As the name suggests, general surgery cases include almost all of the parts of the body. It is important to understand how the various different body systems work together and to develop a surgical plan that fits accordingly. As board certified veterinarians, our surgeons have undergone extensive training to prepare them to handle a broad spectrum of cases. These cases involve diseases and conditions related to areas such as the abdominal cavity, lungs, skin, cardiovascular system, spleen, liver, and reproductive tract. Our surgeons are also equipped to handle trauma cases such as lacerations, burns, and blunt force injuries.
General Surgery at VSC
- How Is My Pet Prepared For Surgery?
- What Type Of Surgical Procedures Do You Offer?
- What is Esophogeal Surgery?
- What is Spleen, Liver, and Gall Bladder Surgery?
- What is Thoracic Surgery?
- What is Oral Surgery?
- What is GI and Abdominal Surgery?
- What is Cardiovascular Surgery?
- What is Lung Surgery?
- What is Skin Surgery?
How Is My Pet Prepared For Surgery?
The first step before performing an anesthetic procedure such as surgery is to make sure the patient can be safely placed under anesthesia. To do this, a veterinarian will perform a pre-op exam and run diagnostics (blood work and/or xrays) to determine if the patient is healthy enough for anesthesia. Once your pet is cleared for surgery, the veterinarian will place a catheter (if one has not been placed already) and administer an intravenous sedative. Your pet will then be intubated and connected to an anesthesia machine that provides a combination of oxygen and gas anesthetic.
At this point, a technician will note the time of intubation, and begin recording the patient’s vital signs (heart rate, respiration rate, temperature etc) until after surgery when the patient is awake. The final step before moving the patient to the surgical suite is cleaning the area where the veterinarian will be operating. This involves shaving a wide margin of hair to prevent contamination, and performing a preliminary cleansing scrub. Once this is complete, the patient is transferred to the operating room where the surgical site is receives a final scrubbing to sterilize it for surgery.
What Type Of Surgical Procedures Do You Offer?
In addition to the surgeries offered by our specialty orthopedic, and neurology veterinarians, we also regularly perform the general surgeries listed below:
- Wound repair
- Foreign body removal
- Gastropexy (attaching the stomach lining to the abdominal wall)
- Emergency C-section
- Abdominal exploratories
What is Esophogeal Surgery?
Conditions affecting the esophagus which may require surgery include foreign objects that cannot be removed with an endoscope, traumatic injuries, diverticula (outpouchings of the espophagus), cancer, and vascular ring anomalies,our veterinarians recommend surgery of the esophagus for treatment. Foreign bodies lodged in the esophagus as they travel through the chest require a thoracotomy to remove them. Any trauma to the esophagus by penetrating chest wounds or by damage from something that the animal may have swallowed might need to be addressed surgically, in order to prevent food and liquid from leaking from the esophagus into the chest.
What is Spleen, Liver, and Gall Bladder Surgery?
A hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is a common tumor of the spleen. HSA’s are usually seen in older dogs (8-10 years of age), and any large breed dog runs an increased risk to develop an HSA, especially German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labradors and poodles. Signs of HSA can be as subtle as weakness. Sometimes more obvious signs are present, such as collapse. If the mass ruptures and bleeds internally, an HSA can cause death. Surgery to treat an animal with HSA involves removal of the spleen (a splenectomy).
Surgery is the best treatment to treat a portosystemic shunt, an abnormal vessel that allows blood to bypass the liver. As a result of a shunt, the blood is not cleansed by one of the body’s filters: the liver. Generally the bile acids levels (after feeding a meal) in patients having a shunt are higher than 100. The overall success rate for surgery to address a portosystemic shunt is high, and in most cases, the pet will start to feel better with 10 to 14 days after surgery.
Gall bladder removal is a common method for the treatment of gall bladder disease. As with humans, the gall bladder can be removed in dogs and a normal life span can be expected. Cholecystoduodenostomy, another kind of gall bladder surgery that our physicians perform, involves dissecting the gall bladder from the liver, making a hole in the gall bladder and sewing it to a hole made in the small intestine. This procedure is, in essence, a by-pass for bile so that it no longer needs to flow through the common bile duct. Severe pancreatitis and the scarring or growth of a tumor in the bile duct are factors that lead to the necessity of this type of surgery.
