Soft tissue veterinary surgery – does your pet need it and what to expect

PUBLISHED: 15:38 06 October 2020

Shane Morrison, vet and founder of Christchurch Veterinary Referrals, explains that soft tissue problems in pets are regularly referred. Picture: Simply C Photography

Shane Morrison, vet and founder of Christchurch Veterinary Referrals, explains that soft tissue problems in pets are regularly referred. Picture: Simply C Photography

© 2019 Simply C Photography

From operating on a cat with soft tissue sarcoma to treating a dog with an infected ear, the surgeons at Christchurch Veterinary Referrals could be carrying out almost any animal operation on any given day.

'Along with our CT scanner, we have our own MRI scanner, which can help us diagnose and carry out pre-operative planning for soft tissue patients.' Picture: Simply C Photography'Along with our CT scanner, we have our own MRI scanner, which can help us diagnose and carry out pre-operative planning for soft tissue patients.' Picture: Simply C Photography

Diagnosing, treating and operating on pets referred by vets in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex, the team is highly trained and very experienced.

Shane Morrison, vet and founder of the practice, explains that while some 80 per cent of operations here are either orthopaedic or spinal, soft tissue problems are also regularly referred.

Laryngeal paralysis is a common problem in older, larger breeds. Picture: Simply C PhotographyLaryngeal paralysis is a common problem in older, larger breeds. Picture: Simply C Photography

“Along with our CT scanner, we have our own MRI scanner, which can help us diagnose and carry out pre-operative planning for soft tissue patients,” he explains.

“An MRI gives us a 3D view – it might alert us to a soft tissue injury or a mast cell tumour in a dog, for example, and then we can decide how to proceed.”

What is the treatment for laryngeal paralysis in dogs?

Laryngeal paralysis is a common problem in older, larger breeds; to treat it, corrective airway surgery is carried out.

“Laryngeal paralysis is where the vocal folds fail to open properly, which can be a real problem, especially when it is hot and a dog is breathing fast,” Shane explains.

“We do a host of other repairs too: diaphragmatic hernias, following road traffic accidents, perineal hernias and other soft tissue injuries.”

Other soft tissue surgery includes grafting and reconstruction work following traumatic injuries.

Does my dog have an ear infection?

Itchy dog ears and dog ear wax can sometimes be a sign of a dog ear yeast infection, which can usually be treated by a first opinion or local vet.

More serious ear problems, however, might be sent to Christchurch Veterinary Referrals.

“We see a lot of end-stage ear infections,” he says. “These can necessitate opening up the middle ear and carrying out a total ear canal ablation procedure.”

Neurological disorders in animals

The vets at the practice also see neurological referrals. Patients may have an MRI scan, clinical assessments and then further tests.

“We see patients for a range of problems where neurosurgery is required,” Shane continues.

“We explain what the treatment involves, how the pet will be looked after and how to manage the rehabilitation process.”

Leading the way

Rehabilitation following some surgery might be carried out at the practice, where, in addition to three state-of-the-art operating theatres, there is a hydrotherapy pool and veterinary physiotherapist.

Moving forward, the aim is to continue to remain at the cutting-edge of animal treatments.

“Because we are so experienced, we are at the forefront of surgery,” Shane admits.

“The evolution at the practice has seen an increasing emphasis on orthopaedics but we will still carry out vital soft tissue work and will continue to be directed by where demand lies.”

For more information visit christchurchreferral.vet

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