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Dogs + Surgical Conditions

  • Ectropion, or outward rolling of the eyelid, can cause problems such as recurring conjunctivitis and drying out of the cornea. The clinical signs are a 'sagging' or 'rolling outward' lower eyelid. A thick mucoid discharge often accumulates along the eyelid margin. Diagnosis is usually made on physical examination. Acquired ectropion can occur in any dog at any age. Testing for hypothyroidism and for antibodies against certain muscle fibers may be done if looking for underlying causes. The treatment for mild ectropion generally consists of medical therapy; if the condition is severe, surgical correction can be performed to shorten the eyelids.

  • Entropion, or rolling in of the eyelids, is seen in many breeds and is considered a hereditary disorder. Most dogs will squint, hold the eye shut, and tear excessively (epiphora) though some patients will develop a mucoid discharge. Entropion can cause additional eye problems, such as corneal ulcers, perforations, or development of pigment on the cornea interfering with vision and can be chronically irritating to the dog. Entropion is corrected with surgery.

  • An FHO, or femoral head ostectomy, is a surgical procedure that aims to restore pain-free mobility to a diseased or damaged hip by removing the head and neck of the femur (the long leg bone or thighbone). This procedure is commonly recommended for smaller dogs, especially those who are at a healthy weight. Active dogs often experience better results with FHO than less-active dogs. It is important to follow your veterinarian's post-operative instructions. Most dogs will show signs of complete recovery approximately six weeks post-operatively.

  • FCP is a developmental defect of one of the coronoid processes. A genetic component is thought to be involved and males appear to be more commonly affected. It is usually seen in large breed dogs such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds. Lameness usually develops in the foreleg of young dogs. Several radiographs of each affected leg, with the leg in different positions, are necessary in order to get an accurate assessment of various bones and joints. Surgery is the treatment of choice for this condition, and its aim is to remove any abnormal cartilage or bone in an attempt to return the joint to a more normal anatomy and function.

  • A gastropexy is a surgical procedure that is sometimes performed in large breed dogs to prevent the life-threatening condition, gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat. This handout explains how the procedure works, how it is used as a preventative and in emergency situations, risk factors, and post-operative care.

  • An aural hematoma is a collection of blood between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap. It is most usually caused by trauma but can also be due to a bleeding disorder. Hematomas in dogs can be treated in different ways but should be treated early to minimize pain and disfigurement. If an underlying cause is determined such as otitis externa, this needs to be treated as well. Hematomas may eventually resolve on their own, but there is a risk of cauliflower ear and they are painful, so prompt treatment is recommended.

  • The most common cause of hip dislocation is blunt force trauma such as a fall or an automobile injury. Most dogs with a hip dislocation will have severe hind limb lameness and pain and may not be able to put any weight on the affected limb. A diagnostic radiograph will show the direction of dislocation and whether a fracture of any part of the hip joint has occurred. In many cases, it is possible to replace the femoral head in the acetabulum by manipulation under general anesthesia. If the femoral head has been successfully replaced and the correct post-operative treatment has been adhered to, it is unlikely that the hip will dislocate again.

  • 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.

  • A hernia occurs when a body part or internal organ protrudes through the wall of muscle or tissue meant to contain it. In the case of an inguinal hernia, these internal organs or structures have managed to make their way through the inguinal ring (an opening in the abdominal wall near the pelvis) to protrude into the groin area. The condition itself can be broadly classified as either acquired or congenital. In general, it is best to surgically repair an inguinal hernia at the time of diagnosis, as delaying can result in a more complicated and difficult procedure.

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