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Though not always indicated, tissue biopsies can be an essential feature in the diagnosing, staging, and management of your pet. The process involves the removal of a small amount of tissue from the area of interest. Depending on what is required, this procedure can be performed with either local anesthetics and sedation or may require general anesthesia.

To obtain a small sample in a readily accessible area, your pet will be sedated or placed under general anesthesia. If any overlying hair is present it will be removed to ensure the procedure remains sterile. Local anesthetics may then be injected followed by the removal of a small tissue core (needle biopsy) or larger circular core of tissue (punch biopsy). A skin stitch may be required that will be removed 10-14 days later. For these smaller procedures an overnight stay for observation is not generally required. However, animals may need to be discharged with an Elizabethan collar (E-collar) or other deterrent to ensure they do not traumatize the site being tested.

For internal lesions or to obtain larger amounts of tissue a more invasive surgical biopsy may be required. The specific procedure for your pet will be discussed with you prior to testing. Briefly, your pet will be placed under general anesthesia. A skin incision will be made overlying the affected area (incisional biopsy) or around the lesion (excisional biopsy). After removing the required tissue, several stitches will be placed. Although hospitalized care is not always required, depending on the type of biopsy and your pet's recovery from general anesthesia, they may need to remain with us for up to 48 hours after the procedure.

Short term, mild discomfort may result with either type of biopsy. Therefore your pet may be placed on an anti-inflammatory or other anti-pain medication to ensure that any discomfort is minimized. Over the next several days it is important to monitor the area for any excessive redness, discharge, swelling or pain and equally important, do not let your pet lick or irritate the biopsy site. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance.

Surgery

VCA SouthPaws Surgical Center is proud to provide comprehensive surgical services, including pre-and post-operative care, intensive pain management, state-of-the-art anesthesia, and minimally invasive alternatives to open surgical procedures.

Our Surgery Department's services include:

  • Soft tissue surgery including abdominal, thoracic, head and neck, and limb surgeries
  • Orthopedic including Total Hip Replacement, TPLO, TTA, fracture repair, angular limb deformity repair, joint stabilization procedures, lameness evaluations, medical management of lameness, rehabilitative therapy
  • Laparoscopic including laparoscopic prophylactic gastropexy, thoracoscopy, partial pericardiectomy, and liver/abdominal organ biopsies, and arthroscopy
  • Reconstructive surgery including skin flaps and grafts
  • Oncologicsurgery including maxillectomy, mandibulectomy, amputation, large soft tissue tumor removal, wide margin en bloc surgery, thoracic wall reconstruction, abdominal wall reconstruction

What Is A Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon?

A board certified veterinary surgeon is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional surgical training. A veterinary surgeon 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 (such as total hip replacements (THRs), cruciate ligament surgeries (TPLOs), and arthroscopy for joint exploration).
  • Soft tissue surgeries (such as tumor/cancer removal and correction of congenital defects).
  • Minimally invasive surgeries using laparoscopes/arthroscopes

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. Your veterinary surgeon will work closely with your general practitioner , as well as'other board certified specialists in internal medicine, veterinary oncology, veterinary neurology, and veterinary radiology if needed to ensure the best outcome possible for your pet.

Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Surgeon?

Just as your own primary care physician may feel the need to refer you to the care of a specialist from time to time, your general practitioner veterinarian may feel your pet needs the additional expertise of a board certified surgeon for certain surgeries. In fact, many general practitioner veterinarians refer all but the most routine of surgeries to surgical specialists.

Board certified veterinary surgeons often choose to work at 24/7/365 specialty/emergency hospitals 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 . All of these specialized 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 to a veterinary surgeon 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 Surgeon?

Board certified veterinary surgeons can repair complex fractures, perform total hip replacements, 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. Veterinary surgeons can perform intricate surgeries in the chest or abdomen. They can maximize your pet's chances to be cured from certain cancers by performing the best surgery, the right way, the first time.. For pets whose conditions could be treated with minimally invasive procedures such as laparoscopy, thoracoscopy or arthroscopy, your veterinary surgeon has the expertise and experience to operate these delicate instruments correctly. For some diseases, the only way to know how to treat is to get biopsies, and your veterinary surgeon may have the best opportunity to obtain the necessary samples. Veterinary surgeons can also provide advice on best non-surgical management for dogs or cats with degenerative joint disease (arthritis).

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

SouthPaws Veterinary Surgical Center prefers a team approach to your pet's care. While we may be the ones doing the surgery and initial follow up, or rehabilitative therapy, we will make sure that your veterinarian get s copies of all medical records, biopsy reports and plans so that your veterinarian can resume your pet's care as quickly as optimal care allows.

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 specialty hospitals like SouthPaws offer rehabilitation services, such as , physical therapy, and massage therapy, as an adjunct to surgical care.

If you think that your pet may be a candidate for veterinary surgery, talk to your general practitioner veterinarian, or find a board certified veterinary surgeon near you today.

SURGERY DEPARTMENT CLIENT RESOURCE LIBRARY

Our Surgery Department offers helpful resources that provide further information to help pet owners become informed about many aspects of surgical treatment for pets. Please feel free to browse and download any of the documents from our resource library below:

Our Surgery Services

Advanced Anesthetic Monitoring
Bone and Joint Surgery
Bone Biopsy
Brain and Spinal Surgery

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