Middlesex Veterinary Center

Veterinary Surgery in Littleton

As pet owners, we want to do everything in our power to keep our furry friends healthy and happy. However, sometimes our pets may require more than just routine check-ups and vaccinations. In some cases, veterinary surgery may be necessary to improve or maintain the health of our beloved animals. We will discuss the importance of veterinary surgery and how it can benefit your pet's overall well-being.

Board-Certified Surgeon

We partner with a board-certified surgeon from the renowned Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine who performs surgeries in our office for pets requiring a surgical specialist. Orthopedic and other complicated surgeries are performed by Dr. Robert McCarthy of Tufts, who is typically available on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Soft Tissue Surgery

Soft tissue surgery is a type of surgery that involves operating on the soft tissues of the body, such as muscles, organs, and blood vessels. This type of surgery is commonly performed on pets to treat a variety of conditions, including tumors, injuries, and congenital defects.

Soft tissue surgery is important for maintaining the overall health and well-being of your pet. It can help to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that may be affecting your pet's quality of life. For example, if your pet has a tumor, soft tissue surgery can remove it before it becomes a more serious issue. Additionally, soft tissue surgery can help to prevent the spread of diseases and infections, which can be life-threatening for your pet.

Common Procedures

There are several common procedures that fall under the category of soft tissue surgery. These include:

  • Tumor removal
  • Bladder stone removal
  • Hernia repair
  • Wound repair
  • Biopsies
  • Spaying and neutering

These procedures are essential for maintaining the health and well-being of your pet. They can help to prevent serious health issues and improve your pet's quality of life.

Spay/Neuter Procedure

Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that involve removing the reproductive organs of a pet. Spaying is the removal of a female animal's ovaries and uterus, while neutering is the removal of a male animal's testicles. These procedures are performed by a veterinarian and are considered routine surgeries.

Why is it Important?

  • Population control: One of the main reasons why spaying and neutering are important is to control the pet population. Every year, millions of cats and dogs end up in shelters, and many of them are euthanized due to overpopulation. By spaying and neutering pets, we can prevent unwanted litters and reduce the number of animals in shelters.
  • Health Benefits: Spaying and neutering also have numerous health benefits for pets. Females have a lower risk of mammary cancer, especially if spayed before the first heat cycle; eliminated risk of uterine and ovarian cancers and infections. Males have a reduced risk of testicular cancer and virtually eliminates the risks of cancer, abscesses, and hyperplasia of the prostate gland. These procedures can also help reduce behavioral issues such as aggression and roaming.
  • Cost savings: Spaying and neutering can also save pet owners money in the long run. The cost of caring for a litter of puppies or kittens can be expensive, and unexpected medical issues can arise during pregnancy and birth. By spaying and neutering, pet owners can avoid these potential costs and also save money on licensing fees for unaltered pets.

Although spaying and neutering can be done safely as early as 2-4 months old, we recommend it be done at 6 months of age in order to check for deciduous teeth (retained baby teeth) which can be removed during the spay/neuter surgery.

We recommend spay or neuter between 6 and 12 months of age, but we can also discuss the risks and benefits of spaying/neutering at a later age.

Mass Removal

As a pet owner, it can be a scary and stressful experience to find a mass on your pet. However, it is important to remember that not all masses are cancerous and that there are options for removal.

What is a Mass?

A mass, also known as a tumor, is an abnormal growth of cells in the body. These can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Masses can occur in any part of the body and can vary in size and shape. Some common signs of a mass include lumps or bumps on the skin, changes in behavior or appetite, and difficulty breathing or moving.

What To Expect If Your Pet Has a Mass?

If your pet has a mass, we will first perform a physical exam and may recommend further diagnostic testing such as blood work, x-rays, or a biopsy to determine the type of mass and the best course of treatment. In rare cases a very small mass can be removed in an initial exam, but more typically surgical removal is recommended for most masses.

During the surgery, your pet will be placed under general anesthesia to ensure they are comfortable and do not feel any pain. The mass will then be carefully removed, along with a small margin of healthy tissue to ensure all of the abnormal cells are removed. The incision will be closed with sutures and your pet will be monitored during recovery.

