Plastic surgery is an extremely popular activity among human beings as they visit a doctor to try and turn back the clock or gain a more contoured and youthful look to the body. Patients undergo a variety of procedures from Botox and fillers to breast augmentation and liposuction to make the desired changes to the body. While plastic surgery is popular among the public, it has also entered the world of pets! Take a look at the plastic surgery techniques many “hoomans” are having performed on their pets.
It might sound like an odd idea but many pet parents are turning to plastic surgery to alter and enhance the appearance of the furry members of their family.
One example includes a potbelly pig named Winne who had a surgical procedure to improve her ability to walk as well as enjoy her daily life. According to Lissy Kuhn of the Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna, Ohio, “We call it Winnie’s tummy tuck but it was a medically necessary surgery so she could walk and enjoy being a pig.”
Winnie arrived at the sanctuary with a total weight of over four hundred pounds and she was not able to stand or walk. The professionals at Happy Trail worked with the potbelly pig for over a year in order to help her lose more than two hundred pounds. Unfortunately, the needed weight loss ended up creating another issue that was painful for the pig. Kuhn noted that Winnie “was quickly developing a lot of excess skin, and when she began walking she began stepping on this excess skin.”
The solution to this problem was found in the hands of a surgical team at the Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine. The team performed a tummy tuck that removed over ten inches of excess skin from the body of the potbelly pig. In turn, the removal of the skin improved Winnie’s ability to walk and live a happier life.
In addition to the tummy tuck discussed above, pet parents have also chosen rhinoplasty, eye surgery and facelifts to improve the life of their animal. In many cases, such as Winnie the potbelly pig, the plastic surgery is being performed for both aesthetic reasons that enhance the look of the pet and functional reasons that improve the health of the pet.
In an interview posted online, Dr. Jason Lamb of the Avon Lake Animal Clinic in Ohio discussed how the clinic performs “anatomical variations in dogs, but we do it for medical reasons and not to make the dog prettier.” Dr. Lamb added one condition they address with dogs is “airway disease in what are considered brachycephalic dogs typically like your English bulldogs and your Boston terriers, their noses are typically too small so they get rhinoplasty to open up that airway.”
Some dogs have folds of skin around their eyes, and other sections of the body, removed to provide a needed reduction in the amount of painful chronic infections experienced by certain breeds of dogs. There has even been an instance of a Shar-Pei having his eyes “tightened” because his eyelashes were turning inward. Dr. Lamb remarked the “tightening surgery” needed to be performed “because it’s creating pathology rubbing the cornea.”
There are also advances being made in stem-cell procedures at the Avon Lake Animal Clinic thanks to the harvesting of fat from the animals. These stem-cells are being reinjected into the animal so they can enjoy better mobility and an improvement in some diseases. Dr. Carmen Petti told the interviewer, “The stem cells are very regenerative, the stem cells are actually able to divide and become something else. I think stem cells are going to become protocols for everything: diabetes, kidney disease – you name it.”
In the past, older pets were at risk for surgery lipomas (benign tumors of fatty tissue), but the risks have been reduced thanks to the growing option of non-invasive liposuction. There is also a growing use, by some medical professionals, of high-tech scopes that allow doctors to avoid surgery on dogs that swallowed something by simply sticking the scope in the body and pulling out the swallowed object.
Pet parents should know that plastic surgery for their pets can often be a costly option so they should speak with the doctor and weigh the benefits of the surgery versus any possible risks to the long-term health of the animal. Some animals might have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia which needs to be considered before making the decision to perform the procedure.
Thankfully, animals such as Winnie the potbelly pig have thrived after undergoing their medical procedure. Lissy Kuhn remarked, “Oh my gosh, the first time we saw her ‘wallow’ in the mud like a normal pig it was so wonderful. And now Winnie has been adopted by a very special family.”