Illustrated Articles

Dogs + Surgical Conditions

  • 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 gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat. A gastropexy may be performed prophylactically or may be done as part of the surgical management of GDV.

  • Ear hematomas are a collection of blood, either fresh or clotted, within the pinna. Excessive or violent shaking causes one or more blood vessels to break, resulting in bleeding into the space between the ear cartilage and skin on the inner surface of the ear. There is often an underlying cause which must be treated but additionally, surgery or drainage should be done to help relieve discomfort. Failure to treat will lead to a misshapen ear.

  • An umbilical hernia is a protrusion (outward bulging) of the abdominal lining, abdominal fat or a portion of abdominal organ(s) through the area around the umbilicus (navel or belly button).

  • 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.

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

  • A joint luxation is a dislocation or complete separation between the bones that normally articulate to form a joint. Subluxation is the term referring to a partial separation of the joint. The most commonly subluxated joints in dogs include the hip and elbow, although any joint can be affected. Your veterinarian may be suspicious of a joint subluxation based on a history of trauma and physical examination findings such as pain and limping. A radiograph is necessary to definitively diagnose a joint subluxation. In many cases, the joint can be reduced or replaced to its original orientation by a procedure called a closed reduction with prognosis being good if treated immediately.

  • Juvenile hyperparathyroidism is a rare, inherited condition of German Shepherds. This condition causes the parathyroid glands, four small glands that are located in the neck near the thyroid gland, to produce abnormally large amounts of parathyroid hormone.

  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) is a condition that is also commonly referred to as dry eye. It is a common eye condition resulting from inadequate production of the aqueous portion of the tear film by the lacrimal gland or the third eyelid gland. Any condition that impairs the ability to produce adequate amounts of tear film can result in dry eye. Most dogs with KCS have painful, red, and irritated eyes leading to squinting. The treatment of dry eye is to stimulate tear production and to replace tear film. The prognosis for dogs diagnosed with KCS has never been better.

  • Lameness refers to an inability to properly use one or more limbs. It is most often associated with pain or injury. The most common causes of acute or sudden lameness in dogs are soft tissue injury (strain or sprain), injury to a joint, bone fracture, or dislocation. Osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia may also cause lameness in dog. Your veterinarian will determine the best course of action based on your pet's condition and the results of diagnostic tests. Lameness of unknown origin is common in dogs of all types and sizes. In some cases, a trial with anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary.