VCA Southern Maryland Veterinary Referral Center

Surgery

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery?

A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional surgical training. This type of veterinarian can offer special assistance in the following kinds of cases:

  • Traumatic injury and emergencies (such as fractures, skin wounds and lacerations, correction of gastric dilatation-volvulus, and exploratory (abdominal/thoracic) surgery.
  • Orthopedic surgeries (cruciate ligament surgeries (TPLOs and Lateral Fabellar Sutures), correction of medial patellar luxation (MPL) and Femoral Head Ostectomies (FHO)).
  • Soft tissue surgeries (such as tumor/cancer removal and correction of congenital defects).
  • Neurological surgeries (such as herniated discs and spinal injuries).

While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases and conditions require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive surgical training in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery will work closely with your general practitioner veterinarian, as well as'"depending on your pet's condition'"other doctors with intensive training in internal medicine, veterinary oncology, veterinary neurology, and veterinary radiology.

Why Does My Pet Need A Surgical Referral?

Just as your own primary care physician may feel the need to refer you to other doctors from time to time, your general practitioner veterinarian may feel your pet needs the additional expertise of a veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery for certain surgeries. In fact, many general practitioner veterinarians refer out all but the most routine of surgeries'"orthopedic and neurology cases, reconstructive surgeries, tumor removals, etc.

A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery is also often affiliated with a referral hospital where they may have access to specialized diagnostic or surgical equipment, the latest and safest anesthesia monitoring equipment, physical therapy or rehabilitation capabilities, and other critical care services to which a general practitioner may not have access. All of these services may be necessary for the optimal care and recovery of your pet.

You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet for a surgical condition is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of care for his or her problem.

What Kinds of Problems Require the Expertise of a Veterinary Whose Practice is Limited to Surgery?

A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery can repair complex fractures and use advanced techniques to repair torn ligaments (ruptured cruciate ligaments) within the knee. They can also remove cancerous growths, manage extensive or non-healing wounds, and perform reconstructive surgery, such as grafting skin over large injuries. A veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery can perform intricate surgeries in the chest or abdomen, such as kidney transplants in cats or repairing heart defects in dogs. Spinal injuries and herniated discs are problems that are also commonly seen by a veterinarian whose practice is limited to surgery. Veterinary surgery is also expanding into minimally invasive surgery, such as arthroscopy, thorascopy, and laparoscopy.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

In many, if not most, surgical cases, your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet's veterinary care, especially if your pet is continuing to cope with a disease or chronic condition. It depends on your pet's particular disease and health problem, however. Typically, though, your general practitioner veterinarian will oversee many aspects of your pet's pre-op and post-op care, just as in human medicine. Recovery periods are often prolonged in many surgical cases, particularly in orthopedic surgery, and it is very important to follow your veterinary team's recommendations concerning at-home recovery guidelines for your pet, follow up care and appointments, as well as any rehabilitation that has been prescribed.

Did You Know?

Just as in humans, a pet's recovery from veterinary surgery can go more smoothly or even result in a better outcome with the addition of rehabilitation options. Many veterinary referral hospitals offer rehabilitation services, such as water therapy, physical therapy, and massage therapy, as an adjunct to surgical care. These options will be discussed with you pertaining to your pet's specific medical condition.

Just as in people, laser surgery is becoming a much more common surgical technique in veterinary medicine, bringing with it the same advantages of reduced blood loss and shorter recovery times.

If you think that your pet may be a candidate for veterinary surgery, talk to your general practitioner veterinarian, or find a veterinary surgical center near you today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly Asked Questions

Visiting hours

Our visiting hours are 6:30am-7:00am & 6:30pm-7:30pm, or by appointment with the attending doctor. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Can VCA Mission be my regular veterinary clinic?

No, our hospital only provides emergency and referral services. We do work directly with your primary care veterinarian on a referral basis. Referrals make it much easier for the VCA Mission team to coordinate the utmost care for your pet.

How do I get a referral?

If you have an initial concern about your pet, please contact your regular veterinarian. He or she will determine whether a visit to our hospital is necessary.

If your pet's condition is an emergency, you or your veterinarian should contact our hospital immediately to arrange the appropriate care needed.

Will my regular veterinarian be updated about my pet?

Yes. Our doctors will keep a constant stream of communication in regards to your pet's condition(s). A faxed report and a follow-up phone usually takes place.

Commonly Asked Questions

Visiting hours

Our visiting hours are 6:30am-7:00am & 6:30pm-7:30pm, or by appointment with the attending doctor. Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Can VCA Mission be my regular veterinary clinic?

No, our hospital only provides emergency and referral services. We do work directly with your primary care veterinarian on a referral basis. Referrals make it much easier for the Mission MedVet team to coordinate the utmost care for your pet.

How do I get a referral?

If you have any initial concern about your pet, please contact your regular veterinarian. He or she will determine whether a visit to our hospital is necessary.

If your pet's condition is an emergency, you or your veterinarian should contact our hospital immediately to arrange the appropriate care needed.

Will my regular veterinarian be updated about my pet?

Yes. Our doctors will keep a constant stream of communication in regards to your pet's condition(s). A faxed report and a follow-up phone usually takes place.

