Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gentle Vet Animal Hospital, Dr. Ehud Sela: The importance of balancing a pet's complete history and quality of life before embarking on invasive procedures.

I believe that a pet's quality of life--age and owner's expectation--should be discussed in detail with the owner, especially in regards to the advantages and risks involved, before extensive surgery is performed.

As we can't discuss with our patients the possible outcome of certain procedures, it's imperative to have an open and frank line of communication with the owner.

A recent case that comes to my mind is of an older cat--14 years old--with a large fluid cyst in the neck area. Fine needle biopsies, as an out patient, and fluid drainage analysis were inconclusive.

The cat is feeling great and not bothered by the cyst; we do drain it if needed, but it's needed very rarely.

Given that surgery will be exploratory in nature and involve the vicinity of large blood vessels and the thyroid and parathyroid glands area--with possible severe complications--I have decided, after extensive conversations with the owner, not to operate.

We perform many and extensive surgeries in our hospital, but in this case, given the cat's advanced age, possible complications of the surgery and excellent quality of life that the cat has, a decision was made not to intervene surgically.

It is not a risk free approach, but nothing in life is risk free and each patient is an individual case and all aspects of the pet's well being should always be considered.

Please feel free to contact us with any pet health questions that you might have.

Dr. Ehud Sela,

Gentle Vet Animal Hospital,

Phone: 954-972-5900.

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