Soft Tissue Surgery for Dogs & Cats


Soft tissue surgery is a large subject, as it comprises any surgery that is not orthopedic. Procedures can range from simple cyst removals to complex and involved operations. Dr. Phil Zeltzman has more than two decades of experience in all forms of soft tissue surgery. Some of the procedures he commonly performs include:

Belly Surgery

Also known as exploratory laparotomy, belly surgery is performed for several reasons. They include the removal of diseased organs, removing bladder stones, taking biopsies, and removing foreign bodies. Yes, pets have been known to swallow a number of inedible items, including socks, locks, and rocks.

Dr. Zeltzman performs a preventive operation known as a prophylactic gastropexy. Meant for dogs at risk for GDV or “stomach twisting,” the surgery attaches the stomach to the inside of the belly, keeping it from twisting and possibly taking the animal’s life.

Mass Removal

Cysts and tumors can appear anywhere on or inside an animal’s body. They typically require removal. They may also be biopsied in order to first determine if the mass is either malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).

Bladder and Urinary Surgery

The most common bladder surgery for dogs is the removal of bladder stones. For cats, it’s a procedure known as a perineal urethrostomy (PU). Male cats have a tendency to experience blockages in their urethra. When this happens several times, a PU is performed to widen the exit route.

Ear Surgery

Oftentimes, cats experience ear polyps, which are removed with various surgeries. Certain breeds of dogs, most often Cocker Spaniels, can have issues with ear infections. If the infection is bad enough, it may require a total ear canal ablation (TECA), or removal of the ear canal. As invasive as it sounds, the procedure yields terrific results, allowing pets to live ear infection and pain free.

Laryngeal Paralysis

Dogs, mostly Labs, can have a condition that paralyzes their larynx, or voice box. While it is a stressful condition, the “tie back” surgery widens the airway and is the difference between suffocating and breathing comfortably. In good hands, the complication rate is low.

For more information about the soft tissue surgeries he performs, please contact Dr. Zeltzman today.

Other soft tissue procedures Dr. Zeltzman can help with include:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Abdominal port placement for chronic effusions
  • Adrenal gland removal
  • Bladder (stone removal, masses)
  • Colon surgery
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Ectopic ureter
  • Exploratory laparotomy
  • Gallbladder (removal vs. re-routing)
  • Hemoabdomen (internal bleeding)
  • Incontinence treatment
  • Intestinal obstruction (foreign bodies)
  • Intestinal surgery
  • Kidney surgery
  • Liver biopsy, including “keyhole” liver biopsy
  • Liver surgery
  • Megacolon
  • Pancreas surgery
  • Pleuro-Peritoneal Diaphragmatic Hernia (PPDH)
  • Prophylactic gastropexy (“twisted stomach” or bloat or GDV prevention)
  • Prostate surgery
  • Spleen removal (splenectomy, bleeding masses)
  • Stomach surgery (foreign bodies)
  • Urethra surgery
  • Uterus infection (pyometra)

Thoracic surgery (thoracotomy)

  • Chylothorax
  • Esophagus surgery
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
  • Persistent Right Aortic Arch (PRAA)
  • Pleural port placement for fluid buildup
  • Lung surgery, including “keyhole” lung biopsy
  • Pyothorax

Head and neck surgery

  • Cheiloplasty (for excessive drooling)
  • Cleft palate
  • Ear and throat polyps in cats
  • Ear hematoma
  • Elongated soft palate
  • Everted laryngeal saccules
  • Eye and eyelid surgery
  • Facial fold removal
  • Laryngeal paralysis (“Tie back”)
  • Lateral Bulla Osteotomy (LBO)
  • Lateral ear resection
  • Oro-nasal fistula
  • Para-thyroid gland removal
  • Salivary gland surgery (mucocele, sialocele)
  • Stenotic nares (narrow nostrils)
  • Thyroid gland removal (cat or dog)
  • Total Ear Canal Ablation (TECA)
  • Ventral Bulla Osteotomy (VBO)

“Back end” surgery

  • Anal sac surgery
  • “Corkscrew” tail removal
  • Perianal fistula management
  • Perineal hernia
  • Prepubic urethrostomy (P/U salvage or revision, urethral tear or stenosis)
  • Urethrostomy (perineal or P/U in cats, scrotal in dogs)
  • Redundant vulvar fold (vulvoplasty, episioplasty)
  • Scrotal ablation

Reconstructive surgery

  • Open wound management (trauma)
  • Skin flaps
  • Skin flaps
  • Skin grafts
  • Vacuum-Assisted Closure (VAC) of open wounds

Emergency surgery

  • Blocked urethra (cat or dog)
  • C-section
  • Foreign bodies
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
  • Hemoabdomen
  • Pneumothorax
  • Pyometra
  • Spleen removal (splenectomy)

Other soft tissue procedures include other types of hernias, soft tissue biopsies, elbow hygroma, lymph node removal or biopsy, feeding tube placement etc.