Cone of Shame

Spay Day

Last week we covered the plan for neutering Skipper… so what about your female puppy?

There are many reasons to spay your dog, including eliminating the risk for a life-threatening uterine infection (pyometra), decreasing the risk of mammary, uterine, and vaginal cancers, and preventing unwanted puppies.   Small breed female dogs can experience their first heat cycle by 6 months of age, sometimes as early as 4 months.  Large breed female dogs tend to mature later; their first heat cycle occurs between 9 months and 2 years of age.  Heat cycles occur once to twice yearly in most dogs.  During a heat cycle, your dog will exhibit physical as well as behavioral changes, including vaginal discharge, and the desire to escape/roam away from home looking for a mate.  Skipper’s housemate, Lily, went through a heat cycle between her adoption and spay date when I was in college. I have lots of stories, but can tell you that it was not a fun time for either of us and something I recommend avoiding if possible!

Historically, it’s been recommended to spay dogs between 4-6 months of age.  Your veterinarian may recommend spaying a little later for certain individuals.  Similar to the literature for male dogs, there are studies which show a decreased risk for orthopedic conditions like cranial cruciate tears (ALC tears) or hip dysplasia for dogs who are spayed later than 4-6 months of age.  However, this benefit has to be weighed more carefully for female puppies.  With each heat cycle, the risk for mammary cancer increases, to a 26% risk for mammary tumors by the second heat.  Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of spaying, and the appropriate timing for your female puppy with her veterinarian.

We are fortunate to have two spay procedure options at Aldie Veterinary Hospital. A traditional spay is completed through an abdominal incision that is a few inches long; the ovarian vessels are individually tied off with suture material, and the ovaries removed from the body. Pets typically stay in the hospital the night after this procedure to monitor for post-operative complications, such as pain or bleeding.

A minimally invasive, laparoscopic procedure affords the opportunity to utilize a much smaller (about 1-2 centimeter) abdominal incision, through which a special camera and instruments are introduced. The ovarian vessels are cauterized during this procedure. These patients are typically able to go home the evening after surgery. Laparoscopic procedures are highly recommended for large breed dogs due to the decreased risk for postoperative bleeding and the ability to make a smaller skin incision.

As with any procedure, there are risks associated with each of these options including anesthetic complications, intra or postoperative hemorrhage, pain, or in the specific case of laparoscopic procedures, the need to convert the procedure to an open-abdominal approach if there are any concerns noted through the camera. Pre-operative lab work is reviewed for each patient prior to her procedure, to ensure she is a good candidate for anesthesia/surgery, and able to process pain medications postoperatively.  A licensed veterinary technician is with your dog for the entire duration of her procedure, from sedation to recovery.  Her technician monitors her vital signs, makes sure she stays warm and comfortable, and keeps her relaxed and calm during her recovery time.

Once she goes home, your dog will need to take it easy for about 2 weeks, in order to give her body and skin incision time to heal.  She will not be able to have a bath or go swimming until she’s fully healed. She will go home with pain medications to help keep her comfortable in the first few days following the procedure. It’s critically important to keep her e-collar on at all times during the entire recovery period. Healing incision can be itchy, and she may want to lick/chew at the incision site. This can introduce bacteria to her surgery site, or cause the incision to open up.  These complications can be severe, even life-threatening in some situations, and could require hospitalization, or a second surgery to treat.  About 10-14 days following surgery, your dog will be scheduled for an incisional recheck, to ensure she is fully healed and cleared to return to normal activity.

Be sure to ask your dog’s veterinarian about the right timing and procedure for your dog at her puppy appointment! We are happy to answer any questions at any time!

 

Here’s to the cone-of-shame pictures and keeping our girls healthy!

 

-Dr. Conroy, Skipper, and Lily

#SkipperAndConroy #Vetsrus #FollowFriday #FF

Dr. Drew Luce performing Minimally Invasive Procedures for Dogs and Cats

Laparoscopic & Endoscopic Procedures

For the last 10 years, Aldie Vet has been on the forefront of performing both laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures in companion pets. There are many benefits to replacing traditional sterilization surgeries with less invasive procedures.

