Advanced Surgical Services

Here at Acorn vets we are able to offer an advanced surgery service. Veterinary surgeon Nick Whieldon obtained the Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practice in 2018 and has several years of experience providing an orthopaedic and soft tissue service.

Many orthopaedic and soft tissue procedures can be performed in the practice in our well equipped operating theatres, removing the need for clients and pets having to travel longer distances. Our vets and nurses strive to achieve the best pain management for our procedures, knowing how important this is to a successful recovery.

Some cases do present where we need to refer your pet to a hospital. In this case we use the very well regarded Oakwood Veterinary Referrals in Hartford who are part of our Willows veterinary group family.

Please click on the links below to find out more about these services

Soft Tissue Procedures:

We are able to perform a wide variety of techniques including Axial Pattern skin flaps and skin grafts. These techniques enable us to perform surgery on large tumours that require significant tissue removal and reconstruction. We are also able to stage tumours in order to provide the best treatment options. Tumours on the feet can be very difficult to remove and close the skin. We utilise skin grafts to deal with these cases. Mast cell tumours are a common tumour for us to stage and treat.

We perform a wide range of surgery on the digestive tract including:-

  • Mandibulectomy and Maxillectomy- Dogs are able to cope very well with removal of parts of the lower and upper jaw. Often apparently inoperable tumours of the mouth can be removed allowing the patient a good quality of life after the treatment
  • Gastropexy- Large dogs can be prone to bloat. This is a life threatening condition where the stomach fills with air and twists. We perform gastropexy to prevent this condition aften at the time of neutering.
  • Y-U Pyloroplasty- The exit of a dogs stomach can rarely close off due to tissue thickening. This is a technique to open the exit up again.
  • Colectomy- This is removal of the colon (large intestine). Cats sometimes suffer from a condition called megacolon (where the colon becomes enlarged and faeces build up). This technique treats this problem.
  • Rectal Surgery- It is not uncommon for growths or tumours to develop in the rectum. We are able to remove many of these tumours and in many cases provide a cure for the patient.
  • Anal gland removal- We sometimes need to remove anal glands in instances where they become infected repeatedly, or a type of tumour develops.

  • Nasal Planum resection- This is basically removal of the nose in the case a tumour has developed, followed by surgical reconstruction. Often this can cure patients and still afford a good quality of life
  • Hard and Soft palate repair- Dogs born with a cleft palate may undergo surgery to correct the problem.
  • BOAS (Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome) – Pugs and bulldog type breeds often suffer from airway problems and struggle to breathe properly. We can perform surgery on the soft palate, Nares (nostrils), remove the tonsils and remove flaps of tissue from the voice box (everted laryngeal saccules). These treatments can often relieve the clinical signs associated with BOAS.

Rib Resection- Part of one or two ribs can be removed in cases where a tumour has appeared. In extensive cases we refer to Oakwood veterinary referrals in Hartford.

  • Episiotomy- This is a technique performed to gain exposure to the vagina and vestibule, often to remove a tumour
  • Episioplasty- Sometimes a dogs vulva (opening to the vagina) is covered by loose skin. This can cause skin and urinary infections. This technique aims to remove the loose skin.
  • Phallopexy- Sometimes a dogs penis protrudes from its sheath, swells and can’t be replaced. This is a technique to replace it and prevent this condition from happening again.
  • Omentalisation of Prostatic cysts and Abscess. This is a technique used to treat these problems of the prostate.
  • Nephrotomy- A technique to gain access to the kidney to remove a stone
  • Nephrectomy- Removal of a kidney
  • Partial Cystectomy- We can remove up to 60 % of a dogs bladder without significant ongoing problems
  • Urethrostomy- This is mainly performed in a male dog and cat. It involves creation of a new opening for urine to leave the body, often in cases where stones have formed and blocked the lower urethra.

