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Enucleation in Dogs & Cats

If your dog or cat is undergoing enucleation surgery, you may have a lot of questions. Today, our Riverside vets can explain what enucleation surgery is and how it will affect your pet.

What is enucleation?

Enucleation is, basically, eye removal surgery for dogs and cats and they eyes associated structures, e.g. eyelids. The procedure is undertaken to prevent pain or the spread of disease, such as when an eye is irreversibly damaged, cancerous, or affected by non-responsive glaucoma.

Enucleation in dogs and cats is often a treatment of last resort when all previous attempts to salvage the eye have failed. The procedure is carried out under full general anesthetic and, although a major procedure, there is every chance of a successful outcome. This is not a specialist procedure and is commonly carried out at general vet practice. 

Enucleation Surgery in Dogs & Cats

Enucleation is never undertaken lightly at Riverside, and our vets only suggest eye removals for pets after all other treatment options have been explored. 

Enucleation requires your pet to be put under general anesthetic and may involve an overnight stay after the surgery. Elderly dogs and cats may require fluids through an IV during the surgery to reduce the risk of kidney complications and to maintain blood pressure and hydration.

The pre-surgery and surgery involve several things including: 

  • Preparing the patient by withholding food overnight before the operation
  • A pre-op check, possibly including screening blood tests
  • A premedication injection and pain relief to prepare the pet for the anesthetic
  • The pet may be put on intravenous fluids at this point
  • The anesthetic is administered through your pet's front leg.
  • Hair is carefully clipped from around the eye and face
  • The skin is made sterile with surgical scrub
  • The surgeon scrubs up and then sutures the eyelids of the affected eye together
  • The surgeon removes the eye by careful dissection, and any bleeding vessels clamped and tied off
  • Skin is sutured over the empty socket
  • The pet wakes from the anesthetic and must wear a cone to protect the surgical site

Your dog or cat will be discharged with pain relief and perhaps antibiotics after the surgery and will require a post-op check in two to three days. After this, your pet's sutures will need to be removed about 2 weeks after the surgery.

Enucleation Recovery in Dogs & Cats

Complications are rare but include hemorrhage or wound breakdown. If the bleeding is severe, another surgery may be required, and contact our Riverside Animal Hospital vets right away. However, the vast majority of patients make a full and uneventful recovery. 

Once the sutures are removed no further aftercare is needed and the patient is signed off. 

The dog or cat must wear a cone until the sutures are removed.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog or cat is about to have surgery or is recovering from surgery and you have questions, contact our Riverside vets today for more information.

New Patients Welcome

Riverside Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Riverside companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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(951) 683-4200