Tips for soft-tissue surgeries
Unlike human medicine where surgery is the exclusive domain of the specialist, general practitioners in veterinary medicine are often called upon to perform a wide variety of surgical procedures.
Alligator forceps with round cup jawsThis is a favorite instrument in our practice. We have the Hartman alligator forceps, but there are other very similar models (Photo 1). This instrument can be used for biopsies of the nasal passage and removing or obtaining biopsies of masses in the ear canal. It can also be used for extracting nasopharyngeal polyps in cats. After retracting the soft palate rostrally with a blunt spay hook, the polyp is grasped with the alligator forceps near its base and removed, hopefully in its entirety, with firm steady traction.
We keep our Hartman forceps sterilized in an individual package so that it may be used in aseptic procedures as well.
Cryptorchid castration tips
If you do need to explore the abdomen for an undescended testicle, remember to first identify the vas deferens as it joins the proximal urethra. This structure can then be followed to the testicle that is often discovered deep into the urinary bladder. If the vas deferens is traced to the inguinal ring, the testicle has passed into the inguinal canal. Exploration then should be carried out from the external surface of the body wall.
Culturing the urinary tract mucosa or calculi
When performing a cystotomy for cystic calculi or chronic cystitis, before closing the bladder wall, obtain a small piece of mucosa from the edge for culture and sensitivity. Alternatively, if multiple calculi are removed, one of these can be crushed into the culture media. A study by Hamaide, et al, demonstrated that 18.5 percent more cases will have a positive culture result when either the bladder mucosa or urolith are cultured compared to urine alone. In the same study, if the urine cultured positive, the same organism was cultured from the urolith or bladder mucosa. A stone and mucosa can be cultured together to increase the odds of obtaining a positive result. It is especially important to have an accurate culture in cases of chronically treated urinary tract infections where the risk of infection by drug-resistant organisms is high.