What is Partial Splenectomy?

The spleen is an organ in the body that is responsible for filtering, maintaining, and storing red blood cells. It also clears microorganisms from the body. The spleen is located on the left side of the abdomen, near the stomach. A dog whose spleen has become compromised may show extreme exhaustion and eventually collapse. The mucous membranes in the animal will likely be pale. 

Problems of the spleen are not uncommon in dogs, especially as they age. Most diseases and issues involving the spleen can be diagnosed with blood tests and an ultrasound. Trauma to the spleen may require emergency treatment. A full removal of the spleen can be made, however if some of the organ is left in the body, limited organ function can resume. When only a portion of the spleen is removed, the procedure is referred to as a partial splenectoThe spleen is an organ in the body that is responsible for filtering, maintaining, and storing red blood cells. It also clears microorganisms from the body. The spleen is located on the left side of the abdomen, near the stomach. A dog whose spleen has become compromised may show extreme exhaustion and eventually collapse. The mucous membranes in the animal will likely be pale. 

Problems of the spleen are not uncommon in dogs, especially as they age. Most diseases and issues involving the spleen can be diagnosed with blood tests and an ultrasound. Trauma to the spleen may require emergency treatment. A full removal of the spleen can be made, however if some of the organ is left in the body, limited organ function can resume. When only a portion of the spleen is removed, the procedure is referred to as a partial splenectomy. This operation should only be performed by an ACVS board-certified veterinary surgeon who specializes in splenectomies. my. This operation should only be performed by an ACVS board-certified veterinary surgeon who specializes in splenectomies. 

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Partial Splenectomy Procedure in Dogs

Extensive blood work will be needed prior to surgery. This is because issues with the spleen are often linked to clotting problems in dogs. Imaging with x-rays or an ultrasound can help identify how much of the spleen has been compromised, and if any of the organ can be saved. Fluid may be present in the abdomen, and if so must be removed using abdominocentesis. 

If surgery is decided upon, intravenous fluids will be administered before the procedure can begin to improve the dog's overall condition. A blood transfusion may also be needed to increase blood cell counts. Once the dog is stable, an incision will be made into the left side of the abdomen. The surgeon can then assess how much damage exists and if the organ is worth saving. All deadened or tumor-ridden tissue must then be removed. The gastric blood vessels should be preserved during tissue removal. The abdomen can then be sutured or stapled shut.

Efficacy of Partial Splenectomy in Dogs

A partial splenectomy is rarely attempted, as dogs can survive without a spleen, and a total splenectomy is a less complicated procedure and may have less long-term complications associated with it. The overall prognosis for a partial splenectomy will vary depending on the underlying problem. 

Dogs with benign growths tend to recover quite well from the surgery, while dogs with malignant tumors may not survive long after the operation due to the cancer metastasizing to other parts of the body. Dogs who have trauma to the spleen often have other serious injuries which can affect survival. Dogs with coagulation problems may experience clotting issues elsewhere in their bodies.

Partial Splenectomy Recovery in Dogs

The dog will require standard supportive care after surgery. Intravenous fluids can continue during the hours after the operation. All vitals should be monitored as the anesthesia wears off. Pain medication can be administered at this time, and will likely be prescribed upon discharge. If a lot of blood was lost during the surgery, packed cell volumes will also have to be monitored. 

Partial splenectomies often have quick recovery times and the dog may be discharged in as little as one day's time. The dog's activity should be limited until the incision has healed. An Elizabethan collar may be needed to prevent the dog from licking or biting at its incision site. Monitor this area for signs of infection. A follow-up appointment will be needed two weeks after surgery to assess how the procedure went.

Cost of Partial Splenectomy in Dogs

The cost of a partial splenectomy varies from about $1,500-$6,000 depending on the circumstance. The low end of the price range would include basic, planned surgeries not performed by a specialist. Higher cost procedures include emergency surgery using blood transfusions and meriting lengthened stays in hospital. If the spleen ruptures during surgery, the operation will likely cost more. 

Leaving a diseased or damaged spleen is not an option, leaving euthanasia or a total splenectomy as the only other options. A total splenectomy may cost slightly less, but not if it's an emergency scenario.

Dog Partial Splenectomy Considerations

Anesthesia use always carries the risk of complications during surgery. Procedures involving the spleen can lead to hemorrhaging. After the operation has been performed, some dogs go on to develop pancreatitis, heart abnormalities or chronic pain. 

A total splenectomy may be chosen over a partial splenectomy as it is associated with fewer long-term problems for the dog. If no surgery is performed, the dog will likely die from damaged or deadened tissue being left in the body. Certain benign growths may be left if they are not causing adverse symptoms.

Partial Splenectomy Prevention in Dogs

Measures can be taken to prevent the need for a partial splenectomy. To decrease the risk of severe trauma, keep your dog on a leash at all times when on walks. Make sure that your yard is secure and that the dog can not get out. While some cancers cannot be prevented, limiting your dog's exposure to cancer-causing substances may help in some instances. This would include keeping your home free of cigarette smoke and not leaving dogs in parking lots or other areas full of car exhaust for long periods of time.

Coagulation problems can sometimes be caused by heart issues, so keeping your dog's heart healthy can help prevent blockages. This can be done by making sure you dog has daily exercise, which can benefit you also. Giving your dog a high quality diet can also greatly improve heart health. Certain medications called vasoconstrictors can increase the likelihood of blood clots. Some dogs may also be genetically prone to clotting problems.