Dogs are most commonly the pets of choice. There are so many breeds available and they all exhibit different personalities like humans. This means that they too need love, care, and unfortunately, they do get sick.
Without exercise, the right diet, and proper grooming, dogs are prone to many of the same conditions as human beings. While many are treatable with OTC drugs and mild attention, there are others that are more serious. Some can also be life-threatening.
The decision as to whether your dog needs surgery should not be taken lightly. Some veterinarians might jump the gun and suggest it. However, as the pet owner, you need to know when your dog really needs surgery.
Symptoms That Indicate Something is Wrong
Dogs suffer from many conditions that can have them facing the possibility of dog surgery. This is so because dogs age a lot faster than humans and therefore suffer from many age-related sicknesses.
Owners need to pay keen attention since dogs cannot communicate in words how they are feeling. Oftentimes it is not until your pet gets gravely or even terminally ill that you can tell. If you closely monitor your dog, however, you may be able to catch the symptoms of a sickness at an early stage.
Some of the ways to tell that your dog is sick include:
- Bad breath and/or drooling
- Appetite change, which leads to weight gain or weight loss
- Frequent drinking and urination
- Leg stiffness exhibited when climbing stairs or standing
- Increase in sleep time or any other attitudinal changes
- Dry skin, sores, itching rashes
- Digestive problems
These are just some of the symptoms you can see, and once noticed, you can help your best friend tremendously. It should not be taken for granted that these are just age-related illnesses.
The best course of action is to see a veterinarian, who will advise you on what to do next to best care for your pet.
Common Causes for Surgery
There is a variety of conditions that could see you visiting your vet for a dog surgery. A lot of these procedures can be carried out by your local vet. Not all of them require surgery.
They usually carry minimal risks and some may only require same-day surgeries.
Some common conditions include neutering, spaying, dental extractions, and benign growths. The more serious the condition, the greater the risk. Again, the decision to have dog surgery should not be made lightly as it will affect your dog’s lifestyle afterwards.
When is Dog Surgery Necessary
Caring for a loved one can be time-consuming and stressful. The same is true of a pet, especially one that has been a part of your family for years.
Preventive care is always best, but there will be times when dog surgery is a scary, but real, possibility. Here are some of the ways that you can tell if your dog has a critical condition that requires surgery.
1. Annual Check-up
Animals require yearly physicals as much as humans do. During these visits, your vet will inform you of how your pet is functioning. He or she will also inform you of any age-related conditions and if your dog is in line with his or her growth timelines.
These visits are also scheduled so that your pet can be up to date with shots that aim at preventing diseases.
During these routine visits, your vet can come upon conditions that require surgery. Not all sicknesses or diseases have observable symptoms. These visits will help you to stay in the know and be able to determine whether your pet needs surgery or not.
2. Diagnosis by a Veterinarian
One of the best ways to know if your pet needs surgery is by getting a diagnosis from your veterinarian. You may have brought your dog to the vet because of minor symptoms, only to discover a more complicated condition.
To be on the safe side, you can get a second opinion from another trusted vet.
3. The severity of the Symptoms
Some of the most common dog illnesses include ear infections, heartworms, diabetes, hypertension and kennel cough. Dogs are also prone to kidney diseases, arthritis, flea and tick diseases and cancer.
Most of these are treatable, while others if the owner isn’t vigilant enough, could be fatal. If you notice your dog scratching a lot, or having unusual bladder and bowel movements, stiffness in movement, or any other condition, this doesn’t mean their condition is critical.
However, evidence of neurological symptoms such as seizures, tremors, or paralysis indicates something more serious.
The severity of the symptoms will often indicate whether your dog needs surgery. However, you should not make the diagnosis on your own. Take your animal to the vet where a professional will be better able to advise you.
Choosing the Best Health Care for Your Dog
So, you just heard that your dog needs surgery. The idea is a scary one and oftentimes leave some pet owners anxious and panicked. Once you absorb the bitter fact, it is time to make a decision that will help your dog, and yourself, through a stressful situation.
1. Knowledge is Always the Key
When meeting with your surgeon, arm yourself with everything you need to know about your pet’s condition. Your vet would have told you the specific diagnosis. If there were any pre-surgical procedures done, like a biopsy, have a copy of the pathologist’s report with you.
You should also be aware of the possible outcomes for the surgery your pet might need.
2. Be Familiar with Treatment Options
Veterinarians will most likely suggest, based on their expertise, the best course of treatment. The best course does not mean it is the only one. Research other possible treatment plans and do your own your analysis.
Find out why one treatment is better than another, and which is best for your dog.
Like humans, the same condition doesn’t present itself in the same way for all dogs. Depending on your dog’s lifestyle, he or she might be better off with an alternative treatment. You should discuss these with your family vet so you can weigh the pros and cons of a particular surgical procedure.
3. Be in the Know About Possible Complications
The word ‘surgery’ often invokes fear and for good reason. The outcome is not always what you would want. It is, therefore, best to be aware of everything that could go wrong.
Every procedure has its own risks. There are no exceptions. However, the risks may not be so gut-wrenching.
Less complicated procedures, like removing fatty tissue, usually accompany less risk than a heart surgery. A red flag to look out for is a surgeon informing you there will be no complications.
You should also be aware of post-surgery blues. The after effects of a surgery usually present themselves in bruises, swelling, and possibly oozing. More serious occurrences like a wound re-opening require a second trip to the doctor.
- How Experienced is Your Surgeon?
This might seem like an offensive question, but it is one that needs asking.
You are seeking the best care for your pet and this is a perfectly legitimate question to pose. Your comfort level is sometimes attached to professional expertise.
It is easier to trust a surgeon who has done the particular procedure 20 times versus another who is doing it for the first time.
5. Post-Operative Care at Home
You should be aware of how to take care of your dog once you get home. This requires being aware of changes in diet, how to clean incisions, restrictions in exercise, and what medications to take.
The surgeon, which may be your vet or a specialist, should pass a detailed list of things to do when you get home. The nurse, before leaving the facility, should also furnish you with information pertaining to confinement, bandage changes and suture removal, just to name a few.
Preventive Care for Your Dog
No dog owner wants to hear that their best friend of many years requires any kind of surgery.
The best way to prevent any surgical procedure is to take great care of your pet first. This includes giving them a proper diet, annual visits to the vet, regular exercise and proper grooming.
If you are vigilant, you will be immediately aware if your pet requires medical attention. While such illnesses associated with tapeworm, or a kennel cough, or fleas might be treatable with OTC drugs, others may pose more serious threats.
The best way to determine if your dog needs surgery is by keeping a watchful eye. This includes being aware of those symptoms that are associated with more serious conditions. Shortness of breath, neurological symptoms, and drastic changes in behavior are clear warning signs something is severely wrong.
Once surgery has been advised, you should choose the best and most experienced surgeon to care for your animal. This requires research and a firm knowledge base of the best treatment options.
No animal should have to undergo surgical restoration, but illnesses happen to all of us. Because of the aging process, your dog is vulnerable to lifestyle and age-related diseases. This may not be as frightening if you are aware of the best ways to care for your pet.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com