If your dog is undergoing enucleation surgery you may have a lot of questions. Today, our Madison vets can explain what enucleation surgery is and how it will affect your dog.
What is Enucleation?
Enucleation is the surgical removal of an eye and its associated structures, e.g. eyelids. The procedure is undertaken to prevent pain or the spread of disease, such as when an eye is irreversibly damaged, cancerous, or affected by non-responsive glaucoma.
Enucleation in dogs is often a treatment of last resort when all previous attempts to salvage the eye have failed. The procedure is carried out under full general anesthetic and, although a major procedure, there is every chance of a successful outcome. This is not a specialist procedure and is commonly carried out at general vet practice.
Enucleation is never undertaken lightly at Madison and our vet only suggests this after all other treatment options have been explored.
Enucleation requires your dog to be put under general anesthetic and may involve an overnight stay after the surgery. Elderly dogs may require fluids through an IV during the surgery to reduce the risk of kidney complications and to maintain blood pressure and hydration.
The pre-surgery and surgery involve several things including:
- Preparing the patient by withholding food overnight before the operation
- A pre-op check, possibly including screening blood tests
- A premedication injection and pain relief to prepare the dog for the anesthetic
- The dog may be put on intravenous fluids at this point
- The anesthetic is administered through your dog's front leg.
- Hair is carefully clipped from around the eye and face
- The skin is made sterile with surgical scrub
- The surgeon scrubs up and then sutures the eyelids of the affected eye together
- The surgeon removes the eye by careful dissection, and any bleeding vessels clamped and tied off
- Skin is sutured over the empty socket
- The dog wakes from the anesthetic and must wear a cone to protect the surgical site
Your dog will be discharged with pain relief and perhaps antibiotics after the surgery and will require a post-op check in two to three days. After this, your dog's sutures will need to be removed about 2 weeks after the surgery.
Enucleation Recovery in Dogs
Complications are rare but include hemorrhage or wound breakdown. If the bleeding is severe, another surgery may be required, and contact our Best Friends Animal Hospital vets right away. However, the vast majority of patients make a full and uneventful recovery.
Once the sutures are removed no further aftercare is needed and the patient is signed off.
The dog must wear a cone until the sutures are removed.