Veterinary Cryosurgery: What You Need to Know

According to Live Science, “pet owners are happier and healthier.” A report by the Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation suggests that pets save billions in human health care costs by lowering blood pressure levels, boosting moods, and helping man’s best friend combat depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With that in mind, it may be time to ask what you are doing for your pet or pets in return. The best thing you can do is be proactive about pets’ health. Schedule annual or biannual checkups with veterinarians (it is wise to schedule checkups for senior pets at least twice a year), and have some savings set aside for any injuries, ailments, or emergencies. Thankfully, pet owners have more options for caring for their pets than ever before. One of the latest and most innovative options is veterinary cryosurgery.

 

What Is Veterinary Cryosurgery? How Is It Done?

Simply put, veterinary cryosurgery uses extreme cold to freeze off abnormal tissue. “The application of intense cold will result in the death of the targeted tissue and the

numbing of surrounding sensory nerves reducing pain and discomfort,” Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Ernest Ward writes.

The process works by exploiting body cell composition. Cells are 70% water. That makes it possible to mostly freeze affected cells, ultimately causing them to break off. Methods vary. However, a specialty vet will typically use liquid nitrogen or Argon gas, applied with a tube called a cryoprobe, special, ultra-thin cryoneedles, or a simple foam or cotton swab.

 

Does Cryosurgery Hurt?

When you take your pet in for surgery, one of the most important things is his or her comfort. We love our pets like family and obviously do not want to see them in pain. Rest assured, a specialty vet or veterinary hospital will require your pet to be under anesthesia or administer an analgesic during the procedure. Dogs and cats do not feel pain during cryosurgery. Plus, the treatment banishes infected or diseased tissue by killing bacteria and germs with intense cold.

 

What Conditions Does Cryosurgery Treat? Is It Effective?

Those familiar with cryosurgery or cryotherapy in humans may be interested to know that it is not necessarily used to treat the same conditions in pets. In humans, doctors utilize cryotherapy for skin conditions, tumors, and various cancers, like cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and liver cancer. In pets, on the other hand, cryosurgery helps with tumors in weird or inconvenient areas, areas pets tend to continually scratch, pick at, or lick, and sensitive areas, like areas in and around the mouth. Cryotherapy is a less invasive procedure for senior pets and targeted enough to safely treat some of the most sensitive conditions like eye diseases and distichiasis, extra and/or irritant eyelashes in dogs and cats.

Cryosurgery is incredibly effective. Pets recover faster. They are less likely to lick, scratch, or bite at wounds and stitches because cryotherapy typically does not leave stitches, wounds, and scars. Instead, specialty vets will bathe or ask pet owners to bathe patients after surgeries to remove any remaining dead or diseased tissue sloughed off by cryoneedles or cryoprobes.

Many skin conditions and eye diseases can be resolved in just one procedure.

Pain-free procedures, fast recovery times, and high efficacy are just the beginning. “Prices for cryosurgery are often less than that of a regular surgical procedure, making this a win-win for both you and your pet,” Caringvets.com adds.

Do our pets love us just as much as we love them? Science says yes. “Dogs respond with an oxytocin surge not only when interacting with one another, but also (unlike nearly all other mammals) when interacting with humans,” according to The Guardian. Similarly, cats–even the most aloof ones!–show signs of tangible distress after prolonged periods away from their pet parents. Cats will meow and mewl at doors where they would normally expect deployed, sick, or deceased owners.

Return that love with the very best veterinary care. Talk to a specialty vet about cryosurgery and whether it is the best option for you and your pet’s needs.

 


 

At Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center we are happy to provide a wide range of veterinary specialty and emergency services. It is important to have a “primary care” veterinarian to keep your new family member healthy and happy with routine vaccinations and health checks. But if you find yourself in the midst of a veterinary emergency, our team of experienced veterinarians is here to help. When it comes to visiting animal hospitals, we understand that the experience can be full of stress and worry, so we aim to make things as simple as possible. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts today.