What are Gastrointestinal Resection and Anastomosis?

A gastrointestinal resection and anastomosis is a procedure necessary when there is significant damage or disease to a portion of the intestines or colon. Your veterinary surgeon will have to perform the gastrointestinal resection and anastomosis with the assistance of a veterinary hospital staff. There are several reasons your dog may require a gastrointestinal resection and anastomosis. Your veterinarian will discuss reasons your dog will need to have the colon or intestines cut, removed, and sutured back together. This surgery is an invasive procedure and will require a surgeon and hospital staff. If your veterinary office is not equipped to perform this surgery, your veterinarian should be able to recommend a veterinary surgeon.

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Gastrointestinal Resection and Anastomosis Procedure in Dogs

Your veterinarian will start with a CBC (Complete Blood Count) to determine the nature of the illness. X-rays and possible ultrasounds will follow with fecal and urine testing.

Once the diagnosis is decided upon, your dog will be prepped for surgery.

If this is a scheduled operation, your veterinarian will request your dog fast for 12 to 18 hours prior to the surgery. Many gastrointestinal resections and anastomosis procedures are a result of emergency care. In these cases, the veterinary anesthesiologist will keep a closer eye on your dog to avoid aspiration during surgery.

Your dog will be placed under general anesthesia and oxygen before the surgery begins. Once asleep and comfortable, your dog will be prepared for surgery. The dog’s abdomen will be shaved and cleaned. The surgeon will open the dog’s abdomen and isolate the intestines. After a full inspection, the surgeon will cut and completely remove the damaged or diseased portion of intestines, suturing or stapling the two healthy ends back together.

Your dog may require at least an overnight stay in the animal hospital. Depending on the surgery, your veterinarian may request the dog stay overnight for two to five days to yield faster recovery.

The internal sutures will dissolve as the intestinal area heals. The external sutures may need to be rechecked and removed a week or two after surgery.

Efficacy of Gastrointestinal Resection and Anastomosis in Dogs

Depending on the reasons for a gastrointestinal resection and anastomosis, this surgery is typically very effective. If your veterinarian is removing a section of the gastrointestinal tract to remove a lodged foreign object, once the object is removed and the site has healed, your dog should be back to normal. If your veterinarian is removing a diseased portion of the intestines or colon, the efficacy rate will highly depend on the disease. On many occasions, once the tumor or disease is removed, the dog can live a healthy life again. However, there are times when the dog may need additional treatments, depending on the disease.

Gastrointestinal Resection and Anastomosis Recovery in Dogs

Your dog will need rest for about two weeks. Leash walking for elimination purposes only will be requested by your veterinarian. You may need to check the incision wound and change bandages at home. Your veterinarian will provide pain medications and antibiotics to administer at home.

Be sure to observe your dog eating and their time outside for the first week to ensure he has an appetite and is digesting and eliminating properly. You will need to check the suture site daily to look for infection, swelling, pain, or redness.

Before your dog leaves the hospital, your veterinarian will give you dietary recommendations to ease the gastrointestinal tract’s healing process. Your veterinarian may recommend a liquid diet for the first few days, or they may recommend feeding enterally, or through a feeding tube, temporarily.

Be sure to visit with your veterinarian for all follow-up appointments. Within three to six weeks, your dog should be back to normal.

Cost of Gastrointestinal Resection and Anastomosis in Dogs

The cost of a gastrointestinal resection and anastomosis is between $2,000 and $6,000. You will be paying for a surgeon and potential hospital time for your dog. As long as you are comfortable caring for the dog at home, your surgeon may save you costs by sending your dog home with you early. However, this may require a feeding tube and possibly subcutaneous fluids you may have to administer at home. Be sure to weigh the costs and challenges of at-home recovery with the savings of leaving the hospital early.

Follow up appointments will be necessary, and they will include X-rays or ultrasounds and bloodwork.

Whether your dog’s treatment is based on an emergency or a scheduled surgery will also affect your cost.

Dog Gastrointestinal Resection and Anastomosis Considerations

You will want to understand the reasons behind the necessary treatment. If your dog is ill with something such as cancer, talk to your veterinarian about the risks involved in performing a gastrointestinal resection and anastomosis. If this is the only area tumors have been found, the risks may be low with a potentially high recovery rate. Your dog’s age may also be a factor in how well he will do once this surgery is complete.

If a gastrointestinal resection and anastomosis is necessary to remove foreign objects from the intestinal tract, your considerations may differ from that of an owner whose dog is ill. Without removal, an otherwise healthy dog with a blockage may die.

Gastrointestinal Resection and Anastomosis Prevention in Dogs

The best and most effective way to prevent a foreign object blockage is to watch your dog closely when he is chewing on toys. Never give your dog rawhide, which can break apart easily and become lodged in the digestive tract. Puppies, especially, need to be observed when playing with and chewing on toys. If a dog toy breaks, remove it from the dog’s play area and replace with a new toy. Cooked chicken, fish, or beef bones can splinter causing tears or lodging problems. Avoid giving your dogs any cooked bones.

Unfortunately, many illnesses such as cancer cannot be prevented. However, you can give your dog the best possible chance of a long and healthy life with a healthy whole food diet and regular exercise from an early age. Exercise together as a family for overall well-being. Feed your dog the best foods possible and supplement with fresh fruits and vegetables for added vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting antioxidants.