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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

Board-certified veterinary surgeons are veterinarians who have received advanced training after veterinary school in the art of surgery and the management of problems that require surgical intervention. They have typically completed one or more internships and a three year residency in an approved program. In addition, they have passed numerous exams and have demonstrated the knowledge, proficiency, and skills to be awarded certification by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. In other words, they are individuals that have dedicated years of their life to the study and practical training in their chosen specialty far beyond what a typical graduate veterinarian would.

Board-certified surgeons have been exposed to and trained in a wide variety of surgical procedures, as well as specialty training in anesthesia, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine/critical care, and clinical and anatomic pathology. They have been trained to perform advanced surgical procedures of the abdominal organs and gastrointestinal tract, head and neck procedures, minimally invasive surgery (arthroscopy, laparoscopy, and thoracoscopy), spinal surgery, orthopedics, thoracic surgery, urogenital surgery, and reconstructive procedures of the skin. Their training has prepared them for all phases of the surgical management of our small animal patients. Some surgeons have completed fellowships following their residencies to allow for even greater specialization.

Some of the more common procedures performed at VCA West Coast Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital include:

  • TPLO/TTA (for ruptured cruciate ligaments)
  • Fracture repair (internal and external fixation)
  • Arthroscopic elbow surgery
  • Patella Luxation surgery
  • Total Hip Replacement
  • Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO) for hip dysplasia
  • Arthroscopic surgery for OCD
  • Brachycephalic airway surgery
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Oncologic Surgery (cancer surgery)
  • Portosystemic Shunt Attenuation (vascular anomaly surgery)
  • Thoracic Duct Ligation (chylothorax surgery)
  • Stem Cell Treatment for degenerative conditions

VCA West Coast’s team of surgeons have vast experience in dealing with a multitude of surgical problems and are trusted by veterinarians throughout Southern California and beyond. Our highly respected team includes one of only 50 certified oncologic surgeons in the world!

VCA West Coast Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital strongly believes in the triad of care. You, your family veterinarian, and your VCA West Coast surgeon will become a team working together to provide your pet with the best possible care. Working together with an surgeon, your family veterinarian may be able to perform some or most of the needed post-operative care.

If you or your veterinarian believe your pet may benefit from an consultation with a surgeon, please contact us. Additional information is available at www.acvs.org.

Our Surgery Services

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

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