Animal Doctor offers splenectomy surgery to remove the spleen for canines and felines. We accept referrals and provide second opinions.

Description: SPLENECTOMY is a surgical procedure to remove the spleen from the abdomen.  This procedure is commonly recommended in cats and dogs when the spleen appears enlarged on abdominal radiographs or ultrasound, either due to a splenic mass, trauma, or infection/abscessation of the spleen.

Symptoms & What to look for: Symptoms of problems with your pet’s spleen can include enlarging / bloated abdomen, weakness, lethargy, decreased appetite, pale gums, and pain. Your pet may collapse, become very weak and lethargic, have pale white gums, and/or have a bloated abdomen. Sometimes you can feel the enlarged spleen in the abdomen.

How does it happen? Most often a pet needs a splenectomy due to a splenic tumor (either benign or malignant) causing severe bleeding, severe anemia and decreased platelets, abdominal distention, and pain. Occasionally the spleen can also be injured in a traumatic event, such as an accident or GDV (gastric dilatation volvulus).

Animal Doctor Splenectomy
Animal Doctor Radiograph
Animal Doctor Splenectomy

What questions do we ask?

  • Has your pet had episodes of collapse recently?
  • Is your pet lethargic, or showing signs of weakness?
  • How is his/her appetite and drinking? Urination and defecation?
  • How long has your pet been showing symptoms?
  • Any history of trauma recently?
  • Has your pet’s weight changed recently?

What are the steps we take to treat your pet?

  • We begin with a thorough medical history, then complete physical examination, including temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, gum color, and weight.
  • Blood testing is then performed to check for anemia (decreased red blood cells) and thrombocytopenia (decreased platelets), as well as other abnormalities.
  • Next, we will take abdominal (and occasionally thoracic) radiographs, as well as an abdominal ultrasound of the abdomen to check for splenic enlargement, masses, and abdominal fluid (blood).
  • Based on those results, a treatment plan is then recommended.

Animal Doctor Splenectomy surgery potential treatment plans?

  • If your pet is stable, meaning not too low red blood cells and platelets, and able to stand and walk, we would discuss performing a splenectomy (surgical removal of the entire spleen) as soon as possible.
    • If your pet is not stable, meaning very anemic, very low on platelets, very weak and /or collapsed, we would perform a blood transfusion prior to the splenectomy. Your pet would likely be hospitalized for 24 to 48 hours based on their presurgical condition and stability during and after surgery. Once the spleen is removed, we typically submit it for histopathology testing.

What are the risks if a splenectomy is not performed?

The biggest risk and sequela if splenic masses are left untreated is sudden death from blood loss. Other risks include lethargy, weight loss, and pain and suffering.


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Dr. Jennifer Arneson has over 25 years of experience!

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