Benefits of Mass Removal

The main benefit of mass removal is the removal of potentially harmful or cancerous cells from your pet's body. This can improve their overall health and prevent the mass from growing or spreading to other areas of the body. Additionally, removing a mass can also improve your pet's quality of life by reducing discomfort or pain caused by the mass.

Gastrointestinal Procedures

Veterinary gastrointestinal procedures are surgeries that involve the digestive system of animals. This can include the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and other organs involved in digestion. These procedures are performed by a veterinarian and are often necessary to diagnose and treat various conditions in pets.

Common Veterinary Gastrointestinal Procedures

There are several types of gastrointestinal procedures that are commonly performed on pets. These include:

  • Gastrotomy: This is a surgical procedure that involves making an incision in the stomach to remove foreign objects or tumors.
  • Enterotomy: Similar to a gastrotomy, this procedure involves making an incision in the intestines to remove foreign objects or tumors.

Why Are Veterinary Gastrointestinal Procedures Necessary?

There are several reasons why a pet may need a gastrointestinal procedure. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Foreign object ingestion: Pets, especially dogs, are known for eating things they shouldn't. This can include toys, socks, rocks, and other objects that can become lodged in the digestive tract and cause blockages.
  • Tumors: Just like humans, pets can develop tumors in their digestive system. These can be benign or malignant and may need to be removed surgically.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: This is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged portions of the digestive tract.
  • Anal gland issues: Anal glands are small sacs located near a pet's anus that can become infected or impacted, causing discomfort and pain. Surgery may be necessary to remove the glands in severe cases.
  • Gastrointestinal blockages: In some cases, pets may have a blockage in their digestive tract that prevents food from passing through. This can be caused by foreign objects, tumors, or other conditions and may require surgery to remove the blockage.

Splenectomy Surgery

If your pet has been diagnosed with a splenic tumor or other condition that requires a splenectomy, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to expect.

A splenectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing the spleen, an organ located in the abdomen that plays a role in filtering blood and fighting infection. While it may sound daunting, this procedure is commonly performed by veterinarians and can greatly improve your pet's health and quality of life.

What is a Splenectomy?

A splenectomy is the surgical removal of the spleen, a small organ located in the abdomen near the stomach. The spleen plays a role in filtering blood, removing old or damaged red blood cells, and fighting infection.

Why is a Splenectomy Necessary?

The most common reason for a splenectomy in pets is the presence of a splenic tumor. These tumors can be either benign or malignant, and can cause a variety of symptoms such as abdominal pain, weight loss, and anemia. In some cases, the tumor may rupture, causing life-threatening internal bleeding.

A splenectomy is often recommended in cases of splenic tumors to remove the source of the symptoms and prevent further complications.

Other Conditions

In addition to splenic tumors, there are other conditions that may require a splenectomy, including:

  • Splenic torsion: a condition where the spleen twists on itself, cutting off blood flow and causing severe pain and potential organ damage.
  • Splenic abscess: a collection of pus in the spleen, often caused by infection.
  • Splenic hematoma: a collection of blood in the spleen, often caused by trauma.

Foreign Body Removal

A veterinary foreign body removal surgery is a surgical procedure performed by a veterinarian to remove foreign objects that have been ingested by a pet. These objects can include anything from small toys and bones to household items like socks or coins. If left untreated, these foreign bodies can cause blockages in the digestive tract, leading to serious health complications.

Signs That Your Pet May Need a Surgical Extraction

If your pet has ingested a foreign object, they may exhibit certain symptoms that can indicate the need for a surgical extraction. These symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain

In some cases, the foreign object may be visible in your pet's stool. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

The Surgical Procedure

The first step in a veterinary foreign body removal surgery is a thorough examination of your pet. This may include X-rays or ultrasounds to locate the foreign object and determine the best course of action. In some cases, the object may be able to pass through the digestive tract naturally, but if it is causing a blockage or other complications, surgery may be necessary.

During the surgery, your pet will be placed under general anesthesia to ensure their comfort and safety. The veterinarian will make an incision in the abdomen to access the digestive tract and remove the foreign object. In some cases, the object may have caused damage to the surrounding tissue, and the veterinarian may need to perform additional procedures to repair any damage.

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