Abdominal Surgery

Abdominal surgery is a surgical procedure performed on organs in the abdomen, such as the stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Has your pet ingested something unusual? Both cats and dogs can accidentally swallow objects stuck in their gastrointestinal system. If your pet cannot naturally pass the thing, abdominal surgery might be necessary. It's crucial to seek veterinary advice if you suspect your pet has swallowed a foreign item to ensure their health and safety.

Gastrointestinal Obstructions

What is a gastrointestinal obstruction?

Gastrointestinal obstructions refer to blockages that can develop anywhere from the oesophagus to the large bowel. Commonly found in the small intestine due to its narrower structure, these obstructions often result from dogs of any age ingesting foreign objects. However, for older dogs, it may also indicate cancer. It's most prevalent in dogs aged between one and three years old.

How do we diagnose it?

Detecting an obstruction is usually straightforward, as objects like bones, rocks, or metals readily appear on radiographs. However, other items, such as seeds, rubber, or toy fragments, can be elusive on plain radiographs. We use contrast mediums like barium to confirm the obstruction's presence in these cases. Other diagnostic tools such as ultrasound and CT scans can be used to diagnose an obstruction.

How do we treat it?

The primary solution to address an obstruction is surgery. This entails an incision into the stomach or small intestine to extract the obstructing object. In some cases where the blockage has been present for some time, there may be extensive irreversible damage to the bowel. In that case, our veterinary surgeons might need to excise the damaged portion and suture the healthy segments back together, which could necessitate a slightly extended hospital stay. Intravenous fluid therapy and blood work are also required as part of the treatment.

Surgery Expenses

These surgeries usually cost $2000 - $5000. The costs are determined by the surgery's intricacy and the hospital stay's duration.

Post-Surgery Care & Recovery

Pets typically return home within one to three days after surgery. They have a specific diet after surgery before they return to their regular food. We will give instructions on what to feed your pet after surgery. For their safety, it's advisable to eliminate any potentially hazardous toys from their vicinity.

Oesophageal Foreign Bodies

What is an oesophageal foreign body?

An oesophageal foreign body refers to an obstruction within the oesophagus due to ingesting an object, typically a sizable one. Most commonly, these obstructions occur within the mid-oesophagus, where it constricts as it courses over the heart and beneath the aorta. Notably, large bone fragments are the most recurrent culprits.

While these blockages are usually partial, permitting the passage of fluids, they cause regurgitation of undigested food shortly after eating. Additionally, persistent swallowing attempts by the dog to dislodge the obstruction are evident. Some dogs appear very uncomfortable as pain and discomfort are associated with having the obstruction.

How do we diagnose it?

North Richmond Vet Hospital employs chest X-rays as the primary diagnostic tool for identifying oesophageal foreign bodies.

How do we treat it?

Treatment can be complex, and we can offer two options for treatment.

The preferred method is by using an endoscope to identify and visualise the object and then using specialised tools to grab and remove the object. This allows us to assess the oesophagus after the object is removed.

We can use a surgical approach if we cannot remove the object with the endoscope. This approach involves accessing the stomach abdominally and using a gastric tube to manoeuvre the object into the stomach. After that, the foreign body is extracted, and the stomach is sealed.

Surgery Expenses

For these procedures at North Richmond Vet Hospital, charges typically range from $1,500 to $3000, depending upon the surgical complexity and hospitalisation duration.

Post-Surgery Care & Recovery

Post-operative care usually involves discharging the pet a day post-surgery, accompanied by pain medication, antibiotics, antacids, and gastric protectants to mitigate potential complications such as oesophageal scarring. We will provide instructions on diet on discharge.

Bladder Stones Removal

What are Bladder Stones?

Bladder stones occur after excess salts in the urine accumulate and form stones. They can result in an incorrect diet or some cases there can be a genetic predisposition for them to develop. The presence of the stones causes constant inflammation and irritation to the bladder and predisposes it to infection, which can spread to the kidneys.

How do we diagnose it?

In some cases, the stones can be detected by palpating the bladder through the abdomen on physical examination. Then radiographs are performed to confirm a diagnosis, and in some cases, ultrasound is also utilised.

How do we treat it?

Although some bladder stones might be treated medically with specialised diets, surgery is a more common and faster approach and is what is usually recommended. Surgical removal of these stones is usually straightforward with few risks of complications. The pet can typically return home on the day of the surgery.

Surgery expenses

The cost for surgical removal of bladder stones ranges from $1,500 to $3000 depending on the diagnostic tests performed and the length of hospital stay.

Post-Surgery Care & Recovery

Post-operative care requires the pet to maintain low activity levels for 5-7 days. A significant post-treatment consideration is a dietary change, especially if diet is identified as a contributing factor, to prevent the recurrence of the issue.


What is a Splenectomy?

A splenectomy involves the surgical removal of the spleen, an oval-shaped organ situated in the abdomen. The primary reason for this procedure often stems from detecting a spleen mass that might lead to severe bleeding. Due to the spleen's dense concentration of blood vessels and blood cells, it can result in rapid and potentially fatal bleeding. While these masses could be benign hematomas or malignant tumours, an accurate diagnosis usually requires sending the entire spleen for a biopsy. Nevertheless, your vet might advise procedures like chest X-rays, CT scans, abdominal ultrasound, or fine needle aspirates to assess signs of spread before surgery.

How do we treat it?

This surgery is often performed as an emergency due to the severe bleeding risk associated with the spleen. A substantial incision in the abdomen allows the vet to inspect all abdominal organs, including the spleen. The spleen is removed using an electrosurgical device, which allows for a swifter surgery and a safer anaesthetic for an often-compromised patient. If other organs display abnormalities, the vet might take their biopsies. Following this, the abdomen is sutured closed. A blood transfusion may be required.

Potential Complications

The foremost complication post-splenectomy is bleeding, potentially requiring a blood transfusion. Rarer but severe complications include heart arrhythmias and blood clots. Post-splenectomy, the pet is observed for 1-2 days for potential arrhythmia and bleeding symptoms. The unpredictability and sudden nature of these complications mean they can sometimes result in abrupt death. If a cancerous tumour is detected in the spleen, discussing additional treatments like chemotherapy with an oncologist becomes crucial, even though these tumours often have a poor prognosis.

Surgery Expenses

The estimated cost for a splenectomy at North Richmond Vet Hospital ranges between $2,000 to $3,500. This might vary based on the complexity of the surgery and additional care requirements.

Post-Surgery Care & Recovery

After undergoing a splenectomy, restricting your pet to the house or a crate is vital, allowing only two-week leash-led bathroom breaks. This ensures proper healing of the incision and the spleen removal site. A cone may be needed to prevent them from licking or causing incision trauma.

P: 02 4571 2042
E: northrichmondvet@hotmail.com

Copyright © 2022 North Richmond Vet Hospital