Educational Articles

Surgical Conditions

  • Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. Over 68% of all dogs over the age of three are estimated to have some form of periodontal or dental disease. Few pets show signs of dental disease. It is up to the pet's family and veterinarian to uncover this hidden and often painful condition.

  • The diaphragm is the muscular partition that separates the abdomen and the chest. Tearing or disruption of this thin muscle is called a diaphragmatic hernia or diaphragmatic rupture. The most common cause of diaphragmatic hernia is blunt force trauma. Clinical signs are dependent on the severity of herniation. There is often respiratory distress, an abnormal heart rhythm, muffled heart and lung sounds, and other signs of systemic shock. The abdomen may feel empty when palpated. Once the patient is stable, the hernia must be corrected surgically.

  • The diaphragm is the muscular partition that separates the abdomen and the chest. Tearing or disruption of this thin muscle is called a diaphragmatic hernia or diaphragmatic rupture. The most common cause of diaphragmatic hernia is blunt force trauma. Clinical signs depend on the severity of herniation. There is often respiratory distress, an abnormal heart rhythm, muffled heart and lung sounds, and other signs of systemic shock. The abdomen may feel empty when palpated. Once the patient is stable, the hernia must be corrected surgically.

  • Common conditions of pet ferrets include diarrhea, intestinal foreign bodies, parasites, heart disease, and various types of tumors. Any variation from normal should be a cause for concern and should be immediately evaluated by your veterinarian.

  • Common conditions of pet rodents include respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal problems, dental problems, and tumors. Signs of respiratory disease in rodents include nasal and/or ocular discharge in mild infections, and wheezing, coughing, and open-mouth breathing in severe infections. Gastrointestinal disease, including diarrhea from various causes and gastrointestinal stasis is common in pet rodents. All rodents have teeth that grow continuously throughout their lives. Occasionally, these teeth grow too long and cut into the gums, causing pain, or prevent the mouth from closing properly, which often makes the pet stop eating. Just as in people, cancer is often seen in pet rodents, especially mammary (breast) tumors in rats and mice. Rodents with signs of respiratory or GI disease or evidence of a tumor should be seen by a veterinarian who can properly diagnose and treat the underlying condition.

  • A distichia (plural distichiae) is an eyelash that arises from an abnormal location on the eyelid or grows in an abnormal direction. Distichiae usually emerge along the margin of the eyelid through the duct or opening of the meibomian gland, although they may arise at other locations along the eyelid margins. The condition in which these abnormal eyelashes are found is called distichiasis.

  • Ectopic cilia can be an irritating eye problem for many dogs. Growing abnormally through the conjunctiva, they come into contact with the cornea and can cause chronic discomfort to the eye and corneal ulceration. Surgery is necessary to help to correct the problem in order to help dogs live a more comfortable life. The prognosis for surgical correction of this condition is generally good.

  • 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 is an abnormality of the eyelids in which the eyelid "rolls" inward. This inward rolling often causes the hair on the surface of the eyelid to rub against the cornea (outer part of the eyeball) resulting in pain, corneal ulcers or corneal erosions.

  • 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. An FHO restores mobility to the hip by removing the head of the femur. This procedure is commonly recommended for cats, especially those who are at a healthy weight.