What is a veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery?
A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional surgical training. This type of veterinarian can offer special assistance in the following kinds of cases:
- Traumatic injury and emergencies (such as fractures, skin wounds and lacerations, correction of gastric dilatation-volvulus, and exploratory (abdominal/thoracic) surgery.
- Orthopedic surgeries (cruciate ligament surgeries (TPLOs and Lateral Fabellar Sutures), correction of medial patellar luxation (MPL) and Femoral Head Ostectomies (FHO)).
- Soft tissue surgeries (such as tumor/cancer removal and correction of congenital defects).
- Neurological surgeries (such as herniated discs and spinal injuries).
While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases and conditions require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive surgical training in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery will work closely with your general practitioner veterinarian, as well as'"depending on your pet's condition'"other doctors with intensive training in internal medicine, veterinary oncology, veterinary neurology, and veterinary radiology.
Why Does My Pet Need A Surgical Referral?
Just as your own primary care physician may feel the need to refer you to other doctors from time to time, your general practitioner veterinarian may feel your pet needs the additional expertise of a veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery for certain surgeries. In fact, many general practitioner veterinarians refer out all but the most routine of surgeries'"orthopedic and neurology cases, reconstructive surgeries, tumor removals, etc.
A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery is also often affiliated with a referral hospital where they may have access to specialized diagnostic or surgical equipment, the latest and safest anesthesia monitoring equipment, physical therapy or rehabilitation capabilities, and other critical care services to which a general practitioner may not have access. All of these services may be necessary for the optimal care and recovery of your pet.
You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet for a surgical condition is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of care for his or her problem.
What Kinds of Problems Require the Expertise of a Veterinary Whose Practice is Limited to Surgery?
A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery can repair complex fractures and use advanced techniques to repair torn ligaments (ruptured cruciate ligaments) within the knee. They can also remove cancerous growths, manage extensive or non-healing wounds, and perform reconstructive surgery, such as grafting skin over large injuries. A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery can perform intricate surgeries in the chest or abdomen, such as kidney transplants in cats or repairing heart defects in dogs. Spinal injuries and herniated discs are problems that are also commonly seen by a veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery. Veterinary surgery is also expanding into minimally invasive surgery, such as arthroscopy, thorascopy, and laparoscopy.
Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?
In many, if not most, surgical cases, your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet's veterinary care, especially if your pet is continuing to cope with a disease or chronic condition. It depends on your pet's particular disease and health problem, however. Typically, though, your general practitioner veterinarian will oversee many aspects of your pet's pre-op and post-op care, just as in human medicine. Recovery periods are often prolonged in many surgical cases, particularly in orthopedic surgery, and it is very important to follow your veterinary team's recommendations concerning at-home recovery guidelines for your pet, follow up care and appointments, as well as any rehabilitation that has been prescribed.
Did You Know?
Just as in humans, a pet's recovery from veterinary surgery can go more smoothly or even result in a better outcome with the addition of rehabilitation options. Many veterinary referral hospitals offer rehabilitation services, such as water therapy, physical therapy, and massage therapy, as an adjunct to surgical care. These options will be discussed with you pertaining to your pet's specific medical condition.
Just as in people, laser surgery is becoming a much more common surgical technique in veterinary medicine, bringing with it the same advantages of reduced blood loss and shorter recovery times.
If you think that your pet may be a candidate for veterinary surgery, talk to your general practitioner veterinarian, or find a veterinary surgical center near you today.