Splenectomy in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Splenectomy in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Splenectomy in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention
Youtube Play

What is Splenectomy?

A splenectomy is the total removal of the spleen from the dog's body. The spleen is responsible for storing blood vessels and cleaning toxins from the blood. If damaged, it can bleed profusely into the abdominal cavity, causing anaemia, low blood pressure, shock and even death. Removal of the spleen is generally only performed if methods of repair are not sufficient.


Splenectomy Procedure in Dogs

The vet will begin by placing the dog under general anesthesia and shaving a large area along the abdomen. This is because a ruptured spleen will typically require an 'open splenectomy' in order to fully remove it. Next, they will make an incision along the abdomen and move aside any intervening tissues. Next, they will cut out and remove the spleen along with any associated fragments before sealing off the associated blood vessels. The final step is to clean up any possibly infected fluid and suture the incision shut. At this point, the dog can be allowed to recover from anesthesia.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Efficacy of Splenectomy in Dogs

Damage to the spleen is typically accompanied by other injuries (often serious), so it can be difficult to judge the effectiveness of the treatment by observing changes in the dog's behavior. However, the immediate danger posed by the ruptured, cancerous, or infected spleen will have been eliminated as soon as the surgeon extracts it from the body. While the effects of a splenectomy are permanent, owners should know that removal of the spleen will not have a major impact on their dog's quality of life, as its functions are shared by several other parts of the body. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Splenectomy Recovery in Dogs

Following surgery, it can take over a month for the incision to fully heal. Because of this, the vet will provide owners with painkillers that can be administered to the dog at home. It will also be necessary for the dog to be fitted with an E-collar to prevent them from pulling out the stitches holding their abdomen closed. Additionally, due to the size of an open splenectomy incision, owners will have to dramatically reduce the amount of exercise their dog undertakes, as well as keeping a careful eye on them throughout the day. Additionally, antibiotic medication may be prescribed in order to prevent the dog from picking up an infection following the surgery (especially if the spleen itself was suffering from an infection).

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cost of Splenectomy in Dogs

The price of a splenectomy can be quite high. This is because of the diagnostic tests required in order to identify the problem in the first place, as well as the surgical knowledge required in order to perform the procedure. In all, most owners can expect to pay around $2,500 for a splenectomy. For older dogs or ones suffering from more complex conditions, the prices for the procedure can go even higher.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Worried about the cost of Splenectomy treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Dog Splenectomy Considerations

While the splenectomy can be a lifesaving procedure for many dogs, there are some attendant risks that may cause some owners to think twice. As with all major surgeries, the dog must be placed under general anesthetic, which can cause cardiovascular failure in some dogs. Additionally, without a spleen, there is an increased susceptibility to infection and longer recovery times from illnesses can be expected. For elderly dogs, these problems may be even greater, giving their owners pause for thought.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Splenectomy Prevention in Dogs

Although many cancers and infections are unpredictable and somewhat hard to guard against, owners can do a lot to mitigate the risk of direct injury to their dog's spleen. Due to the spleen's location high on the left flank of the dog, most injuries occur not through accidents in play caused by objects on the ground (unlike, for example, stomach injuries), but by being hit by cars and direct confrontations with other animals. By properly training their pet on how to act around roads and when encountering strange dogs, owners can reduce much of the risk of injury to the spleen.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Splenectomy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

Izzie

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu/Maltese Mix

dog-age-icon

9 Years

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Mass In Abdomen
Anemia

We've discovered a large mass in my almost 10 year old shih tzu/maltese mix's abdomen. After x-rays and an ultrasound, the effected organ is still undetermined, but is thought to be either the spleen, kidney, or liver. Her labs came back clean, but showed slight anemia, and she has a fluid filled pocket in her abdomen, that they are concerned is blood. They also feel her gums are slightly pale. I'm still debating whether or not I want to move forward with additional testing and/or surgery. I'm finding a lot of information out there that even if she has the mass/organ removed, she will only have a few months left with us. Chest x-ray showed that nothing has metastasized to her heart or lungs. She is outwardly a very healthy girl, it was a pure fluke that we noticed the slight protrusion on her left side.

Aug. 20, 2018

Izzie's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

It is difficult to advise you on whether to have further testing and/or surgery, as there are many factors. She seems in good health otherwise, and the mass may be a benign tumor. She may have years left with you, and without knowing further information, it is hard to make that decision. I think if she were my dog, I would try to find out more about the mass and what it might be, but that would be the decision that I would make, and may not be the same as yours.

Aug. 20, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Chanel

dog-breed-icon

Pit bull bull dog

dog-age-icon

5 Years

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Lethargic, Frequent Urinination

My pit bull/ bulldog Chanel past away almost a week ago. The past few days has been horrific for us. She’s been very lethargic, tail tuck, weak, peeing in the house, panting heavily over the weekend. I took her to the next Monday morning for X-rays and blood work, the results came back negative however the vet wanted to do an ultrasound which had to wait the next morning due to being overbooked that day. I spent the last three nights sleeping on the first floor with her since she didn’t have the energy to go up/down the stairs. We woke up Tuesday morning and basically she was unable to walk, her two back legs were sooo a weak. I took her for a 7am ultrasound and the vet pointed out the spleen area and liver area. He Indy we should do a spleen surgery to see what is going on etc..... No knowing what to do a scared for by baby girl I trusted my vet abs says Ok. A little over an hour I was notified the surgery was complete however Chanel had passed on the recovery table due to heart arrest. I was devasted, I lost me baby. The vet offered to pay for the cremation and the remaining banner of the surgery vehicle was $1500, I paid a 50% deposit. The red flag went on for me, my gut is telling me that she did during surgery perhaps bleed to death. My question is can a dog die from cardiac arrest after surgery? Abs why is the vet being so generous for taking care if the cremation and the remaining bill? Is it because of Guilt?

Aug. 20, 2018

Chanel's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Losing a loved one like this is traumatic and it is normal to have concerns and questions afterwards; since I haven’t examined Chanel or performed a necropsy I cannot give you any concrete answers, however any surgery/anaesthesia is risky and it is down to a Veterinarian to determine whether a patient is stable enough for surgery or not. Cardiac arrest may occur at any time during anaesthesia and may further be complicated by some surgeries; I cannot say whether there was any wrongdoing by your Veterinarian or if they are just being compassionate. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 20, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.