What is Typhlectomy?

Typhlectomy is a relatively rare procedure that involves partial or complete removal of the canine’s cecum. The cecum is the storage unit and last section of the digestive system. Typhlectomy surgery is commonly recommended for dogs that suffer from intussusception, described as the sliding of intestine within itself, or other forms of cecal disease. Cecal impaction from foreign material is sometimes corrected with typhlectomy surgery as well. A veterinarian will perform this type of surgery on a canine patient if cecal disease is a continuous problem for the dog. 

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Typhlectomy Procedure in Dogs

Prior to conducting the typhlectomy, intravenous fluid therapy will be started in the patient, along with an antibiotic to prevent an infection. Antibiotics are highly important in this type of surgery, due to the fact that bacteria inside the intestine are being exposed to the body. The patient will be shaved, then surgically prepared before a drape is laid and an incision in the abdomen, over the cecum, is made. The intestine will be clamped off before the cecum can be partially or fully removed. Incisions will be placed in the intestines to properly make a connection between the small intestine and the anus. Once the surgery is complete, the canine will be able to return to recovery and monitored by the veterinary staff. 

Efficacy of Typhlectomy in Dogs

When performing a typhlectomy, the overall goal is to prevent the development or recurrence of an intestinal intussusception or impaction. The use of a typhlectomy procedure is rare and the efficiency of this procedure in preventing, or treating cecal disease is controversial, varying from case to case.

Typhlectomy Recovery in Dogs

A canine that has experienced a typhlectomy surgery will be hospitalized for one to three days post-operatively. During the time of recovery, the patient will be administered intravenous fluid containing a strong antibiotic to prevent infection. A stool softener will also be administered at the hospital and possibly at home, as the incisions could be altered with normal defecation. Intestinal surgery poses a risk for leakage, which means the canine will be closely monitored for several days after the procedure. Once the canine is able to eat and drink with no problems, the intravenous fluids can be stopped. The patient’s recovery time greatly depends on the specific case, but re-examination should be expected two to four weeks following hospital release. 

Cost of Typhlectomy in Dogs

A typhlectomy surgery can be an expensive surgery to have performed, costing dog owners from $1,500 to $10,000. However, on average, most pet owners will pay approximately $3,500 for this type of corrective surgery for their dogs. 

Dog Typhlectomy Considerations

Like any surgical procedure that involves an incision into the intestine, infection is a major concern in a typhlectomy procedure. The incision could also leak, which could lead to an infection of the blood which will circulate throughout the body. 

Typhlectomy Prevention in Dogs

A dog may not be able to avoid a typhlectomy procedure, as cancer and intussusception are difficult to prevent. However, cecal impaction can be prevented through following a proper diet and following a routine internal parasite preventative method. Internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms or tapeworms can easily be prevented by keeping your dog away from dead animals, and drinking clean water.