Cystotomy surgery an interesting learning experience

Externship Project

Another successful week in small animal practice. Thankfully we have slowed down a bit, although one thing I have learned is to not say the ‘B’ word – Busy – until the day is done. Saying the words “it’s not that busy” guarantees that all of the next appointments will take much longer than usual or that everyone with an unwell pet will show up at the exact same time. It is like veterinary clinic karma.

One of the most interesting surgeries that I have seen at Hawkesbury Animal Hospital has been the cystotomy. I’ve actually been able to observe two separate cystotomies, both performed on canines. A cystotomy is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made into the bladder. It is performed in both canines and felines, male or female. The most common reason that we as veterinarians perform cystotomies is to remove uroliths (stones) from the bladder. The most common types of stones are struvite and calcium oxalate, but stones can also be mixed and be composed of more than one mineral, which is one of the reasons why it can be difficult to treat urinary stones medically.

Clinical signs of stones in the bladder or urethra are stranguria (straining when urinating), pollakiuria (frequent urination with only small amounts voided each time) and hematuria (blood in the urine – much is more obvious in the winter on white snow). Both dogs in Hawkesbury had a mixture of these clinical signs which led the veterinarians there to suspect uroliths and turn to more advanced diagnostics. One of the best ways to diagnose urinary stones is abdominal radiographs (x-rays); these also allow the veterinarian to look for any additional stones in the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract. The two dogs both had multiple large radiopaque objects in their bladders on radiograph so surgery was the next step.

Here are the three stones that were removed from the bladder of one of the dogs. We expect her to be much more comfortable now that she is free of these. The stones have since been sent away for analysis so we know exactly what they are made of, and which food will be best at preventing future stones.

A plus tard!