Most veterinarians who dedicate their practices to companion animals perform surgery at least a few times a week. Increasingly, however, our clients are clamoring for the highest quality care … which is where board-certified surgeons come in. But how do pet owners know which pet surgeries are best left to the credentialed specialists?
Truth is, there’s no hard and fast rule here. After all, the vagaries of price vs. affordability mean that plenty of pets can’t access the best possible care available. Nonetheless, knowing whether the kind of surgery your pet requires is typically undertaken by a specialist or a generalist (like me) can be an invaluable decision-making tool.
Which is why I was excited to read vet surgeon Dr. Phil Zeltzman’s newest e-mail newsletter. Not only does he include the single cutest dog trick video I’ve probably ever seen (enough reason to subscribe right there), he also details the ten most common surgeries board-certified veterinary surgeons like himself are called upon to perform.
Drum roll, please …
1. ACL repair
This is the dreaded cruciate ligament surgery in dog knees. All by itself, this surgery is a multi-billion dollar a year veterinary industry. Seeing as it’s the most common surgery they perform, it’s now become the vet surgeon’s bread and butter, which is probably why a vet surgeon will always be the best choice should your dog need one. Experience is crucial in getting good outcomes.
2. Fractures and dislocations
Other vets can do these, but the specialized equipment and expertise required to address each individual traumatic event means these scenarios are almost always best left to the specialists.
3. Belly surgery
What Dr. Z means by this is the kind of non-routine exploratory surgery that requires open access to the abdomen.
4. Cancer surgery
Though many cancer surgeries will also require abdominal entry, he lists these separately for good reason. They’re in a category unto themselves.
Read more about pet surgeries at petmd.com