Pet owners have many more options than they used to when it comes to saving their pets’ lives and greatly improving the quality of their lives through surgery. Breakthroughs in human surgical techniques often make their way into veterinary medicine as well. Here are some of the latest heartwarming veterinary surgical success stories making headlines.
Veterinary neurologists can perform some amazing brain surgeries on pets. They are able to remove benign and cancerous tumors of the brain and spine. One lucky Australian goldfish named George recently made the news when a cancerous growth was removed from his head. Brain surgery can be done on pets for other conditions as well, such as correcting malformations and removing fluid from the brain.
Plastic surgery isn’t just for people. Many injured pets or those born with deformities have benefited from the plastic surgery skills of talented veterinarians. Kabang, a dog in the Philippines who lost her nose and much of the central part of her face in an accident, received skin grafts to repair the open wound, and can now eat and even smell normally. Vets have used tissue from the cheek and mouth to make eyelids for cats born without them. 3D printers are being used more and more to craft prosthetic limbs for dogs and cats, and even beaks for birds and shells for turtles.
Open Heart Surgery
Although not common, veterinary open heart surgery has helped save the lives of dogs and cats. Vets at the University of California Davis corrected a heart defect in a Burmese cat named Vanilla Bean. Without the surgery, she would have died of congestive heart failure. A team of Japanese veterinary surgeons brought to Cornell University operated on the defective heart valve of a dog named Esme. They even used a bypass machine which took over the heart’s functions while the doctors were working.
When you spay and neuter your pets you are doing your part in helping to decrease the huge number of unwanted puppies and kittens that end up in animal shelters each year. Fixing your pet also has many health and behavior benefits for male and female dogs and cats. Here is a run-down of the benefits of spay and neuter.
Stops heat cycles
Reduces desire to roam
Reduces or eliminates risk of mammary gland tumors and ovarian/uterine cancer (especially when done before first heat)
Reduces spraying and marking
Reduces desire to roam
Reduces or eliminates risk of testicular cancer and prostate disease
Spay and Neuter by the Numbers
Altering increases the lifespan of dogs an average of 1-3 years
Altering cats increases their lifespan by 3-5 years
80% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered males looking for mates
90% of cats hit by cars are unaltered males or females
For every human born, 15 dogs and 45 cats are born
55% of dogs and 47% of cats surrendered to shelters are unaltered
One of the most common questions dog groomers get is whether or not a dog’s coat should be shaved in warm weather to help keep her cool. And the answer is…maybe! Here’s some advice from the experts to help you decide if shaving your dog is the right thing to do.
A dog’s coat insulates her from the cold and also acts as waterproofing in some breeds. In the warm weather, a coat that is brushed thoroughly “lofts” as the dog moves, allowing air to cool the skin. Removing the hair can remove this built-in air conditioning.
When to shave your dog’s coat
Dogs that are active, get themselves dirty, or are prone to allergies and mats can benefit from a trimmed coat. Bad mats trap heat and moisture.
Breeds with hair that grows constantly (such as poodles and cocker spaniels) also need trimming, and do fine with a short clipping. Certain breeds (like terriers) require trimming to conform to breed standards.
Dogs with a lot of dense fur can benefit from a “thin and trim” cut, also called a “teddy bear” or “puppy cut.” The dog’s coat is sculpted with trimmers but not cut too close, and then given a final finish with shears.
When not to shave your dog’s coat
Certain northern and spitz-type breeds (such as huskies and Pomeranians) should not be shaved. Shaving can cause permanent damage to the outer hairs and results in a condition called “clipper alopecia.” The outer coat many never grow back, and the dog will be left with just the fuzzy undercoat, giving her a balding appearance.
A bill that would ban cat declawing was recently introduced into the New York State Senate. Republican State Senator Joseph Griffo introduced the bill into the Republican-controlled Senate, increasing the likelihood of its passage.
A declawing measure was first introduced by Democratic Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a noted animal rights advocate in New York. Rosenthal hopes that the bill, which has support from the Humane Society of New York and the Paw Project, an anti-declawing organization, will pass the Senate now that it has majority backing.
The bill would ban declawing unless it needs to be done to remove a tumor, or for other legitimate medical reasons.
Declawing is actually the amputation of the last bone of each toe, equivalent to amputating a human’s finger at the top knuckle. Sadly, declawing is done just to prevent cats from scratching the furniture. Declawing can lead to long-term physical and behavioral health problems in cats (such as lameness, arthritis, and biting), with declawed cats over-represented in animal shelter populations.
Humane alternatives to declawing include regular nail trimmings, scratching posts, nail tips, and applying sticky tape to furniture.
Join FACE in acknowledging the importance of pet cancer awareness!
Did you know that 6 million dogs and cats will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015? Cancer is the #1 disease-related cause of death in our pets. Make sure you bring your pet for regular veterinary check-ups, and get to know the 10 early warning signs of pet cancer.
Early Warning Signs of Pet Cancer:
Swollen lymph nodes
Enlarging or changing lump
Chronic weight loss
Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
Talk to your vet if you see one or more of these early warning signs in your dog or cat.
Be sure to keep toxic substances like cleaning and lawn chemicals away from your pet. Also, please remember not to smoke around your pets. Exposure to second-hand smoke is the leading cause of feline lymphoma, the most common cancer in cats.