Posted on Leave a comment

Ear Hematoma Surgery

What is Ear Hematoma Surgery?

Photo Credit: Dogs Naturally

An ear hematoma surgery treats and removes ear hematomas in dogs. A hematoma is a localized mass of blood that is restricted within an organ or tissue and often found in the ears of dogs. This collection of blood can be either fresh or clotted and is typically within the ear flap, which is known as the pinna. You can tell a hematoma is present when the ear flap has a thick and spongy appearance. Swelling will also take place, either in the entire ear flap or one specific region of the ear. 

What Happens During Ear Hematoma Surgery?

There are a variety of methods to treat ear hematomas in dogs and your veterinarian can discuss their recommendations with you. Oftentimes, surgery is necessary as it is a quick and effective means to treat the problem. The technique of surgery varies depending upon your dog’s case and the veterinarian’s recommendation. However, whatever technique may be used, an ear hematoma surgery involves the below: 

  1. The procedure begins by removing the blood from the pinna (the ear flap). This requires a small incision to be made at each end of the hematoma. A drain tube will be passed through the hematoma and sutured to the ear in order to remove any additional blood or fluid accumulating in the region. 
  2. Stitches will be secured completely through the ear flap to hold both layers of skin securely to the cartilage. 
  3. The pinna (ear flap) is stabilized to prevent any future damage. Typically, the ear will be bandaged directly to the dog’s head to prevent the dog from shaking the ear around post-op.

In some instances, there may be an underlying cause to the ear hematoma, like an infection, allergy, or foreign body. This will be treated separately following treatment of the hematoma.

How Much Does Ear Hematoma Surgery Cost?

A veterinary consultation, examination, supplies, surgical technique, hospitalization, antibiotics, and medicines are all included in the cost of Ear Hematoma surgery. Following hematoma surgery, follow-up care may be necessary, requiring additional expenditures.

Ear hematoma surgery can cost between $300 and $2,000, depending on the size and intricacy of the hematoma, your dog’s health, the veterinary facility, and where you reside.

How Can Ear Hematoma Surgery Be Prevented?

If your dog is shaking their head frequently or repeatedly scratching their ears, seek out veterinary help sooner rather than later to prevent a hematoma from developing. Not only will this prevent a hematoma and possible surgery, but your dog will endure less pain and discomfort.

Posted on Leave a comment

Grid Keratotomy Surgery

    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
    Scroll to Top

    What is a Grid Keratotomy?

    Photo Credit: Boxer Forum

    A grid keratotomy is a surgical procedure involving the outer layer, known as the epithelium, and stroma, known as the thickest layer of the cornea. The procedure is minimally invasive and treats chronic ulcers on the surface of the dog’s eye. 

    The ulcers on the eye are rather painful and can change in size and shape over time. The purpose of the grid keratotomy is to stimulate the damaged outer layer of the eye to attach back to the eye and restore it back to its normal state.

    What Does a Grid Keratotomy Treat in Dogs?

    Chronic ulcers on the surface of the dog’s eye generally stem from physical trauma. The  ulcers typically cause constant discharge and tearing from the eye as well as swollen redness. In some instances, topical and oral treatments may be used as the first route before a grid keratotomy is performed. 

    What Happens During a Grid Keratotomy?

    Photo Credit: Veterian Key

    Since a grid keratotomy is minimally invasive, general anesthesia is not required. In preparation for the procedure, your dog will be sedated and topical anesthesia will be applied using drops on the affected eye. 

    Once the patient is prepped, an eyelid speculum will be used to prevent the dog’s eyelids from moving. Any loose epithelium tissue will be removed utilizing a cotton swab against the surface of the eye. Your dog will be restricted in order to prevent any movement and a needle will be used to prick the eye. Using a 20 gauge needle, multiple pricks and scratches are made through the stroma, or the thickest layer of the cornea. These pricks and scratches stimulate the epithelium, or the eye’s outer layer, to heal by making it easier to reattach to the stroma. 

    How Much Does a Grid Keratotomy Cost?

    A grid keratotomy can range anywhere from $500 up to $1,000. Since general anesthesia isn’t required, this helps to keep the cost down. However, it’s important to note that cost is also dependent upon follow-up visits and care necessary. In some cases, multiple procedures may need to be performed, increasing the overall cost of treatment. 

    How Can a Grid Keratotomy Be Prevented?

    Unfortunately, some dogs are predisposed to chronic eye ulcers that lead to the need for a grid keratotomy. Boxers and other breeds of dogs who have bulging eyes are especially prone to eye ulcers and eye issues. 


    It’s also important to have your dog’s eye ulcer assessed sooner rather than later, which may prevent further issues from occurring. 

    Posted on Leave a comment

    Hip Reduction Surgery in Dogs

      Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
      Scroll to Top

      What is Hip Reduction Surgery in Dogs?

      Hip Reduction is commonly used to treat hip dislocation in dogs. There are two types of reductions: closed and open. A closed hip reduction is the most common type and a more conservative treatment to physically manipulate the dislocated hip back into place. On the other hand, an open hip reduction is a surgical procedure that involves placing the joint of the hip back into its natural position. 

      What Does Hip Reduction Treat in Dogs?

      Photo Credit: Upstate Vet

      A Hip Reduction is typically used to treat hip dislocation in dogs, which is clinically referred to as coxofemoral luxation. Hip dislocation may be caused by a number of issues including hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, trauma, or even cancer. Hip dysplasia, in its genetic form or otherwise, is the most commonly observed reason behind hip dislocation and the need for a hip reduction in dogs.                                                                    

      What Happens During a Hip Reduction Surgery?

      Photo Credit: Clinician’s Brief

      The procedure for a hip reduction is dependent upon which type of approach is taken – closed or open. 

      Closed Hip Reduction

      In preparation for a closed hip reduction, the veterinarian will administer a short-acting anesthesia before physically manipulating the coxofemoral joint back into its proper place. The coxofemoral joint is defined as the “ball-and-socket” joint in which the “ball” is the head of the femur and the “socket” is the acetabulum of the pelvis. Following the manipulation, a sling, bandage, or wrap will be placed on your dog for at least two weeks. 

      Open Hip Reduction

      An open hip reduction surgery can be performed based on the preferences of the surgeon. For example, different approaches used for the procedure may include toggle rods, surgical anchors, and prosthetic joint capsules. The toggle rod approach is the most commonly performed. When this approach is used, the following steps are taken: 

      The veterinarian will begin by administering general anesthesia before cleaning and shaving the region to be operated on. Following this, an incision will be made near the hip muscles along the natural seams. The joint capsule will be opened, using a special drill a hole will be made in the acetabular wall, which is the back wall of the hip bone. Additionally, a “bone tunnel” will be drilled through a region of the femur referred to as the femoral neck. Utilizing heavy suture material, a toggle pin will be threaded through the hole and bone tunnel. The placement of the hip will be adjusted until it’s in the correct position. The heavy suture material will be tightened and attached to another toggle pin to secure on the other side of the joint. This allows for the joint to be securely held in place. Following this, the joint capsule and initial surgery site would be sutured and closed. Just like a closed hip reduction, a sling, wrap, or bandage is secured and your dog will wear it for up to fourteen days. 

      How Much Does a Hip Reduction Cost?

      The cost of a hip reduction in dogs varies based on many factors including whether a closed or open approach is taken, health factors of the dog, and the location of the clinic. The cost may range from $1,500 to $15,000, however, the average cost of the procedure is $2,500. 

      How Can Hip Reduction Surgery Be Prevented?

      Unfortunately, many conditions that lead to the need for a hip reduction cannot be prevented such as genetic hip dysplasia and cancer. However, automobile accidents are a common cause of hip dislocation as well so be sure to keep a close eye on your dog when outdoors. Avoid overfeeding and maintain a healthy weight in your dog to avoid hip dysplasia in large breed dogs. 

      Posted on Leave a comment

      Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

        Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
        Scroll to Top

        What is a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear in Dogs?

        Photo Credit: Good Vets

        The Cranial Cruciate Ligament, known as the CCL, is a connective tissue found in the knee of the dog that stabilizes the lower leg to the upper leg. The ligament connects the tibia, the bone beneath the knee, to the femur, the bone above. There are a number of CCL injuries that can occur in dogs. However, tears of the CCL are the most commonly observed.

        What Causes a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear in Dogs?

        CCL tears most commonly occur when the excessive internal rotation of the tibia takes place when the joint is partially flexed. Typically this is a result of exercise or running. One of the most common occurrences is when the dog is running and suddenly changes direction. This places the majority of the dog’s body weight on the knee joint, and excessive rotational force is placed on the cruciate ligament. The injury leads to the knee joint becoming unstable. 

        Who's at Risk of Developing a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear in Dogs?

        There are a number of factors that may contribute to a dog being at higher risk of developing a CCL injury: 

        Breed Type: Certain breeds are more prone to CCL injuries, including Labrador retrievers, Newfoundlands, German shepherds, rottweilers, and Golden retrievers. 

        Obesity: Overweight and obese dogs are four times more likely to tear or rupture their CCL than dogs at a healthy weight. Obesity can play a major role in CCL injuries. The extra weight causes additional strain on the dog’s joints and muscles, making the ligaments more prone to wear and tear. 

        Weekend Warriors: “Weekend warriors” are those dogs who don’t necessarily exercise on a regular basis, but partake in occasional strenuous exercise. 

        Previous Injury: Studies have shown that dogs who injure the CCL in one leg have a 50% greater chance of injuring the other side. This is because the dog will compensate and use the other leg more. More strain placed on the good side causes a risk of tearing or rupturing as well.

        What Are The Symptoms of a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear?

        Oftentimes, symptoms of a CCL tear come on gradually and will progressively worsen over a long period of time. However, in some incidents, there may be no obvious symptoms until the ligament actually ruptures.

        Symptoms of CCL injuries in dogs include:

        • Lameness or limping 
        • Favoring one leg
        • Stiffness after exercise
        • Swelling around the knee
        • Difficulty lying down or getting up
        • Pain or tenderness near the injured knee

        How Can a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear Be Prevented?

        There are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce a CCL tear from occurring in your dog: 

        • Maintain a healthy weight in your dog 
        • Provide proper warm-up for your dog before vigorous exercise 
        • Avoid “weekend warrior syndrome” – keep the amount of exercise your dog receives relatively consistent 
        • Provide the proper nutrients and vitamins needed to support joint health (ex. Omega-3 and healthy oils)

        How is a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear Diagnosed?

        A physical examination is necessary to diagnose a CCL tear. During your dog’s exam, your veterinarian will assess the affected leg by holding the femur in place while moving the tibia out. If it moves in a manner that can be compared to opening a drawer, the CCL is injured. 

        In addition to the physical exam, your veterinarian or orthopedic surgeon will order x-rays to assess the severity of the CCL injury and if there is fluid present in the joint.

        What Is The Treatment For a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear?

        Surgery is typically recommended for dogs with a CCL injury. However, this is on a case-by-case basis. Dogs weighing over 22 pounds usually require surgery in order to stabilize the knee. Smaller dogs weighing less than 22 pounds, may be able to heal without surgical intervention if severe restrictions are taken. 

        CCL surgery is very common and compared to that of an ACL surgery in a human. CCL repair surgery generally begins with an examination of the inside of the dog’s knee. When damaged or torn portions of the CCL are identified, they are removed during the procedure. There are a number of surgical methods that can be used to repair the injured CCL. There are four common surgical techniques executed to repair the CCL. These four techniques are Extracapsular Lateral Suture Stabilization, TightRope Technique, Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, and Tibial Tuberosity Advancement. Your veterinarian will discuss the pros and cons of each CCL surgery option and guide you and your dog in the right direction.

        Posted on Leave a comment

        Canine Total Hip Replacement Surgery

          Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
          Scroll to Top

          ​​What is Total Hip Replacement Surgery in Dogs?

          x ray of dog before and after total hip replacement
          Photo Credit: Animal Surgical and Orthopedic Center

          A total hip replacement (THR) in dogs is a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of a severely damaged or diseased hip joint with an artificial component. Total hip replacement is a surgical treatment for treating severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations. THR is widely regarded as safe and effective, with a high likelihood of significantly increasing limb function and enhancing their quality of life.

          What Makes a Dog A Good Candidate For Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

          Dogs who are suffering from severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations that cannot be resolved aside from THR and are in a measurable amount of pain are usually those that received a THR. Dogs need to be in overall good health as well as have no other joint or bone issues, nerve damage/disease, or other medical illnesses. Dogs who receive THR need to be skeletally mature and finished growing which is usually between 9-12 months old. X-rays will also reveal if the size of the bones can fit a prosthesis. THR surgery is usually done on dogs over 40 pounds.

