Educational Articles

Surgical Conditions

  • One of the more common and potentially life-threatening conditions seen in veterinary practice is foreign body obstruction. Some foreign bodies pass through the intestinal tract, but if an obstruction occurs, surgical removal of the blocked object is the only treatment. Clinical signs may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy. X-rays are typically performed to diagnose foreign bodies. The prognosis is variable depending upon multiple factors.

  • Otitis interna can cause some significant signs in your cat, including drooling from the side of the mouth, difficulty eating, inability to blink, and drooping eyelids, lips, and nostril on the affected side. If the specific cause can be identified, such as bacterial or fungal infection, treatment could involve long-term medications. Less commonly, surgery may be needed. Many cats will respond to treatment and recover well.

  • Otitis interna can cause some significant signs in your dog, including reluctance to eat, head tilt, alteration in balance, and reduced hearing on the affected side. If the specific cause can be identified, such as bacterial or fungal infection, treatment could involve long-term medications. Less commonly, surgery may be needed. Many dogs will respond to treatment and recover well.

  • An insulinoma is a tumor that involves the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells are the cells that produce the hormone insulin. Insulinomas are surprisingly common in ferrets.

  • A joint luxation is a dislocation or complete separation between the bones that normally articulate to form a joint. Subluxation is the term referring to a partial separation of the joint. The most commonly subluxated joint in cats is the hip, although any joint can be affected. Your veterinarian may be suspicious of a joint subluxation based on a history of trauma and physical examination findings such as pain and limping. A radiograph is necessary to definitively diagnose a joint subluxation. In many cases, the joint can be reduced or replaced to its original orientation by a procedure called a closed reduction with prognosis being good if treated immediately.

  • A joint luxation is a dislocation or complete separation between the bones that normally articulate to form a joint. Subluxation is the term referring to a partial separation of the joint. The most commonly subluxated joints in dogs include the hip and elbow, although any joint can be affected. Your veterinarian may be suspicious of a joint subluxation based on a history of trauma and physical examination findings such as pain and limping. A radiograph is necessary to definitively diagnose a joint subluxation. In many cases, the joint can be reduced or replaced to its original orientation by a procedure called a closed reduction with prognosis being good if treated immediately.

  • Juvenile hyperparathyroidism is a rare, inherited condition of German Shepherds. This condition causes the parathyroid glands, four small glands that are located in the neck near the thyroid gland, to produce abnormally large amounts of parathyroid hormone.

  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a condition that is also commonly referred to as dry eye. It is a common eye condition resulting from inadequate production of the aqueous portion of the tear film by the lacrimal gland or the third eyelid gland. Any condition that impairs the ability to produce adequate amounts of tear film can result in dry eye. Most dogs with KCS have painful, red, and irritated eyes leading to squinting. The treatment of dry eye is to stimulate tear production and to replace tear film. The prognosis for dogs diagnosed with KCS has never been better.

  • Lameness refers to an inability to properly use one or more limbs. It is most often associated with pain or injury. The most common causes of acute or sudden lameness in dogs are soft tissue injury (strain or sprain), injury to a joint, bone fracture, or dislocation. Osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia may also cause lameness in dog. Your veterinarian will determine the best course of action based on your pet's condition and the results of diagnostic tests. Lameness of unknown origin is common in dogs of all types and sizes. In some cases, a trial with anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary.

  • Laryngeal paralysis is a condition that causes dysfunction of the larynx causing reduced ability to breathe deeply and can obstruct the airway. It can be a congenital condition of young dogs or may be due to a neuromuscular disease in older dogs. Clinical signs include coughing, noisy breathing, exercise intolerance, and there may be a change in the sound of the bark. Definitive diagnosis is made thorough examination of the larynx with an endoscope or laryngoscope under sedation. Treatment of mild cases involves environmental management to reduce any stress to the larynx with medications used for flareups. More severe or congenital cases require surgery.