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HomeDear VetBabbleShould My 12-Year-Old Dog with an Enlarged Spleen Undergo Surgery?

Should My 12-Year-Old Dog with an Enlarged Spleen Undergo Surgery?


Dear VetBabble: My 12-Year-Old Dog has an Enlarged Spleen, Should we Opt for Surgery?

Question: My elderly dog has been diagnosed with an enlarged spleen. The diagnosis was made only through x-rays and ultrasound, and the recommendation was surgery. Is there any other test we can do before deciding on surgery or is surgery our only and next option? Answer: Dear concerned pet owner, We understand that the health of your beloved pet is of utmost importance and any surgical recommendation can be worrisome. Our focus in this response is to enlighten you on why your vet may suggest surgery and discuss any additional diagnostic measures that could be helpful.

Understanding the Situation

The enlargement of the spleen in dogs can signal several different health conditions, such as liver disease, osteosarcoma, hefty bloat, or even cancer. X-rays and ultrasound are generally the initial steps to evaluate the severity and causes for splenic enlargement.

The Employed Diagnostic Tests and Procedures

Firstly, let’s unpack the diagnostic tools already used in your canine companion’s case. X-rays (also known as radiographs) have the ability to identify any significant enlargement of the spleen, while ultrasounds provide a more detailed view of the spleen’s architecture and can sometimes hint towards the underlying cause. These diagnostics can give your vet valuable insights into your pet’s situation.

In certain conditions, other tests like blood panels or more specific imaging may be helpful. For instance, if liver disease is suspected, performing blood tests that look specifically at liver function can add to the information portfolio. Similarly, if bone cancer is a concern, radiographs of other areas of the body may also be insightful.

Why Surgery Might Be The Best Course Of Action

Depending on the specifics of your dog’s condition, your veterinarian may indeed recommend surgery as the most suitable course of action. Splenic tumors, for instance, can only definitively be diagnosed via biopsy – which is often most safely and completely obtained at the time of surgical removal.

Another reason your vet may lean toward surgery for an enlarged spleen, especially in a senior dog, is to prevent a life-threatening condition called a ‘splenic torsion’ or a ‘splenic rupture’. Both are emergencies where time is of the essence and a preventative surgical approach can be a life-saver.

In conclusion, if your vet has recommended surgery, they likely believe it to be the best course of action. It’s always okay to seek a second opinion if you’re unsure about the decision. Trust in the expertise of trained professionals who have your pet’s best interests at heart. Your little fur friend relies on you to make the best health decisions possible for them!

Remember that every situation is unique, and your vet is equipped with the knowledge and the specifics of your pet’s case to make the best recommendations.

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