Veterinary hospitals routinely perform emergency and non-emergency surgical procedures for dogs, cats, horses, goats, cattle, and other pets, farm and ranch animals. Veterinarians employ three medical specialties to perform surgery on animals: neurosurgery, orthopedics, and soft tissue surgery. Here are some of the common veterinary surgeries that are performed in animal hospitals:
- Spaying - This procedure removes the ovaries and uterus of a female dog or cat to prevent them from getting pregnant and reproducing.
- Neutering - This procedure removes the testicles of a male dog or cat to prevent him from reproducing.
- Dental Surgery - Animals often need dental surgery for oral hygiene and to correct injuries and prevent infection from poisoning the animal's system. Some dental surgeries that are routinely performed in an animal hospital include:
- Teeth Cleaning
- Tartar removal
- Extractions of abscessed or broken teeth
- Root canals
- Caesarean Section - Complicated births may need the intervention of a veterinarian to save the life of the animal mother and her offspring. This surgery is done as an emergency response when the birthing process is overly extended and or there is no other way to help the animal give birth.
- Bloat Surgery - Sometimes an animal's stomach will fill with gas from ingested foods and become distended. When this happens, the stomach will many times twist within the body cavity and need to be surgically untwisted. Without this surgery, the bloated animal will not survive.
- Cystotomy - This is a common surgery that is performed when an animal has crystalized stones or tumors in their bladder. These stones or tumors must be removed in order to save the life of the animal.
- Foreign Body Removal - Dogs, cats and cattle routinely swallow non-edible objects that must be removed. Foreign objects can obstruct normal gastrointestinal processes, cause blockages, become infected and threaten animal lives.
- Wound Surgery - Puncture and bite wounds are common occurrences in active dogs, cats, horses, and cattle. Internal bones, muscles, and blood vessels must be repaired first and then the entrance wound sewn shut.
- Elective Surgeries - Elective surgeries are often performed in an animal hospital at the request of the animal's owner. Elective surgeries are requested for many reasons and include the following procedures:
- Ear-cropping dogs
- Dewclawing dogs
- Tail docking dogs
- Dehorning cattle
- Declawing cats
All veterinary surgery is performed under either local or general anesthesia. There are many different anesthetics used in various dosages. The ultimate goal is to prevent the animal from needless suffering during surgery.
When a veterinarian feels that a particular surgery is beyond the scope of their experience or the capabilities of their animal hospital, then a professional referral will be made to direct the owner of the animal to another veterinarian and hospital that is more qualified to perform the procedure. This is done to make sure that the animal gets the very best care possible.
Veterinary surgery is a highly technical field that is changing and advancing every day. With each surgery, this field becomes better qualified to assist animals and save their lives.