Soft-Tissue Surgery

Soft-tissue surgery is any surgical procedure involving anatomy other than skeletal system. The fJeff surgery 1ollowing is a list of soft-tissue procedures performed at the Elkhorn Veterinary Clinic:

Spay (ovariohysterectomy), Neuter (castration), Feline declaw (onchyectomy). Visit our spay and neuter page.

Abdominal Surgery

  • Gastrotomy-cutting into the stomach to remove a foreign body, tumor or other disease.
  • Gastropexy (emergency or elective)- this surgical procedure is used to keep the stomach in its normal positon and prevent the stomach from twisting. It is performed as an emergency procedure when the dog presents with GDV (gastric dilatation volvulus)/twisted stomach a life threatening disease or can be done on a healthy dog to prevent the stomach from twisting.  This should be considered in at risk large and giant breeds especially if its parents have a history of GDV.
  • Intestinal surgery
    • Intestinal resection and anastomosis- removal of a portion of intestine due to cancer or other disease.
    • Enterotomy- cutting into the intestine to remove a foreign object or to biopsy.
    • Subtotal Colectomy- removal of most of the colon. This is done most commonly for unmanageable constipation in the cat.
  • Liver lobectomy/Splenectomy/Nephrectomy- removal of a portion of the liver, entire spleen or a kidney in the event or unmanageable disease, cancer or to get a definitive diagnosis.

Endocrine Surgery

  • Thyroidectomy- removal of the thyroid gland(s) in cats to cure hyperthyroid disease due to a thyroid tumor. These tumors are usually benign tumors that produce excessive thyroid hormone. Risk of anesthesia in older cats and recurrence should be discussed with your veterinarian.  Another method to cure the disease includes intravenous administration of radioactive iodine in a facility licensed to use radioactive material. Alternatives to cure is to manage the hyperthyroid cat with medications or diet.  Removal of thyroid glands in dog is usually do to a malignant thyroid tumor.
  • Parathyroidectomy- removal of the parathyroid gland in the dog due a tumor. These tumors are often benign functional tumors. If not removed they produce excessive parathyroid hormone gland which leads to excessive calcium in the blood.  This will ultimately lead to irreversible kidney disease.
  • Adrenalectomy- removal of the adrenal gland in dogs and ferrets due to a tumor (Cushings disease). Some of these are benign functional tumors but some are malignant.

Head and Neck

  • Arytenoid lateralization (“tie back”)- this procedure is performed on dogs with laryngeal paralysis and opens up the airway to allow them to breath better. Laryngeal paralysis is progressive so if medical management is not helping surgery should be considered. This surgery carries some risks so make sure you discuss this procedure with your veterinarian.
  • Stenotic Nares/Elongated Soft Palate- certain breeds of dogs need to have their nostrils widened and or their soft palates shortened in order for them to breathe more comfortably.
  • Ventral Bulla Osteotomy- surgery to remove polyps in the meddle ears of cats.
  • Prolapsed Gland of the Third Eyelid- Commonly called “cherry eye”. This surgery replaces the lacrimal gland, which makes tears to moisten the eye, and keeps it in place.
  • Salivary Gland Mucocele/Sialocele- removal of a salivary gland to treat a ruptured salivary duct. With a ruptured duct, saliva can collect under the skin of the neck or under the tongue or back of the throat which can occlude the airway and become life threatening.
  • Esophagostomy Tube (EG) Placement- surgical placement of a feeding tube that enters the esophagus at the level of the neck and empties into the stomach. This (EG) tube is used in dogs and cats to assist in nutrition when they are very sick and cannot or will not eat.  They can be left in place for months and can be managed at home.
  • Facial Fold- in some breeds the folds of the face rub up against the eye causing irritation or corneal ulceration (scratch). In other cases the folds trap bacteria and infection becomes difficult to manage.  The facial folds can be removed with surgery.
  • Entropion- rolling in of the eyelid margins can rub on the corneal and cause discomfort and corneal ulceration. If your veterinarian has eliminated all the underlying causes and entropion persists then surgery is performed to keep the eyelid margins off the cornea and function normally.
  • Grid Keretectomy- this surgical procedure is performed with the aide of topical anesthesia to help stubborn corneal ulcers (scratch) heal.


  • Spay, Castration- removal of the ovaries and uterus in the female and the testicles in the male. We have veterinarians that can perform these procedures in dogs, cats, potbellied pigs and rabbits.
  • Episioplasty/vulvoplasty- the vulva is often covered by extra skin and predisposes the female to recurrent urinary tract infections or rashes around the vulva. To resolve or prevent this problem a surgical procedure can be performed to remove this extra tissue from above the vulava.
  • Cystotomy- an incision is made into the bladder to remove stones from the bladder and or urethra.
  • Partial Cystectomy- removal of part of the bladder most often to remove bladder cancer.
  • Perineal Urethrostomy-a surgical procedure to open the urethra to exit the bladder just below the anus. This is most often done in the cat when medical management is unable to resolve urethral obstruction.

Perineal Surgery

  • Anal Gland Sacculectomy- for dogs that have recurrent anal gland impactions, anal gland tumors or if they become an unpleasant problem in the home, they can be surgically removed. Medical management should always be tried if possible and the risks should always be discussed prior to considering surgery.


  • Lung Lobectomy- removal of a lung lobe due to cancer, torsion or other disease unable to be resolved by medical management.
  • PDA Patent Ductus Arteriosus) – a congenital defect that allows some blood to continue to be shunted past the lungs. Left untreated the dog will develop heart failure at a young age.  One surgical approach is to enter the chest with a surgical incision between the ribs.  The vessel blood vessel is tied off to stop the shunting of blood.  If diagnosed early and treated with surgery most dogs will live a normal life.  This procedure carries some risk however the alternative is heart failure and death.


  • Skin Tumors- very common in dogs but less common in cats. Surgical removal is often the first step in managing skin cancers and can even be curative.  Before any tumor is removed the veterinarian will often try to get a diagnosis with a fine needle aspirate so the surgeon will now how aggressive to get in removing the tumor.   At times
  • Fine Needle Aspirate- this requires no sedation or anesthesia. A small needle is placed into the abnormal tissue.  A syringe is usually used at the other end to create a negative pressure to draw a small amount of cells into the needle. These cells are then placed onto a glass slide, stained and examined under a microscope.
  • Skin Biopsy- sometimes a diagnosis cannot be made with a fine needle aspirate or other means. It is then recommended to take a larger portion or the entire tissue.  At times this is done with a local anesthesia but in some cases general anesthesia is necessary to remove the entire tissue.  The sample is then sent to an outside laboratory to be processed and examined microscopically by a trained histopathologist.