Educational Articles

Surgical Conditions

  • 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.

  • Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which the pressure within the eye, called the intraocular pressure (IOP), is increased. Glaucoma is caused by inadequate drainage of aqueous fluid. Glaucoma is classified as primary or secondary. High intraocular pressure causes damage to occur in the retina and the optic nerve. Blindness can occur very quickly unless the increased IOP is reduced. Analgesics to control the pain and medications that decrease fluid production and promote drainage are often prescribed to treat glaucoma. The prognosis depends to a degree upon the underlying cause of the glaucoma.

  • Rabbits have unique gastrointestinal tracts and need a high-fiber, low-carbohydrate diet to help keep the normal GI bacteria fermenting their food. When they are fed a diet high in carbohydrate, administered certain types of antibiotics, or undergo a rapid diet change, they can develop life-threatening GI stasis. Rabbits with GI stasis become lethargic, dehydrated, weak, lose weight, and must be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Only rarely do rabbits develop true GI tract obstructions from ingesting foreign objects and require surgery to remove the obstruction. Rabbits are coprophagic, consuming cecotropes overnight that serve as a source of critical protein and vitamins. Rabbits that eat high calcium alfalfa-based diets or high-calcium vegetables are prone to developing bladder stones that must be removed surgically. Bunnies housed at temperatures over 80°F are subject to heat stroke, since they cannot sweat and should be housed inside in a cool place, or if outside, should have plenty of shade and water.

  • Hedgehogs can have several unique problems, including cancer, dental disease, obesity, and foreign bodies. It is important for an owner to understand what these problems are so veterinary care can be provided to their hedgehog when needed and in a timely manner.

  • An aural hematoma is a collection of blood between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap. It is most likely caused by trauma but can also be due to a bleeding disorder. If an underlying cause is determined such as infection, this needs to be treated as well. Hematomas may eventually resolve on their own, but there is a risk of permanent damage and they are painful, so prompt treatment is recommended.

  • An aural hematoma is a collection of blood between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap. It is most usually caused by trauma but can also be due to a bleeding disorder. Hematomas in dogs can be treated in different ways but should be treated early to minimize pain and disfigurement. If an underlying cause is determined such as otitis externa, this needs to be treated as well. Hematomas may eventually resolve on their own, but there is a risk of cauliflower ear and they are painful, so prompt treatment is recommended.

  • The most common cause of hip dislocation is blunt force trauma such as a fall or an automobile injury. Most dogs with a hip dislocation will have severe hind limb lameness and pain and may not be able to put any weight on the affected limb. A diagnostic radiograph will show the direction of dislocation and whether a fracture of any part of the hip joint has occurred. In many cases, it is possible to replace the femoral head in the acetabulum by manipulation under general anesthesia. If the femoral head has been successfully replaced and the correct post-operative treatment has been adhered to, it is unlikely that the hip will dislocate again.

  • There are four major hormonal diseases in ferrets. This handout covers adrenal gland disease and diabetes mellitus. Adrenal gland disease occurs in a large number of ferrets in North America, while diabetes mellitus is a rare, but important problem.

  • Hyperthyroidism is a common condition in older cats caused by excess thyroid hormone release resulting in an increased metabolic state. Hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss despite a good appetite, increased water consumption and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, cardiomyopathy, and hypertension. Diagnosis is made by testing blood thyroid hormone levels. Several successful treatment options exist, including medication, thyroidectomy, radioactive iodine, and a prescription diet. The prognosis with treatment is generally good.

  • Iguanas face several health problems that will need veterinary intervention for treatment or resolution. Cystic calculi, dystocia, avascular necrosis and dysecdysis are all common problems that will need medical attention sooner rather than later.