What is Thoracic Surgery?
Thoracic surgery is surgery that involves the chest. A thoracic surgical procedure may be performed for diseases of the heart, lungs, esophagus, mediastinum or ribs. Thoracic surgery is done by way of a thoracotomy. One of two thoracotomy approaches can be used for thoracic surgery: 1) a median sternotomy, a procedure in which the physician makes an incision along the sternum (breastbone), or 2) an intercostal thoracotomy, a procedure in which the physician incises the muscles between the ribs and then spreads them. The problem that needs to be treated determines which approach will be implemented.
What is Oral Surgery?
The range of surgery that our physicians offer in this category is varied. We perform oral surgery to treat pets with jaw fractures, oral tumors, dislocated teeth, oronasal fistulas (an abnormal passageway between the nose and mouth), palatal defects, and oral tumors. Our physicians provide the highest quality anesthetic and oral surgical care to our patients.
What is GI and Abdominal Surgery?
Gastrointestinal (GI) surgery may be performed for a variety of reasons, including foreign body removal, cancer, ulcers, intussusception (a segment of bowel invaginates into an adjacent segment of bowel), trauma, or biopsies to diagnose certain diseases. Often GI surgery begins as an abdominal exploratory surgery, as the surgeon is searching for a problem that is suspected based on an ultrasound, radiograph or endoscopy. GI surgeries involve making an incision into the stomach, intestine, colon and/or esophagus, and then suturing the incision closed. With the exception of the esophagus, healthy GI tissues generally heal well.
Surgeries within the abdomen include removal of foreign bodies and tumors as well as exploratory surgery to assist with diagnosis and obtain biopsies for histopathology.
What is Cardiovascular Surgery?
There are a number of heart diseases that can be treated surgically. Hospitals utilize cardiac bypass equipment to perform surgeries on parts of the heart that would otherwise be inaccessible, like the valves and the walls of the chambers. At Veterinary Specialty Care, we perform cardiac surgeries that do not require cardiac bypass.
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is the most common congenital heart defect that occurs in dogs. It is the condition in which a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus fails to close normally soon after birth. Breeds commonly affected include Poodles, Keeshonds, Cocker spaniels, German shepherds, Pekinese, Collies, Shelties, Pomeranians and Welsh corgies. Females are at an increased risk for PDA, and a genetic basis is proven in poodles and suspected in other breeds. During fetal development the ductus arteriosus is a normal anatomical structure that allows fetal blood to bypass the lungs since they are not needed for oxygenation prior to birth. A PDA will produce a characteristic continuous heart murmur, which is often noted during the pet’s physical exam for initial vaccinations. Bounding pulses are also characteristic of a PDA.
Additional diagnostics that our veterinarians utilize to confirm the presence of a PDA are thoracic radiographs and an electrocardiogram. Surgical correction of a PDA is accomplished by the physician’s tying of the ducts to close the shunt.
Most dogs are discharged one or two days after surgery to recover at home, and the prognosis is often very good, especially if the condition is corrected before critical secondary changes in the heart have occurred.
What is Lung Surgery?
Leakage of air from a damaged lung can occur by way of trauma or diseases of the lungs that cause them to weaken. Air leakage may cease without actual surgery. Sometimes a procedure called thoracocentesis, whereby air is removed from the chest cavity with a needle and a syringe, is sufficient. A chest tube may need to be placed if air builds up on a continuous basis. If these procedures do not resolve the lung problem, then surgery becomes the best option.
What is Skin Surgery?
As a different brand of surgical treatment to address skin concerns, often reconstructive surgery is recommended for many wounds that dogs and cats incur. A wound that is located on the limbs may be reconstructed with skin flaps, which tend to be more resilient than skin grafts. A skin flap is a piece of skin that has its own blood supply and can be placed on a wound. Because this type of flap has its own blood supply, it is much more resistant to external factors, such as fluid accumulation beneath the flap, movement, and infection.