Plastic Surgery...For Pets?!
In everyone’s life, there comes a time when they look into the mirror and come to a sudden, startling realization that they are aging. Yes, we knew that time was passing. We realized that each birthday had a slightly different title than its predecessor, but this last one seems to have left a mark. Several marks, in fact. A select portion of us may possess enough hubris (and disposable income) to think, “I should pay someone make this go away.” Not so with pets. I’ve met many animals who seemed a touchself conscious after a bath or trim, but not one who wasted even a single minute looking into a mirror and pining over hisflagging self esteem. Animalscan, however, benefit from plastic surgery.
One type of reconstruction is the eyelid lift. This is used for dogs (certain breeds, especially) withslightly curled or drooping eyelids that have ended up with the furry part touching the eye. That’s a painful condition which will only get worse as time passes, but pretty easy to fix with a little nip/tuck and a funnel collar.
One kind of plastic surgery is used on adorable little baby faces, if you can believe it. Dogs bred to have squashy little noses are sometimes born with tiny little nostrils, not wide enough to pass air through easily. These little ones are kind of bubbly and gaspy until they can have the openings enlarged with the help of a laser surgeon. Those same breeds may have prominentfacial skin folds, whichvery oftenstick out too much and brush against the surface of the eye. Facewrinkles definitely play a role in the “cuteness factor”, but many owners find out too late that thisuninterruptedeye irritation can impair the pet’s vision, eventually leading toblindness.
Some dog breeds really slobber a lot. It’s not actually the quantity of saliva they produce but the shape of the lower lip. Too much laxity in the cheek fold allows rivers of saliva to run down onto the chin and neck. The skin here gets quite diseased due to constant dampness and exposure to salivary enzymes, but a lip tuck can save the patient years of pain and discomfort.
Occasionally, it’s the rear end of the animal needing work. Female patients with a “recessed vulva” have a bit too much droopy tissueback there, and that prevents urine from cleanly escaping the body. Skin that’s perpetually damp with urine obviously becomes very inflamed and uncomfortable, often leading to recurrent and worsening bladder infections. Dogs that were bred for a tight, curly tail nub can suffer from severe infections deep in the crevice aroundit. The pain is unrelenting until this skin can be reconstructed in a way that allows healthy air circulation.
If you have a pet from one of these breeds, or another dog that is suffering with his own architecture, youprobably assumed that he’d be saddled with this burden forever. Life’s too short to tolerate fur in your eye 24/7, so check with your vet for surgical options.
Dr. M.S. Regan