Anesthesia And Surgery In Older Pets: A Dutchess Update

Periodically I’d like to update you on some patients we’ve talked about in previous posts.

Dutchess, the older dog with gum disease and two lumps that needed removal (original post here) arrived for her procedures today. As we were performing two soft tissue surgeries and dental prophylaxis all in the same day we needed extra insurance against infection, so we gave her a Convenia  injection with her other preanesthetic medications. Doing so will give her a full two weeks of antibiotic therapy without her owners having to deal with oral antibiotics in pill or liquid form.

All three procedures went fine. My preference is always to perform the cleanest and most difficult steps of any surgery first, so I removed the enlarging growth by her tail. It turned out to be more difficult than I first thought, but the best news was that the growth was encapsulated. Encapsulation describes a process the body uses to put a fibrous tissue “coat” around a growth, which usually confines it to inside the “coat.” A growth may get larger inside the capsule, but it usually doesn’t rupture through the capsule to the outside. Also, encapsulated growths are typically less aggressive than non-encapsulated ones.

We have sent the large growth to a pathologist so that he may perform histopathology:  section it, stain the sections and look at it under a microscope to determine its exact nature.

Next I removed the small growth in the middle of her back. It had the typical appearance of a wart, so we didn’t submit it for histopathology.

The dental scaling and polishing went without surprise. We knew prior to the procedure that Dutchess had one loose tooth that would need removal, and we were unsurprised when two additional ones succumbed to gum disease. In fact, Dutchess has gum disease adjoining many teeth, so her owners’ brushing of her teeth and keeping those gum pockets clean will be crucial to avoiding additional tooth loss.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

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