          Are There Any Risks With Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

          husky recovering from total hip replacement surgery
          Photo Credit: UC Davis

          Any type of anesthetic or operation comes with its own set of hazards. These dangers will be discussed with you by your veterinarian or orthopedic surgeon. In dogs, the reported complication rate after total hip replacement is between 7% and 12%. It is crucial to identify and treat issues as soon as possible after a complete hip replacement. Swelling at the incision site (seroma) or a low-grade infection of the skin around the incision are examples of mild complications. However, there are three significant problems that might result in the hip replacement failing and requiring further surgery.

          Impact Infection

          As with any infection, an infection of the impact is something that should be taken very seriously. While skin or wound infections may be able to be controlled with antibiotics, infections of the actual implants require the implant being removed and replaced.

          Implant Loosening

          There’s a possibility of the implants losing due to either “aspect loosening” or low-grade infection. Aspect loosening is when the patient’s body rejects the implant and occurs in about 5-15% of cases. If aspect loosening occurs, the implant needs to be removed and/or replaced. 

          Luxation or Dislocation of the Implants

          Luxation or dislocation of the implants is fairly rare is occurs in only about 2-4% of patients and usually within the first 3 weeks post-surgery. If this happens, another surgery under anesthesia will be required to fix it.

          What Happens During Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

          Vets performing total hip replacement on a dog
          Photo Credit: Fitzpatrick Referrals

          THR surgery for severe arthritis, hip dysplasia, fractures, and dislocations surgery is a multi-day process. To prepare for general anesthesia, most dogs getting a complete hip replacement will have a comprehensive examination and a blood test profile. 

          Total hip replacement surgery takes two to three hours on average, and your dog may need to stay in the hospital for one to three days afterward. A 12-week recuperation time is expected. Even though your dog’s hip dysplasia affects both hips, surgery on one hip at a time is possible, providing 3 to 6 months of healing time in between procedures.

          During the actual surgery, the ball (head of the femur) and socket (acetabulum) are removed and replaced with prosthetic implants. The acetabular socket will be rebuilt and equipped with a polyethylene cup, while the stem and ball are constructed of cobalt-chromium. Bone cement may or may not be used to hold the implants in place, depending on the implant type chosen by the surgeon for your pet.

          Around 90% to 95% of dogs that receive a complete hip replacement perform really well and have outstanding function. Every operation has some risk, but your dog’s surgeon will do all in his power to avoid any complications. Hip dislocation, implant loosening, infection, and nerve injury are all rare problems that can typically be easily addressed.

          How Do You Care for a Dog Post-Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

          dog on a walk after total hip replacement surgery
          Photo Credit: A Veterinarian's Perspective

          When dogs are released from the hospital a few days after having total hip replacement surgery, it’s crucial to ensure proper healing. Stitches or staples will usually be removed in 10-14 days following surgery. Your veterinarian will also provide a pain management regimen which might include pain medication and crate rest or confined to a small area during recovery for about 3 months. While dogs are usually able to bear weight on the limb fairly soon after surgery, their activity must be closely monitored and activity limited to being on a leash when not in confinement to prevent over-exertion. Each veterinarian will provide their own post-op instructions and they should be followed as closely as possible for best results.

          How Much Does Total Hip Replacement Surgery Cost?

          Due to the involvement and difficulty of canine total hip replacement surgery, it comes out to being one of the most expensive veterinary surgeries. It comes out on average to being $3,500 to $7,000 per hip or if both hips need to be replaced (which is often the case), the cost runs on average $7,000 to $14,000. This is an instance when having pet insurance can offset the high cost.

          How Can Total Hip Replacement Surgery Be Prevented?

          Preventing total hip replacements comes with preventing the reason for needing the surgery. So essentially working to prevent hip dysplasia and severe arthritis. One way to stay on top of the causes that result in THR is having regularly scheduled vet appointments.

          Posted on Leave a comment

          10 Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Brain Busy After Surgery

          Surgery in itself can be daunting, recovery is even worse. It can be quite a struggle to keep your dog’s activity restricted post-surgery, however, it’s crucial to their recovery.  Mental stimulation for dogs is so important and becomes even more rewarding during this post-surgery time. Mental stimulation will ward off your dog’s boredom blues and help with burning some energy as well. In fact, mental stimulation is just as rewarding as physical exercise. Below we’ve outlined 10 ways to keep your dog’s brain busy after surgery. These ways are sure to keep your dog from experiencing the post-recovery rut. 