  • Thyroidectomy- This involves removal of the thyroid gland in cats suffering from hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and dogs with tumours of the thyroid gland.
  • Parathyroidectomy- Removal of the parathyroid gland in cases where it may have become enlarged and caused a rise in the calcium level in the blood.

  • Total Pinnectomy- This is a procedure to remove all or some the ear flaps in cases where a tumour has developed. This is especially common in white cats that suffer from sunburn over many years.
  • Total Ear Canal Ablation (TECA) and Bulla Osteotomy- This is removal of the ear canal and part of the outside of the bony chamber below the canal (the bulla). This treats cases where ear infections have led to chronic and untreatable changes, and tumours of the ear canal.

  • Pedicle graft- In some cases eye ulcers become very deep and progress quickly. This technique involves creating a tissue graft to stitch over the ulcer and save the eye.
  • Prolapse of the Nictitating Membrane Gland (Cherry eye)- The gland flips up and looks like a cherry in the lower eye. This surgery aims to replace the gland in a new position and prevent the condition occurring again.
  • Reconstruction of the eye lids- Large tumours or growths can appear on the eye lids and removal can prevent reconstruction of the lids. A flap can be created from the lower lip or skin surrounding the upper eye lid to create and reconstruct a new lid.

  • Diaphragmatic Hernia- The muscle wall between the chest and abdomen can develop a hernia (hole) following an accident such as being hit by a car. This can be repaired.
  • Perineal Hernia- This is more common in un-neutered male dogs and looks like a bulge present to the side of the anus. We use the Internal Obturator Muscle Transposition Technique to surgically repair this hernia. Most cases have a good outcome.
  • Inguinal Hernia- This hernia presents as an abnormal swelling in the groin area. These hernias can easily be repaired, often during neutering.

Orthopaedic Procedures:

We deal with many fractures with plates, external frames and pins/wires.

This is often known as ‘footballers knee’ in the world of human medicine, but unlike ourselves this very common injury results from gradual degeneration of the ligaments in a dogs knee rather than some form of an accident. We successfully treat many cases each year, predominantly with two main techniques.

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA). 

This technique involves placing a titanium foam wedge in the bone and securing it with a small plate, screw and pin. By altering the angles of the joint a cruciate ligament is no longer required.

We use this technique for dogs weighing 15-45 kg and find most dogs walk on the operated leg quite soon after the surgery

We always advise clients rest their pet for several weeks following such an operation and provide some physiotherapy exercises to be performed during recovery to maximise the outcome.

A post operative X ray is recommended about 10 weeks after this operation.

Not every dog is suitable for this procedure, and we may recommend a Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO) be performed at Oakwood Referrals.

Lateral Fabellar Suture

A lateral fabellar suture is a technique suited for treating small dogs with cruciate disease, especially those under 10 kg. The outcome for these patients is generally very good with this technique.

A nylon ligament (indicated here in green), is placed on the outside of the joint. This replicates the job of the damaged ligament and stabilizes the stifle joint (knee) whilst the surrounding tissues thicken up and eventually take over this job.

Patients must be rested for 6  to 8 weeks, but physiotherapy is required during this period to ensure a good recovery takes place.

Most small dogs make a full recovery with this technique.

This is a very common condition in small breeds of dog (such as Jack Russel Terriers, Yorkshire terriers and Pugs), but it also may present in larger dogs.

The patella (knee cap) sits in a trough and ideally remains in this trough, gliding up and down as the stifle (knee) moves.

In this condition the patella can slip out of its groove and get stuck down the side of the knee. This can cause an intermittent lameness until the patient feels the patella move back into the groove, as well as general pain due to cartilage being lost over time.

Patients often have a ‘bow’ leg that makes the problem worse. Treatment involves making the groove deeper and cutting and pinning a wedge of bone in a different place to remove the ‘bow’.

This treatment is highly successful generally and most patients make a full recovery and don’t experience the problem again after the surgery.

Patients must be rested for 6 to 8 weeks after this operation and have only limited lead walks, whilst following a physiotherapy plan provided by the practice.