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"Meg" - Operation Risks for the Older Dog



"Meg" Cowell is a real "old girl" with grey whiskers to match! At an equivalent human age of 90 years old her owners, quite understandably, were very loathe to condone any surgical procedures which required a general anaesthetic.

A lump on her side had begun to irritate her and as a consequence of scratching it with her back leg it had bled quite profusely. Having discussed all the options available to treat this open wound it was agreed that we should make every effort to resolve the problem with medication.

Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories were prescribed and initially "Meg" made excellent progress. The wound appeared to be going well when "Meg" set us back to square one by traumatising the area with her back leg. It was clear that more direct action would be necessary.

Whilst "Meg's" owners were very concerned at the prospect of their prized "old timer" going "under the knife" I was able to reassure them that with modern techniques and available drugs risks would be kept to a minimum.

The fact of the matter is that, whilst there is always some degree of risk in anaesthetising elderly patients, with the right investment in both equipment and expertise these risks are worth taking if the patient has a clear benefit from the procedure. That is certainly the view I will be taking when my own mother (not quite in Meg's age bracket!) will be undergoing surgery next week.

"Meg" was running around as normal within a few days of her operation and now looks quite proud of her 9 inch scar, a credit to her owners and an inspiration to us all!

Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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