          1. Cup Game

          The cup game is an easy and affordable way to provide enrichment for your dog. All you need is 3 cups and some treats. You can slowly build up to teaching your dog this game and making it more difficult. To introduce the concept, start with just one cup. Allow them to watch you place a treat under a cup. When you give your dog a cue to nose or knock over the cup, let them eat the treat. Once your dog understands this concept, move up to 3 cups and rub the treat on your hands and outside of cups to spread the scent around and increase the difficulty of the game, therefore providing further enrichment. 

          2. Puzzle Game

          Photo Credit: Outward Hound

          There are so many puzzle games available on the market for all difficulty levels. One of our favorite brands is Outward Hound. These games are a great way to decrease boredom and increase problem-solving skills. High-value treats are the best to use for these games to really encourage your dog to solve them. Once they get the hang of the game, move on to lower-value treats. 

          3. Muffin Tin Game

          Photo Credit: Cheerful Hound

          The muffin tin game is another simple DIY game. All you need is a muffin tin and treats. It’s as easy as placing some treats in a few of the holes and then covering all of the holes with tennis balls. Your dog must not only locate the treat but also learn how to remove the ball properly in order to reach the treat. Although it sounds simple, this game can provide hours of stimulation to your dog. 

          4. Long Lasting Chews

          Long-lasting chews are a great tool to keep your dog entertained while their activity is restricted. As long as they’re not recovering from a mouth or jaw surgery, durable chew toys and chews are sure to keep your dog busy for a while. Bully sticks are a great long lasting option. As far as edible treats go, limit the amount given so your dog does not gain excess weight while recovering. 

          5. Lick Mats

          Photo Credit: Lickimat

          Lick mats not only provide entertainment to your dog but may also reduce anxiety. The act of licking encourages your dog to calm themselves. You may fill them with peanut butter, yogurt, broth, frozen treats, etc. There are plenty of recipes to try! Additionally, the mats come in a variety of sizes and configurations so there’s an option for every dog. 

          6. Snuffle Mats

          Photo Credit: Insider

          Snuffle mats are great to put your dog’s nose to work. In these mats, between knots, treats are embedded requiring your dog to root for and locate the treats. Snuffle mats are available in stores or can even be made as an easy DIY project. Use higher value treats until your dog understands the concept. 

          7. Scent Training

          Photo Credit: AKC

          Scent training provides enrichment to your dog and is a lowkey activity you can teach your dog at home. A small tin with drilled holes, birch oil, treats, a plastic container, and cotton swabs are all you need to get started. 

          To begin, introduce your dog to identifying the birch scent. You’ll want to apply a bit of birch oil to the cotton swab and place in the tin. Hold the tin in one hand and a treat, preferably high value, in the other hand. Your dog will most likely initially be interested in the treat hand. Once he/she moves on to smell the tin hand, say “yes” and reward your pup by bringing the treat over to the tin hand. When you feed your dog at the source of the birch scent, they’ll begin to identify the scent properly. As you progress, switch hands to keep them on their toes. 

          Now that your dog understands the concept of identifying the scent, they can learn how to find it. Move the tin with the scent into the plastic container and repeat the same steps with identifying the scent in your hand. Once your dog masters this, move the container to the ground and repeat the process once again. Eventually, your dog will work their way up to locating the box in a hidden spot, even in a different room.

          8. Canine Massage

          Canine massage is not only relaxing, but also may boost your dog’s mood, especially post-surgery. However, be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian first. Typically, short sessions with gentle strokes or kneading are the most effective and safe way to massage your dog. 

          9. Rotate Toys

          It may sound simple, but it’s an effective way to prevent boredom while your dog is recovering from surgery. This will keep the toys more interesting and will feel like a new toy is introduced throughout their recovery. 

          10. Change The Scenery/Car Rides Or Environment Change

          A simple environmental change can make all the difference for your dog. If they’re safely able to ride in the car, take them for a bit of a drive or sit outside. This can provide some mental stimulation. However, if they are restricted to the inside of the house or a crate, consider changing the room they hang out in.