If we have performed surgery on your pet, in all likelihood there will be 1-3 recheck appointments that you need to schedule when your pet is discharged. These will be noted on our “Discharge Instruction Sheet”. Suture removal may be one of the appointments and is generally done 10-12 days after surgery.
The procedure will take 10-15 minutes in most cases. However, there may be some instances where sedation may be needed and this will be noted on the discharge sheet. Sedation-suture removal may take 1-3 hrs to complete at the hospital. Another type of recheck is an “Exam recheck”, this is generally done by the Doctor and 15 minutes is scheduled for this appointment. We advise arriving 5-10 minutes early for this type of appointment as we do not allot extra time for it. If you arrive 10 minutes into the appointment, there may only be 5 minutes available. The most common type of recheck is an “X-ray recheck”, generally done at 8 weeks after an orthopedic surgery where pins, plates or screws were used.
In many instances, we can complete the X-ray without sedation; however, we ask that you plan on the possibility of sedation being necessary. This means: fast your pet after midnight, water is OK in the AM.
Your understanding is greatly appreciated if we inform you that we believe sedation is necessary. When we make this recommendation, it is with the safety of your pet in mind.
If you believe that a recheck appointment will conflict with your work schedule we can accommodate a drop-off for your pet so that they can spend part or all of the day here. Just ask the receptionist to set this up.
All patient visits to our office are communicated to your Veterinarian.
Our goal is to have all letters generated and sent within 3-5 days, but sometimes there is a delay depending on the nature of the problem being treated.
Please note: we do not mail referral letters unless requested to do so by a veterinarian. If you would like a copy of the referral letter, please ask during discharge to have a copy e mailed or faxed to you. Due to the number of cases seen at our hospital, it is not possible to talk directly with every veterinarian on every patient. However, the doctors do call many veterinarians to discuss patients and are always available for any veterinarian who wishes to discuss a pet that we have treated.
Dr. Hay has donated services to many Rescue Organizations over the years. Below is a list of some of the groups we have worked with.
Labrador Rescue of Florida (www.labradorrescue.net)
South East Beagle Rescue (www.sebr.org)
Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue (www.tampabaybeaglerescue.org)
United Yorkie Rescue (www.unitedyorkierescue.org)
Lost Angels Animal Rescue (www.lostangelsanimalrescue.org)
Pug Rescue (www.pugrescueofflorida.org)
Bay Area Greyhound Rescue (www.bayareagreyhounds.org)
Joey’s Greyhound Friends (www.Joeysgreyhoundfriends.org)
Humane Society Of Pinellas (www.humanesocietyofpinellas.org)
Humane Society of Tampa Bay (www.humanesocietytampa.org)
Animal Services of Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee and Lee counties
Florida All Retriever Rescue
Cocker Rescue (www.floridacocker.org)
Canine Castaways in Arcadia (www.caninecastaways.org)
Boston Terrier Rescue (www.btrescue.org)
..And the many Veterinarians in the surrounding Tri-county area who have enlisted our surgical expertise as part of the process for their rescue patients to find new homes.
Kendra and Penny..Penny recovering from having chest surgery to ligate a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). A collaborative effort between Dr. Moore at Animal Medical Clinic of Springhill, Dr. Figerola at ASAP, Kendra and VSS staff to give Penny a chance to live a normal life.
Thyroid Cancer in dogs is associated with a good prognosis if the tumor is within certain size limits and freely moveable. We have treated many dogs with thyroid cancer over the years and the prognosis is very good for dogs with tumors that can be reomved.
There are 4 parathyroid glands in the neck which are important in calcium regulation. Older dogs can develop an overactive solitary parathyroid gland that causes marked elevation in calcium levels called hyperparathyroidism. It does occur in cats, but is very rare. We perform surgery to remove an abnormal parathyroid gland. Successful treatment requires an experienced surgeon’s expertise to recognize the abnormal gland as well in managing the patient after surgery.
Thoracic Surgery can be complex and is generally only undertaken by surgeons with intensive training. Our surgeons work closely with a team of experienced veterinary technicians to provide the best care when thoracic surgery is needed. We are equipped to routinely ventilate dogs and cats that are undergoing chest surgery. Lung tumors can be removed and a cure or long term control is possible. We also perform selected cardiac procedures, such as ligation of Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). PDA is a congenital heart defect with an open vessel (the ductus arteriosus) between the two main arteries of the heart (aorta and pulmonary artery). In some instances surgery is the only option for a cure. Chylothorax is a rare condition in dogs and cats and is an area of interest for Dr. Hay. Chylothorax is an accumulation of the lymphatic fluid within the chest cavity. The fluid should normally flow from the abdomen and head/neck and drain into the heart. Chylothorax is treated by re-routing the lymphatics in the chest/abdomen. As is the case with liver shunts, Dr. Hay has found that pet owners of dogs and cats with Chylothorax are often very distressed by the time the decision is made to perform surgery. Though it is a technically challenging procedure, the veterinary literature reports a 50% success rate in cats and 70-80% in dogs. Dr. Hay has focused on refining the surgery to treat Chylothorax to optimize success and is here for you as you make this decision regarding surgery for your pet.
