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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 at VCA VES/VSC brings experience in advanced surgical techniques to the care of your pets. We work with you and your primary care veterinarian to get your family pet through their surgical experience with as little discomfort and stress as possible. In our facility we routinely work with specialists in oncology and internal medicine for those patients having more complicated medical needs.

Our experienced emergency doctors are here 24/7 for continuous care of our surgical patients in the postoperative period.

VCA VES/VSC Surgery Services

  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Hepatobiliary Surgery
  • Gastrointestinal Surgery
  • Urogenital Surgery
  • Oral, Head & Neck Surgery
  • Oncologic Surgery

Specialty Soft Tissue Surgery

Your primary care veterinarian likely performs many routine soft tissue surgeries such as spay, neuters, bladder stone retrieval, skin mass removals, and repair of wounds. Advanced soft tissue surgeries are available at VCA VES/VSC because of our additional training, extra personnel, specialized equipment, an in-house blood bank, and the availability of 24-hour postoperative care.

Our surgeons have specialized training to perform:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Urogenital surgery
  • Head, Neck, and Airway Surgery
  • Hernia Repair
  • Emergency surgery and trauma
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Amputations
  • Anal Gland Surgery
  • Oncologic (Cancer) Surgery
  • Plastic and reconstructive procedures such as:
  • Wound Management
  • Burn Treatment
  • Skin Grafting
  • Tumor Removal

Orthopedic Surgery

Dogs and cats can be very "creative" in finding ways to injure themselves. Pets that suffer from fractures or tendon/ligament injures may require orthopedic surgery. Our goal is to restore comfortable weight-bearing on the injured limb as soon as possible.

VCA VES/VSC has the equipment and expertise to repair a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems, including:

  • Fracture Repair of limbs, pelvis, spine, skull, and jaw
  • Tendon and Ligament Injuries
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture
  • Congenital Orthopedic Conditions
  • Degenerative Joint Conditions/Limb Salvage

If your pet suffers from an accident or trauma resulting in any visible wound or bone fracture, you should take him to your veterinarian for examination immediately. VCA VES/VSC's Middleton and Madison locations are also open 24/7 for after-hours emergency evaluation, with our Janesville location open nights and weekends. Even if your pet doesn't display any outward signs of physical harm, your doctor can help to determine whether internal injuries or other damage are present.


Certain dogs, such as dachshunds, pugs, shih-tzus, and other toy breeds, may be at increased risk for spinal cord problems due to intervertebral disc disease. Urgent evaluation is critical to preserving spinal cord function in these patients. At VCA VES/VSC we have the ability to perform computed tomography (CT scans) as well as myelography with high-quality, digital radiographs. This is a contrast dye study of the spinal canal which can pinpoint the location of a herniated disc and help plan an emergency surgery.

The goal of our surgeons, registered veterinary technicians and our highly skilled support staff is to provide comfort and pain free personalized treatment with unparalleled care for each and every one of our patients. In addition, the surgery service is supported by our emergency/critical care, internal medicine, radiology, neurology and rehabilitation departments, ensuring the most comprehensive care available anywhere for your pet.

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).
  • Neurological surgeries (such as herniated discs and spinal injuries).
  • Stem cell therapy(such as osteoarthritis and other orthopedic problems).

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 veterinarian, as well as'"depending on your pet's condition'"other board certified specialists in internal medicine, veterinary oncology, veterinary neurology, and veterinary radiology.

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 specialists'"orthopedic and neurology cases, reconstructive surgeries, tumor removals, etc.Board certified veterinary surgeons also are often affiliated with referral 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 that a general practitioner may not have access to. 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, such as kidney transplants in cats or repairing heart defects in dogs. Spinal injuries and herniated discs are problems that are also commonly referred to board certified surgeons. 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.

Our Surgery Services

Advanced Anesthetic Monitoring
Bone and Joint Surgery
Bone Biopsy
Comprehensive Peri-Operative Monitoring

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