When you think of plastic surgery, do you think of plastic surgery for pets? Probably not, right? In general, plastic surgery is done on humans, and mostly for vanity (although in some cases for reconstructive) reasons. Or, perhaps you may think of surgery to dock a dog's tail or to crop a dog's ears for breeding standards.
However, pets sometimes need plastic surgery for other reasons besides those mentioned above. And although in some cases it may be cosmetic in nature (such as those procedures to conform to breed standards), in other cases, it's for reasons that are going to help improve a pet's health and quality of life, such as a reconstructive procedure. Such procedures cost upwards of $1000 each to perform and include doggie facelifts, eye lifts, rhinoplasty and even abdominoplasty.
Let's take a look at the various types of plastic surgery you can have done for your pet, which can help improve his or her life.
Skin Fold Surgery
Many dog breeds have skin folds that can cause serious skin problems if not taken care of. Some dogs may need a rhinoplasty, a facelift or an eyelift as a reconstructive procedure to help improve vision, prevent infection, and mitigate discomfort. For example, bulldogs typically have wrinkles over their noses and below their eyes that are very deep and prone to bacterial infection. For that reason, removing these skinfolds can help reduce the incidence of infection or eliminate it altogether, and greatly improve the quality of the dog's life.
Other areas on a pet's body that may need a "tummy tuck" or skin lift are the tail, lips or vaginal area. All of these places are prone to bacterial infection within skin folds, and removing the skin folds also eliminates places for infection to "nest."
Certain dog breeds, like Bulldogs, Boston Terriers and Pugs, can have difficulty breathing because of problems with nose structure. Giving these dogs nose jobs can help them breathe easier and can actually improve health. Eyelifts, too, are sometimes necessary in dogs like the Chow or Shar Pei, because their eyelids turn "inward" and cause eyelashes to scratch the dogs' corneas. Eyelifts solve the "turned in" eyelids and alleviate problems like corneal abrasions.
Many dogs also have a problem with drooling, like the Newfoundland and Mastiff breeds. Chin lifts can alleviate this problem, and can also eliminate the chronic mouth problems and infections that can lead to more severe health issues, such as kidney and liver failure or infections of the heart.
Another aspect of plastic surgery for pets that is often overlooked is cosmetic dentistry. Veterinary Dental Specialists use a wide array of specialized techniques to solve overbites and fractured teeth in dogs and cats, such as orthodontic braces, retainers, root canal treatments and even crowns.
Some plastic surgery for pets is not medically necessary, but is cosmetic in nature. "Neuticles" are testicular implants that one can give a male dog when he's been neutered so that he doesn't look like he has been. This procedure takes just a few minutes to perform and costs around $400 a pair.
Silicon eye implants are also available for pets that have lost an eye, and ear implants can be placed in dogs with drooping ears to make them "perkier."
Dog's are not the only pets that have plastic surgery: cat's do as well. Besides declawing, cats have also had their tails docked and the fur dyed in order to hide a coloring imperfection. In fact, during the 1900's there was evidence that a few unscrupulous cat breeders were using dye on their cats in an attempt to create a Manx look alike.
If you are interested in having plastic surgery for your pet, either for cosmetic or health reasons, check with your local veterinarian first as he or she would be able to refer to you a specialist.
Photo Credit: Beverly and Pack