Sunday, January 29, 2012

A bowlful

So, how do our pets get these tumors called lipomas? Just like any other tissue in thce body, fat cells can become masses. Fatty tissue in a particular area grows more quickly forming a tumor. I generally see them in dogs in their senior years. Our slim dogs and cats don't seem to develop them as easily.

No matter what anyone tells you, you cannot tell if a mass is a lipoma or not without aspirating the contents with a needle. This is a very easy procedure for all involved. I simply use a needle and syringe to remove cells from the mass and look for fat drops on a slide. It is always a relief to see that glossy, clear droplet.

Usually a lipoma is just a cosmetic problem. Only the ones causing issues are generally removed. This one is from a small dog of roughly 22lbs (now 21lbs!). It was growing behind the left shoulder blade and she was starting to have issues walking. Knowing that it was a lipoma before surgery made it much easier to perform. I didn't have to worry about margins, I could just cut over it and scoop it out. It's not a sexy surgery but it sure is fun!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oh yes, I took the picture!

These pictures were taken in the name of science.

Many people don't know that intact male cats have barbs on their penises. They are supposed to have two purposes. One is to induce ovulation in the female cat and the other is supposedly to scrape sperm from other male cats out of the female's vagina.

For veterinarians, there is another purpose. If there are no barbs on the penis, the cat has been castrated. I know it is generally very easy to tell if a cat has been castrated (just lift the tail). I have run into a couple cats that had been adopted as neutered males but it turned out they were bilaterally cryptorchid (the testicles were still in the abdomen).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A dog named Zipper

Well, this past week, they came by two again. This is a little story about a dog that I shall call Zipper. Over the years he has made a habit of eating things that aren't exactly what you would describe as edible. Last year I had to do an emergency exploratory to remove material that had become stuck. One incision was made into his stomach and two into his intestines.

His owners knew something was up when he started to vomit and wouldn't eat. He is a really great dog to work with but there are times when you just shake your head when you see his name on the appointment book. We were pretty busy with multiple surgeries so the girls had him dropped off with automatic radiographs.

When I got out of surgery the radiograph was ready for me. There it was, the classic pattern for a foreign body. All the gas built up in the intestines as well as an incredible amount of gas in the stomach. You can see the arrow where the foreign body was stuck. It was in the large colon so we proceeded with a few enemas. When that didn't produce the foreign body, we sedated him and were able to pull out a small grey sock with pink trim.

We were elated until we did a follow up radiograph just to make sure there wasn't anything else left lurking in his intestines. Now that the gas was moving, it showed up. Another one!!!! He got to stay the night for more enemas. We were so happy when the other one was produced. The daughter did not want the pair back.

Oh yeah, why I call him Zipper. It would be nice to just be able to open his stomach with a zipper to see what he's eaten this time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

They came by two

I have slowly learned that the moment that I think I've seen it all, something new will be right around the corner. So it was when I went to examine a young puppy for the first time. I always start at the head and make my way back. I kind of got stuck on the mouth. As you can see from the picture, this puppy had two baby canine teeth (or 604s using the proper terminology) on her left upper jaw. I told her owners that we would need to remove both teeth when she was under general anesthetic for her spay. This is necessary to make room for the adult tooth to come in properly. Having two teeth blocking the adult tooth is bad news.

We scheduled her spay for 16 weeks of age. Once we were done with that procedure, we did dental radiographs to make sure the adult tooth was there (which it was). Then came the delicate work. In order to remove the two baby teeth, I needed to make a flap which you can see in the bottom picture. I always find it interesting that people think it is so easy to remove baby teeth. The root makes up two-thirds of the whole tooth. Break the root off and you have doubled your work load. In this case you also have to take into account that no harm can come to the adult tooth. It is very delicate at this stage.

Wonder what I'm going to see next!