splenectomy in dogs

Everything You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Splenectomy

Guide to Your Dog’s Splenectomy

Splenectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of the spleen. This procedure, which can be performed on humans, dogs, and other animals, is most commonly performed for tumors of the spleen, trauma or torsion, which is the twisting of the blood vessels supplying the spleen.

German shepherd dogs are predisposed to a type of tumor of the spleen called hemangiosarcoma, but older dogs and cats can get other types of splenic tumors as well. Splenic torsion is most commonly seen in large and giant breed dogs and can occur alone or with gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV).

In dogs, trauma or rupture of the spleen can occur after any severe traumatic event, such as being kicked, falling from a high distance, or hit by a car.

Here is a very good article about how the spleen works – Structure and Function of the Spleen in Dogs.

Diagnosis of Dog’s Spleen Before Splenectomy

Your veterinarian will ask you many questions to develop a complete history of the progression of the problem in your dog. These questions will include:

Diagnostic Tests to Evaluate for Splenic Problems

Treatment of Dogs With Spleen Problems

Postoperative Care for Dogs After a Splenectomy

Preventative Care

If your dog collapses, shows signs of exercise intolerance, or if your dog’s gums are white, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Information In-depth on Splenectomy in Dogs

Splenectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of the spleen. This procedure is often combined with exploratory abdominal surgery, in which all of the abdominal organs are inspected and biopsies are collected if needed.

In dogs, the most common indications for splenectomy include splenic tumors, splenic torsion, which is twisting of the blood vessels supplying the spleen, and trauma to the spleen.

Splenic Tumors in Dogs

The most common splenic tumor in dogs is hemangiosarcoma. The breed most commonly affected is the German shepherd dog, but other breeds can be affected too. It is usually seen in older animals.

Other types of tumors affecting the spleen include fibrosarcoma, mast cell tumor, lymphoma, osteosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma. Blood clots, or hematomas, are also seen.

Splenic Torsion in Dogs

Splenic torsion is most commonly seen in large and giant breed dogs. It is also sometimes seen with gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV). Symptoms of a splenic torsion include pacing, and frequent changes in body position while sitting or lying down, drooling, gagging, retching, physical weakness, mental dullness, sudden collapse.

Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is often seen with splenic torsion, as the pancreas is located adjacent to the spleen. Pancreatitis causes abdominal pain and vomiting.

Trauma in Dogs

Trauma to the spleen from a kick or a car accident can result in rupture of the spleen. If the spleen ruptures from trauma or from a tumor bursting, the patient can lose a lot of blood into his abdominal cavity causing shock and collapse.

Diagnosis In-depth

Therapy In-depth

Follow-up Care for Dogs After Splenectomy

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog does not rapidly improve.

Administer all prescribed medications as directed. Alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your pet. You should also follow your veterinarian’s instructions closely for post-operative care, including exercise restriction for 1-2 weeks. This allows the abdominal incision to heal.

Use an Elizabethan collar if your dog tries to lick or remove his stitches or staples in the skin incision.