Senior kitty struggles at the litter box

Phantom is an 11-year-old cat. 9 years ago, he was struggling to urinate. After several episodes of urinary blockage, which prevented him from peeing, he had a perineal urethrostomy, or P/U, to widen the opening of his urethra.

Over time, he has a few more episodes of blockage. The previous P/U site had scarred down and was so tiny that he couldn’t urinate at all.

I was called to perform surgery to allow him to urinate again.

I recommended performing a prepubic urethrostomy at Animal Clinic of Morris Plains. This is a procedure done inside the belly. The urethra is cut off and rerouted to the skin of the belly. A new opening is created, which means that Phantom will pee like a male dog.

Phantom urinated nicely overnight and went home the next day.

In the right hands, a perineal urethrostomy is a life-saving and reliable surgery. Even if it fails, which should be very rare, there is hope. Please don’t euthanize your cat if you end up in this situation. Sometimes the initial surgery may be repairable. If not, a prepubic urethrostomy is a great option to help your cat!

Chow needs surgery to fix mysterious swelling


Photo courtesy of MHNG Photography.

Maxwell, a three-year-old male Chow, was relinquished from a home where he spent most of his time in a cage in a dark basement. After his rescue, he spent some time with a foster family, then was recently adopted by his forever family.

His new owner noticed a swelling on Maxwell’s cheek and took him to his family veterinarian. The vet was able to feel a firm swelling on the right side of the head, behind the angle of the jaw. In that area, any swelling should be suspicious for an enlarged lymph node. This can be a sign of a type of cancer called lymphoma.

The vet performed a needle aspirate, which thankfully confirmed a sialocele, a pocket of thick saliva. We typically never find out the reason for this condition. It’s assumed to be caused by trauma or blockage of the tiny canal that carries saliva from the salivary gland to the mouth.

The sialocele was carefully removed at HanoverView Animal Hospital. It’s a delicate surgery, because a sialocele is a very fragile structure that can tear easily. In addition, there are several important blood vessels and nerves in that area. Maxwell did very well under anesthesia and during recovery.

A week later, the biopsy confirmed a benign sialocele. Removing it will have no consequences for Maxwell because there are many salivary glands.

It is very important to pet your dog or cat thoroughly and regularly so you can notice any new lump or bump.  Maxwell is a furry dog with a thick coat, and he is lucky his owner felt the swelling.

Any swelling or lump should be investigated by your family vet as soon as you notice it. Three important questions should be answered: should the mass be tested, removed and biopsied?


Can you spot the swelling?


There area within the red circle is the problem area.


The mass was three times larger initially, but reduced in size after the saliva and several smaller brown masses (also pictured) were removed.

Bulldog loses a toe

rocky-faceRocky, a nine-year-old Bulldog, developed a large mass on one of his toes.

It grew to a point that it was difficult to remove and close the skin without sacrificing a toe. In addition, we needed to remove enough tissue around the tumor to “get it all.” I amputated the mass along with the toe at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital.

About a week later, the biopsy came back… benign! The mass was a nevus – a rather unusual diagnosis in a pet. Rocky recovered very well and was soon walking normally.

Losing a toe may sound terrible, but dogs adjust very nicely!

rocky-toe-preop rocky-toe-postop

Labrador with laryngeal paralysis hits the road to recovery


They say that a journey begins with a single step, but sometimes that step is into your car so you can drive five hours for a scheduled surgery!

Hershey’s owner drove all the way from Jamestown, New York near Lake Erie so I could perform surgery at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital in Pennsylvania. It was quite the road trip.

Hershey is an eleven-year-old Lab whose laryngeal paralysis made it difficult for him to breathe. A complicating factor is that he’s diabetic. Hershey’s vet was not sure that surgery was the best bet, but his owner loves Hershey and wasn’t ready to give up on her best friend.

You can see a video of Hershey and his surgery below. He struggles to breathe before the surgery, but after we perform a “tie back” procedure there’s a nice, wide opening. This lets oxygen get in. A tie back surgery uses nylon sutures to keep one side of the larynx open. Two hours after surgery, you can hear the difference! There’s no more struggling and just nice quiet breathing.

You can also see that a small tumor on Hershey’s eyelid was removed. That is a benign tumor called a chalazion, or an adenoma of a Meibomian gland.

Hershey spent a restful night at Barton Heights, and left the hospital for a five hour drive home!