Educational Articles

Surgical Conditions

  • The diaphragm is the muscular partition that separates the abdomen and the chest. Tearing or disruption of this thin muscle is called a diaphragmatic hernia or diaphragmatic rupture. The most common cause of diaphragmatic hernia is blunt force trauma. Clinical signs depend on the severity of herniation. There is often respiratory distress, an abnormal heart rhythm, muffled heart and lung sounds, and other signs of systemic shock. The abdomen may feel empty when palpated. Once the patient is stable, the hernia must be corrected surgically.

  • Distichiae can be an irritating eye problem for many dogs. The abnormally growing extra eyelashes can cause chronic discomfort to the eye and potential vision problems. A thorough eye examination, including fluorescein staining of the cornea and an assessment of the degree of tear production in the eyes, is usually necessary to assess the extent of any accompanying corneal injury and to rule out other causes of the dog's clinical signs. Various treatment options are available in order to help dogs live a more comfortable life. The prognosis is excellent for those dogs that do not show any clinical signs associated with their distichiae. For dogs with mild clinical signs, the likelihood that the condition can be managed with conservative treatment is good.

  • Ectopic cilia can be an irritating eye problem for many dogs. Growing abnormally through the conjunctiva, they come into contact with the cornea and can cause chronic discomfort to the eye and corneal ulceration. Surgery is necessary to help to correct the problem in order to help dogs live a more comfortable life. The prognosis for surgical correction of this condition is generally good.

  • Ectropion, or outward rolling of the eyelid, can cause problems such as recurring conjunctivitis and drying out of the cornea. The clinical signs are a 'sagging' or 'rolling outward' lower eyelid. A thick mucoid discharge often accumulates along the eyelid margin. Diagnosis is usually made on physical examination. Acquired ectropion can occur in any dog at any age. Testing for hypothyroidism and for antibodies against certain muscle fibers may be done if looking for underlying causes. The treatment for mild ectropion generally consists of medical therapy; if the condition is severe, surgical correction can be performed to shorten the eyelids.

  • Entropion, or rolling in of the eyelids, is seen in many breeds and is considered a hereditary disorder. Most dogs will squint, hold the eye shut, and tear excessively (epiphora) though some patients will develop a mucoid discharge. Entropion can cause additional eye problems, such as corneal ulcers, perforations, or development of pigment on the cornea interfering with vision and can be chronically irritating to the dog. Entropion is corrected with surgery.

  • An FHO, or femoral head ostectomy, is a surgical procedure that aims to restore pain-free mobility to a diseased or damaged hip by removing the head and neck of the femur (the long leg bone or thighbone). This procedure is commonly recommended for cats, especially those who are at a healthy weight. Active cats often experience better results with FHO than less-active cats. It is important to follow your veterinarian's post-operative instructions. Most cats will show signs of complete recovery approximately six weeks post-operatively.

  • An FHO, or femoral head ostectomy, is a surgical procedure that aims to restore pain-free mobility to a diseased or damaged hip by removing the head and neck of the femur (the long leg bone or thighbone). This procedure is commonly recommended for smaller dogs, especially those who are at a healthy weight. Active dogs often experience better results with FHO than less-active dogs. It is important to follow your veterinarian's post-operative instructions. Most dogs will show signs of complete recovery approximately six weeks post-operatively.

  • Usually caused by a bite from another cat, fight wound infections can lead to the development of an abscess (a pocket of pus) or cellulitis (pain and swelling in the area of the bite). A cat’s sharp canine teeth can easily puncture the skin of another cat, leaving small, deep, wounds that seal over quickly, so it is important that your cat is seen by a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible after being bitten.

  • FCP is a developmental defect of one of the coronoid processes. A genetic component is thought to be involved and males appear to be more commonly affected. It is usually seen in large breed dogs such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds. Lameness usually develops in the foreleg of young dogs. Several radiographs of each affected leg, with the leg in different positions, are necessary in order to get an accurate assessment of various bones and joints. Surgery is the treatment of choice for this condition, and its aim is to remove any abnormal cartilage or bone in an attempt to return the joint to a more normal anatomy and function.

  • A gastropexy is a surgical procedure that is sometimes performed in large breed dogs to prevent the life-threatening condition, gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat. This handout explains how the procedure works, how it is used as a preventative and in emergency situations, risk factors, and post-operative care.

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