The most common urogenital issue in dogs and cats is caused by small stones forming in the bladder and then traveling into the urethra. This can cause difficulty or inability to urinate. Bladder stones are very common in dogs and frequently diagnosed incidentally when an X-ray is perfromed. Some can be treated by diet and some require surgery to remove them. Each pet may differ slightly on what is needed to best treat bladder stones. Most general veterinarians with experience will have an opinion on the best option(s). Male cats in particular are predisposed to urethral blockage which necessitates perineal urethrostomy or PU. We commonly perform urogenital surgery in dogs and cats for urethral obstruction. Bladder surgery to remove stones is a common surgery to perform. The most common presentation is a male dog that is having difficulty urinating. In female dogs, bladder stones can cause recurrent urinary tract infections. Most dogs and cats will respond very well to surgery on the bladder and usually are discharged 1-3 days after surgery.
Above: Bladder stones in a male dog. They appear as the white round structures to the right of the picture. You can see several small stones in the upper left of the picture, these are stones in the kidneys.
Common hernias in dogs include perineal hernias, which are located around the tail and rectal region. They almost always occur in non-neutered male dogs. First they will present as swelling around the tail, sometimes worse initially on the right before the left becomes affected. Eventually perineal hernias will cause difficulty with defecation and occasionally problems with urination. They are treated with a muscle flap procedure to close the hernia. It is common to perform surgery on the left and the right sides at the same time as well as to neuter the dog. Perineal hernias occur in cats, but can be missed as they cause constipation which is attributed to a more common problem of megacolon in cats.
Diaphragmatic hernias occur in dogs and cats and the most common cause is vehicular trauma. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that separates the chest and abdomen and performs the dual function of facilitating breathing as well as keeping abdominal contents separate from the chest. Surprisingly, it can be difficult if not impossible to tell from a physical exam if a pet has a diaphragmatic hernia. A chest X-ray is necessary in most instances to achieve an accurate diagnosis. It can be surgically corrected, resulting in a very good prognosis.
Inguinal and abdominal hernias occur in dogs and occasionally in cats. Inguinal or scrotal hernias in male dogs are the most likely to cause problems via intestinal blockage. We recommend repairing all inguinal hernias in male dogs (including neutering at the same time). In females, the hernias are usually larger and intestinal blockage is much less likely. The hernia will cause problems once it becomes large enough to touch the ground and cause skin damage.
Abdominal Surgery: Liver, Kidneys and Intestines
There are particular types of surgery that specialists perform in the abdomen. Of note is treatment of Extra Hepatic Portosystemic shunts (or Liver Shunts). These are commonly diagnosed in young small breed dogs, Yorkshire Terriers being the most common. We have also treated liver shunts in Schnauzers, Pugs, Scottish Terriers, Lhasa Apso, Shi Tzu and Beagles. Our preferred treatment is Ameroid Constrictor ring placement. Dr. Hay has worked with United Yorkshire Terrier Rescue and other rescue groups in treating this problem. In some instances the pets underwent an extensive diagnostic work-up which left their owners drained financially and emotionally and unable or unwilling to have surgery performed. The decision was made to sign their pet over to a rescue organization. In experienced hands, liver shunt treatment carries a very good prognosis. We can help guide you to the most expeditious way of diagnosing and treating a liver shunt in a dog. Other abdominal surgries include tumor removal from the liver, Kidneys, intestine or spleen. Bladder or kidney stone removal is also possible.
Above: An Ameroid Constrictor is present placed on a liver shunt. The shunt is the red blood vesel going through the constrictor. The small cylindrical structure in the center of the constrictor is the key that is removed to allow the device to be placed on a blood vessel. Once in place, the key is slid in to the constrictor to lock it in place.
Masses on the spleen are not uncommon especially in older dogs. Sometimes these become very large weighing up to 5 or 10 pounds! If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with a mass involving the spleen, please contact us.
Above: Large mass involving the spleen of a dog.