 ADVANTAGES

Smaller IncisionsMagnified ImagesFaster RecoveryReduced Infection
A few smaller “keyhole” incisions are used during a laparoscopic or endoscopic procedure which produces less pain and external scarring, reduced blood loss during procedure, and healing may be faster than traditional, open surgery.
Images created by the telescope during a laparoscopic or endoscopic procedure are magnified when they appear on the monitor. This gives the surgeon more detail about the tissues than might be available using traditional surgery. A major benefit of is that the surgeon will be able to precisely diagnose the areas needing attention, as well as potentially uncover other conditions where symptoms are not yet present.
Post operatively, patients are in less discomfort following a laparoscopic or endoscopic procedure. Less pain means less pain medicine. Also, with shorter incisions, patients can return to their normal activity faster than if they had a much longer incision due to traditional surgery. This helps patients experience a shorter hospital stay, if any.
 The risk of infection is reduced following a laparoscopic or endoscopic procedure. This is because delicate tissues are not exposed to the air of the operating room over long periods of time. Also, the “keyhole” size incisions require less post-operative care and heal much faster. 

 CAPABILITIES

Our list of capabilities is constantly growing. If you do not see a procedure listed, please contact our hospital.

  • Abdominal exploration and biopsy
  • Feeding tube placement
  • Incisional gastropexy
  • Ovariohysterectomy and ovariectomy
  • Ovarian remnant removal
  • Cystoscopy
  • Enterotomy
  • Cryptorchid surgery
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Thoracic exploration
  • Pulmonary and pleural biopsy
  • Pericardial window
  • Lung lobectomy
  • Right auricular mass excision
  • Thoracic duct ligation
  • Bladder and urethral exploration and biopsy
  • Nasal exploration
  • Foreign body removal
  • External and middle ear exploration and biopsy

 PROCEDURES

Bronchoscopy is the endoscopic technique for examining the lungs. Bronchoscopy allows for thorough visual examination of the respiratory tract to identify structural abnormalities, collect samples of abnormal airway secretions, identify and remove foreign bodies and biopsy lesions or tumors.

Cystoscopy is the exploration of the urinary bladder.  This procedure is appropriate for a large number of small animal patients, including those presenting with chronic cystitis, pollakiuria, hematuria, stranguria, incontinence, trauma, calculi, and abnormal radiographs.         

Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is the endoscopic exploration of the stomach and intestines, a partial list of indications include: regurgitation, dysphagia, salivation, nausea, vomiting, hematemesis, melena, anorexia, diarrhea, weight loss, hematochezia, fecal mucus and tenesmus. It is most commonly used for obtaining biopsies and the removal of ingested foreign bodies.

Gastropexy is a preventative surgery.  This surgery is indicated for at-risk dogs to prevent the twisting of the stomach which is fatal if not treated quickly. The stomach is sutured to the abdominal wall in order to prevent the stomach from twisting. A gastropexy is often done at the same time as a laparoscopic spay.

Laparoscopy is the technique for viewing the abdominal organs. Laparoscopy is commonly used as a diagnostic tool for taking biopsies of the liver, kidney, pancreas, or abdominal masses. Other diagnostic applications include evaluation of abdominal trauma, bile duct patency, response to therapy, splenoportography or abnormal radiographic findings. Laparoscopic surgeries being performed include adrenalectomy, gastropexy, hernia repair and laparoscopic spays.        

Laparoscopic Spays are an alternative to a traditional spay.  Performed through one small incision in the abdomen rather than a large incision it offers a less painful, faster healing alternative to traditional spays. A study published in the 2005 Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association concluded laparoscopic spays caused less surgical stress and up to 65% less post-operative pain than a traditional open surgical spay.

Otoscopy allows for examination of both the external and middle ear; it is one of the most common applications of endoscopy in veterinary medicine. Otoscopy allows for safe and thorough ear cleaning under constant visualization, removal of foreign objects, polyp removal and diagnostic sampling. Disorders of the external ear are common in dogs; the visualization afforded by this technique make it a precise means of assessment of treatment and follow-up.

Rhinoscopy is the exploration of the nose and back of the throat, commonly indicated in dogs and cats with nasal discharge, nasal obstruction, chronic sneezing, epistaxis, facial distortion, nasal pain, acute severe sneezing, reverse sneezing and abnormal radiographs.