What is periodontal disease in dogs and cats?

This disease is the most common mouth problem in dogs and cats. Periodontal disease is an infection caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque. Unfortunately, bacteria can be present on even healthy looking teeth. Gingivitis, which is the first stage of periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gum area that can be seen as reddened and swollen gums. Gingivitis is the only visible sign of periodontal disease. A complete oral examination with dental radiographs and periodontal probing performed under general anesthesia is the only way to appropriately identify the extent and severity of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease first occurs when plaque and tartar begin to build up on your pet's teeth. In the beginning, plaque might simply appear to be discoloration or staining on the teeth. Without regular brushing, however, this plaque builds up and turns into tartar, or calculus. This is the visible material you can sometimes see encrusted on the teeth and along the gum line of a pet's mouth. Tartar can eventually damage the bone around your pet's teeth that holds the teeth in place. It can dig into the gums at the base of your pet's teeth and form pockets, where bacteria can become trapped and cause serious infections.

This condition is very serious in pets because, if left unchecked, it eventually leads to the destruction of each affected tooth's supporting structures, causing pain, infection, and tooth loss. The infection also results in bacteria entering the bloodstream and damaging other organs or body systems in your pet, such as the kidney, liver, and heart. This complicates other underlying diseases, such as diabetes or chronic renal disease.

Why is proper dental care for dogs and cats so important?

Imagine what your mouth and teeth would look and feel like if you never brushed them or visited your dentist. That unappealing picture is the same for your pet. Without proper dental care, your pet will most likely suffer from bad breath, inflamed gums, missing, loose, or broken teeth, and all of the pain and discomfort such problems can cause. In addition, veterinary experts have found that dental disease can also lead to systemic health problems in dogs and cats. The good news, however, is that dental disease is easily prevented by following your veterinarian's recommendations regarding dental examinations, home care, and dental cleanings.

How can dental disease in pets be treated?

The best answer is with prevention. Starting at the age of one year, your pet should have an annual dental examination. While the damage caused by periodontal disease is generally irreversible, it can be stopped and treated with antibiotics and regular cleaning. In between your pet's examination, you should follow your veterinarian's advice regarding home dental care for your pet, including daily tooth cleanings and special dental care diets and treats. There are several stages of periodontal disease. The first stages can be treated with cleanings, medications, and subgingival cleaning. At the later stages, surgery is necessary to treat the affected teeth.
 

Why is a dental cleaning important for my pet?

The best answer is with prevention. Starting at the age of one year, your pet should have an annual dental examination. While the damage caused by periodontal disease is generally irreversible, it can be stopped and treated with antibiotics and regular cleaning. In between your pet's examination, you should follow your veterinarian's advice regarding home dental care for your pet, including daily tooth cleanings and special dental care diets and treats. There are several stages of periodontal disease. The first stages can be treated with cleanings, medications, and subgingival cleaning. At the later stages, surgery is necessary to treat the affected teeth.

Does my pet really need to be anesthetized?

While the quality of dental care we can now offer to pets is very similar to what humans enjoy, there is one important difference: you can't explain to your pet what is happening and why. For that reason, pets must be anesthetized for anything other than the most cursory of examinations. In order to perform a thorough checkup, your veterinarian or trained veterinary dental technician needs to be able to visualize all your pet's teeth'"even those in the back of his or her mouth'"and be able to access the entire mouth with instruments during the cleaning procedure. For more complicated procedures, such as tooth extractions, oral surgery, and root canal, it is essential.

Anesthesia-free dental cleanings are, unfortunately, becoming popular, but are inappropriate for a number of reasons. First of all, using a sharp instrument to remove calculus in the mouth of a pet that is awake is unsafe and carries a high likelihood of damage to the oral soft tissues in the event of slippage of the instrument. Secondly, true periodontal pathology is that which is found under the gum line, and cleaning and probing for pockets under the gum line is impossible in a pet that is awake, especially between teeth that are far back in the mouth. Lastly, cleaning under the gum line and deep into periodontal pockets can be painful and uncomfortable, as one can imagine a dental cleaning would feel had they not brushed their teeth for a year. For that reason, it is imperative to provide appropriate pain control for these procedures.
 

Services Offered in Surgery

Veterinarians in Surgery

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General Practice

We have over 600 animal hospitals in 41 states and 4 Canadian provinces that are staffed by more than 3,000 fully-qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 400 being board-certified specialists.

The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments such as wellness, spay/neuter, advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, boarding, and grooming. Services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

Find a VCA General Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

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Emergency Care

Your emergency needs can be met right here at our hospital.
VCA Southern Maryland Veterinary Referral Center provides 24 hour emergency veterinary care, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Emergency veterinarians, veterinary technicians and/or veterinary assistants are on staff 24 hours a day.

Please call us at 301-638-0988. We are located at 3485 Rockefeller Court. Waldorf, MD 20602.

We provide the highest standard in veterinary emergency and critical care services. We are trained and equipped to perform a variety of emergency surgeries and procedures. We provide the highest standards of pain management. Emergency internal medicine consultations, including full diagnostics, are available.

Please call or come in immediately if you feel your pet is having an emergency or needs after-hours care.
 

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