgery and other very complex surgeries. Leg fractures are the most common orthopedic problem presented at our clinic and usually result from a mishap with an automobile. They can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the location and type of fracture.
A cast can be applied to the leg to treat certain fractures; however, many fractures will require surgical intervention.
“Pinning” is a surgical technique whereby a long stainless steal rod is inserted into the middle of the bone. The rod traverses the fractured area.
“Plating” is a surgical technique whereby a flat stainless steal ‘plate’ is attached to the bone using screws on either side of the fracture.
“External fixation” is a technique used to stabilize fractures with a series of pins on the outside of the leg that pass through the skin and into the bone on either side of the fracture.
The method of repair will depend on the location and type of fracture present. We hope you do not have to use our orthopedic services for this purpose. In the unfortunate event that you do, you can be assured that we are able to proceed with a treatment that will enhance your pet’s healing time and reduce the long-term potential problems associated with a fracture or other orthopedic surgery.
The majority of your pet’s health needs will be met at our practice; however, there are circumstances where a veterinary specialist may be required. Under these circumstances, we may direct you and your pet to a specialist who is a veterinarian with advanced knowledge in a particular area of veterinary medicine or surgery. In some cases, specialized equipment is required to perform procedures that are not routinely performed by general veterinary practitioners. Examples of veterinary specialists include ophthalmologists, oncologists, surgeons, etc.