When a dog lover is contemplating a surgery to remove a canine cancer, we should remember there are different ways to do surgeries.
Depending on the way the surgery is done, certain things can be improved upon that would otherwise make recovery harder.
Some of these are:
- blood loss
One of the challenges when a vet faces when removing a tumor in the mouth, or some other areas, is bleeding.
Blood less makes recovery tougher on the dog. Bleeding also tends to block the view of the surgeon, since the nurse is always having to dab the site and sponge off the blood. This slows the procedure down and the dog has to be anesthetized for a longer duration.
There are different ways to control blood loss. The most common is “tying off” a bleeding vessel using a piece of suture material. Sometimes we simply use a small instrument to clamp the bleeding vessel to make it stop hemorrhaging.
The mouth is an area that is difficult to control blood loss using these traditional techniques. The clamps fall off and the bleeders are hard to tie off.
This is where the surgical laser comes in. A laser is simply a high-intensity beam of energy that can be used in surgery to separate tissue. The great thing about the laser is that is seals off the ends of small blood vessels. This stops a lot of the blood loss that can affect our dogs when they faced with a surgery like this.
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The laser seals of nerves and lymphatics too. This tends to decrease pain and swelling too, but I always recommend medication for pain and inflammation, regardless.
So consider the use of a surgical laser, especially if there is a growth that needs to be removed in an area like the mouth. Common tumors in this area are melanomas, fibrosarcomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and different types of epuli (an epulis one of a group of mouth tumors).
There are a fair number of veterinarians that use this tool, including myself, and it really helps make things easier on our loved dogs.
Best to all,
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.
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