A spleen is a lymphoid organ of the abdomen. The spleen is responsible for producing new blood cells and destroying old, unwanted ones. It also absorbs unnecessary decaying red blood cells from circulation. It can be removed surgically because of inflammation, or in case of tumor development.
Can a dog live a normal life without a spleen?
Splenectomy, or the removal of the spleen, is a common procedure performed in dogs and cats. Although your pet can live without a spleen, it is a very important organ.
The spleen’s primary function is to remove old red blood cells from the body. It also stores some white blood cells (important for fighting infections) and helps with immune function by producing antibodies.
While it is possible for a dog to live without a spleen, it is important to understand that their life is at risk if they succumb to certain types of infections.
The spleen should only be removed if there are no other options, such as medication or another treatment.
If the dog is living with only one kidney, it’s better to leave the spleen intact because removing it will increase the risk of kidney disease. If the spleen has been removed, the dog will need careful monitoring and lifelong antibiotic therapy.
How long does a dog live after a splenectomy?
In many cases, the need for a splenectomy results from a tumor in the spleen. Many types of tumors can form in the spleen including hemangiosarcoma and lymphosarcoma.
Life expectancy after a splenectomy varies depending on the type of tumor present. In dogs with hemangiosarcoma, life expectancy may be as short as 2 to 6 months after surgery. However, some dogs live as long as 12 months or more following surgery for this type of cancer.
What to expect after a dog had the spleen removed?
In most cases, there should be no lasting effects after surgery. The dog will be kept overnight at the veterinary hospital to monitor his breathing rate, heart rate, and temperature.
Pain relief medications, as well as antibiotics, will be administered to help prevent infections. Your veterinarian will usually keep your dog on antibiotics for 3 to 7 days after surgery.
If there are no complications reported by the veterinary staff, your dog can go home the next day.
At home, you will need to restrict physical activity for about two weeks after surgery to allow for healing and recovery.
Your pet should not jump on furniture or up and downstairs. This is to prevent any major tearing of its sutures which could lead to complications.
If your dog has a tendency to lick its incision site, you should have an Elizabethan collar on hand so that you can put it on when needed. Your pet will also be given antibiotics during this period to prevent infection from setting in.
Fortunately, most dogs are back to their old selves after a few weeks following splenectomy, especially if they didn’t experience any complications during surgery.
Do dogs feel better after spleen removal?
The answer is yes. Most dogs feel better after their spleen is removed and are usually back to normal within a couple of weeks.
In fact, it can actually help your dog to feel better because of the removal of a mass that is causing pressure on other organs. If the tumor was benign, then there may be no additional treatment needed.
If the tumor was malignant (cancerous), however, then you will need to talk to your oncologist about what other treatments are available for your dog. It’s important to determine how far the cancer has spread before deciding on further treatment options.
In rare cases, a dog’s blood count may drop below an acceptable level after surgery and he or she may require a transfusion in order to recover quickly from surgery. If this happens, it’s important for your dog to get plenty of rest and recover slowly in order to avoid complications from the transfusion.
How can I help my dog after a splenectomy?
After surgery, it’s important to monitor your dog for signs of bleeding like weakness, lethargy, pale gums, collapse, or sudden death. There are no specific activity restrictions after surgery.
If your dog is feeling good and seems to be moving around normally, there’s no reason not to let them do so. It’s important to keep them quiet at home for a few days after surgery.
Some dogs may need pain medications for several days after surgery. How long they will need these medications depends on their individual healing process.
To help your pet, keep in mind that the spleen is responsible for filtering the blood and destroying old or damaged red blood cells. The spleen also contains white blood cells that fight infection. Because of this, dogs will be more susceptible to infections and anemia after the removal of their spleen.
Here are some tips to help you care for your dog:
- Keep your dog hydrated with water and animal broth. If she won’t drink, offer ice cubes from her water bowl instead.
- Give her small meals frequently to avoid nausea and vomiting, and monitor her closely for any changes in behavior or appetite.
- Feed him soft food such as rice, egg whites, and low-fat cottage cheese for about a week after surgery. Slowly reintroduce regular dog food into his diet over a one-week period.
- Monitor your dog’s temperature with a rectal thermometer. The normal temperature should range from 100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog’s temperature is above this range, call your vet immediately.
- Monitor his bowel movements and urine output throughout the day; changes may indicate dehydration or constipation.
- Avoid places like dog parks or doggie daycares where your dog might be exposed to unknown dogs. Try to keep your dog in a clean environment, even if it means mopping floors more often or changing litter boxes frequently.
- Provide your dog with high-quality foods that help support their immune system. Your veterinarian can help you select a good diet for them.
How much does it cost to have a dog’s spleen removed?
The cost to have the spleen removed is usually between $1,000 and $3,000.
- The average cost of anesthesia for dogs is $500.
- The veterinarian may charge an additional fee for overnight observation following surgery. This can be as much as $200 or more per night. Dogs who are in pain may also receive pain medication that costs an additional $50 or more per dose. Antibiotics are typically prescribed after surgery and these often cost up to $100 or more depending on the dosage needed by the dog.
- A veterinarian will recommend having a follow-up visit after removing a spleen from a dog to make sure the animal is healing properly. This follow-up visit will cost about $50 or more.