As your dog ages, he may experience an injury, or other conditions like cancer, lumps, or warts that could require surgery. According to Animal Wellness Magazine, most dogs will need one or more surgical procedures during their lifetime. These operations may bring anxiety and stress for a pet parent like you, however there are many myths associated with them. To help reduce your fears about dog surgery, we’ve debunked 4 of the most common myths about these types of procedures.
1. My dog is too old for surgery
This is commonly heard in the pet world and although surgery can carry risks, no senior dog is ever too old to receive necessary surgery. However, there may be other factors at play besides age. For example, a pet owner may decide against hip replacement surgery of his senior dog because of the costs, the post-operative physical therapy costs, and the face that his dog has already reached the end of his life expectancy. Regardless, your dog is never “too old” for surgery, even if it’s not the preferred option for his age. Older dogs over the age of 10 routinely receive surgery for various things including dental work, removal of skin growths, and tumors. This crucial medical care should not be overlooked strictly due to age.
2. Choose the lowest costing surgery provider for the procedure
Some surgical procedures come with unwanted costs, leaving a dog owner to explore the most affordable options available to him. Most importantly, you should not cut costs by reducing the quality of care the dog receives, putting his health or life at risk. Some veterinary practices choose to leave certain elements out of a surgery to reduce costs. This could be less expensive anesthesia or not having a technician or machine monitor him during the procedure. Make sure when you are quote a price for surgery, you ask what is and is not included. Preparing yourself with the most information possible will help you make the best choice for your dog’s healthcare.
3. All tumors should be removed
Some veterinarians believe all lumps and growths on a dog should be removed. While early detection of cancerous tumors is important, doing surgery just for the sake of doing surgery is not a good idea. Any growth that can be evaluated by drawing liquid from it using a small needle of syringe should be, and then examined microscopically. If the tumor is benign, there can be non-invasive measures taken to shrink it. If the tumor is benign, but large enough to bother the dog it should be surgically removed. If it is malignant, it should be removed surgically. If the tumor cannot be reached on the surface, it should be removed surgically and biopsied. Removing small, benign lesions can be a waste of money. Avoiding surgery when it’s not necessary will save you money and save your dog unnecessary subjection to anesthetic procedures.
4. Pain killers are not necessary
Pain killing medication (analgesic) should be used whenever you suspect your dog may be in pain. For the majority of surgeries, some type of analgesic should be given. It can be given before as a preventative measure, during, and after surgery. Once you take your dog home, analgesic medication should be administered for several days, or longer, depending on the procedure. The myth that these types of medications are not needed for pets is just not true. When they are safely and properly administered they can provide efficient pain relief. Just make sure you’re giving your dog the right pain relievers, as the wrong ones are what can cause problems (Here’s more info from veterinarian Dr. David Randall about what kind of pain medications are best).
When your dog needs surgery, fears and anxiety are bound to set in. Now that you know certain myths surrounding surgery and your dog just aren’t true, some of these fears can subside. One thing is for sure, being a parent to an aging pet is not an easy task (but totally worth it!).