Educational Articles

Surgical Conditions

  • 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.

  • Mast cell tumors are one of the most common skin tumors in ferrets. These tumors are typically a small, raised growth on the skin that erupts, may bleed, then heal only to reoccur several weeks later in the same location. Unlike mast cell tumors in dogs, mast cell tumors in ferrets do not spread to internal organs.

  • Usually caused by a bite from another cat, fight wound infections can lead to the development of an abscess (a pocket of pus) or cellulitis (pain and swelling in the area of the bite). A cat’s sharp canine teeth can easily puncture the skin of another cat, leaving small, deep, wounds that seal over quickly, so it is important that your cat is seen by a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible after being bitten.

  • 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.

  • Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which the pressure within the eye, called the intraocular pressure (IOP), is increased. Glaucoma is caused by inadequate drainage of aqueous fluid. Glaucoma is classified as primary or secondary. High intraocular pressure causes damage to occur in the retina and the optic nerve. Blindness can occur very quickly unless the increased IOP is reduced. Analgesics to control the pain and medications that decrease fluid production and promote drainage are often prescribed to treat glaucoma. The prognosis depends to a degree upon the underlying cause of the glaucoma.

  • Rabbits have unique gastrointestinal tracts and need a high-fiber, low-carbohydrate diet to help keep the normal GI bacteria fermenting their food. When they are fed a diet high in carbohydrate, administered certain types of antibiotics, or undergo a rapid diet change, they can develop life-threatening GI stasis. Rabbits with GI stasis become lethargic, dehydrated, weak, lose weight, and must be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Only rarely do rabbits develop true GI tract obstructions from ingesting foreign objects and require surgery to remove the obstruction. Rabbits are coprophagic, consuming cecotropes overnight that serve as a source of critical protein and vitamins. Rabbits that eat high calcium alfalfa-based diets or high-calcium vegetables are prone to developing bladder stones that must be removed surgically. Bunnies housed at temperatures over 80°F are subject to heat stroke, since they cannot sweat and should be housed inside in a cool place, or if outside, should have plenty of shade and water.

  • Hedgehogs can have several unique problems, including cancer, dental disease, obesity, and foreign bodies. It is important for an owner to understand what these problems are so veterinary care can be provided to their hedgehog when needed and in a timely manner.

  • An aural hematoma is a collection of blood between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap. It is most likely caused by trauma but can also be due to a bleeding disorder. If an underlying cause is determined such as infection, this needs to be treated as well. Hematomas may eventually resolve on their own, but there is a risk of permanent damage and they are painful, so prompt treatment is recommended.

  • 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.