Willowrun Veterinary Hospital

Veterinary Pet Surgery

Veterinary surgeries range from the routine (spaying, neutering) to the advanced (ACL reconstruction, foreign object removal). While no one wants to see their pet experience a major surgery, we’ll ensure that you’re informed throughout the process and your pet is safe from anesthesia through to recovery.

General & Advanced Surgery

Our surgical team is highly trained and has ample experience performing both general and advanced surgical procedures. Safety, pain management precautions, and accuracy are at the forefront of our surgical practices at Willowrun Veterinary Hospital.

Every surgical procedure we perform will begin with a pre-operative assessment. During this assessment, the veterinarian will perform a blood test and a physical examination to ensure the pet will be able to safely undergo the surgery and the anesthesia it requires. During this pre-operative assessment, you will also be able to voice any questions and concerns you have about the procedure and will receive information about the post-operative care.

On the day of the surgery, we will usually ask that the animal is fasted for 12 - 36 hours depending on the procedure. We will use a sterilized operating room, and closely monitor the patient's vital signs while operating for their safety.

After the operation, we will continue to closely monitor the patient as they awaken from their anesthesia-induced slumber. Sometimes, they will be able to go home on the same day. If the surgery is complex and the condition is acute, we may want to monitor the pet for a few days longer or send them to a 24-hour veterinary emergency center for constant monitoring.

Below are some examples of specific surgical procedures that we are fully equipped for and experienced in:

Spay/Neuter removes the reproductive organs of the patient so that they can no longer parent a litter. This is a common surgery, which our doctors have ample experience performing. It is beneficial for their health, curbing the pet population, and the convenience of pet owners.

Soft-tissue surgery refers to any procedure that is unrelated to the bones or joints. This includes spay/neuter surgery, bladder stone removal, mass removal, hernia repair, and more.

Surgical oncology is performed to remove or stop the spread of cancerous cells. Often, surgical oncology is followed-up by additional treatments such as medication, chemotherapy, herbal medicine, and/or acupuncture to help mitigate the side effects and prevent the return of cancerous growth.

Foreign body removal can save the life of a pet who has ingested something that their body does not have the capacity to safely digest. Intestinal obstruction is life-threatening, so do not hesitate to seek urgent care if your pet consumed a foreign object.

C-sections assist pregnant animals who need help giving birth and considers factors such as body and pelvic size of the delivering animal.

Spay/Neuter Procedure

Spay surgery removes the uterus and ovaries of female animals. Neuter surgery removes the testes of male animals. The primary goal of both procedures is to stop the animal's ability to reproduce.

Our doctors are highly experienced in performing safe and effective spay and neuter procedures in our technologically advanced surgical suite. We recommend this surgery for every companion animal that will not be intentionally used for breeding purposes. If you are considering whether spay and neuter is right for your pet, the following list explains why we recommend the procedure to all pets under our care:

  • Health: Spayed and neutered pets have longer life expectancies because they are less likely to contract cancer or an infection of the reproductive system. Breast cancer risk is also decreased for female animals. Also, the strain that pregnancy and child-rearing have on the body can be avoided. Therefore, health is the number one reason we recommend spaying and neutering pets.
  • Expense: The cost of spay and neuter surgery dwarfs in comparison to the costs associated with raising an unplanned litter. Ultrasounds, potentially a c-section, regular visits to the veterinarian, and vaccinations add up quickly. Also, caring for a litter or newly born puppies or kittens is extremely time-consuming. For many breeders, these activities are a job that they must take very seriously. If you are not ready to take on such a job, it is wise to have your animal spayed or neutered.
  • Improved Behaviors: Male animals, in particular, have a desire to leave their home and wander in search of a mate. Female animals will often frequently urinate and exhibit other undesirable behaviors during their heat periods to attract male suitors. Although we love our pets, these behaviors are frequently bemoaned by pet owners. Spaying and neutering will decrease your pet's urge to participate in these mate-seeking activities.
  • Control Pet Population: Every year, millions of animals are brought to animal shelters in need of homes. North Carolina and the surrounding southern states, in particular, have a chronic stray animal problem. This problem will only continue for as long as there are more pets than there are owners with homes to provide for them. One of the leading ways to control the pet population is by preventing unplanned litters through spay and neuter surgery.

Prior to the surgery, our veterinary doctors will perform a pre-operative exam and blood testing to ensure that the animal is healthy enough to undergo the procedure. The procedure is typically recommended around 6 months of age, and is sometimes delayed further for giant breed dogs.

Following the surgery, we will closely monitor the pet's behavior to ensure they are recovering as expected. Typically, the pet will be able to return home later the same day, and the post-operative care is not difficult. They might need a little more downtime than usual for the next 1-2 weeks.

ACL Reconstruction Surgery

The TPLO ACL Reconstruction surgery, or Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, is the gold standard and best option for treatment of ACL tears in dogs because of its excellent results and lowest complication rate. Best performed by a boarded orthopedic surgeon, the TPLO surgery tends to be the most expensive surgical option.

TPLO surgery levels the top of the tibia, creating a stable surface for the femur and eliminating the sliding action which causes damage to the joint. To accomplish leveling of the tibia, the top of the tibia is cut, re-aligned, and a metal plate is placed and held in position with very strong bone screws. During TPLO surgery, the joint is explored so that the torn ligament and meniscus, if damaged, will be trimmed or removed if necessary. In approximately 8 weeks, bone fills in the implant enough to stabilize the repair.

TPLO procedure is less prone to complications in very active pets because it is a very strong repair. Regardless, a full 8 weeks of strict cage rest and leash walks is still necessary to ensure that no complications develop!

Willowrun Veterinary Hospital works with a board-certified veterinary orthopedic surgeon from Tarheel Veterinary Surgical Specialists that travels to our clinic in Smithfield, North Carolina, to offer this procedure to our patients. Our veterinarians and staff will be with you every step of the way during your pet's post operative care. Willowrun Veterinary Hospital is happy to accept referrals or new clients for this procedure.

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Pain Management

No living creature deserves to live in pain. Our pain management services are designed to offer a better quality of life to pets who are afflicted with taxing conditions. Pain management services can take many forms, including medication, environmental accommodations, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine.

Pain is categorized into two different categories that require different sets of treatment. These are acute and chronic.

Acute pain is sharp and sudden, such as pain associated with a surgery or sudden trauma. In most cases, once the source of pain is addressed, the acute pain will dissipate. If the pain is associated with a surgical or dental procedure (such as tooth extraction) it can be managed preemptively, meaning that the veterinarian will take steps to mitigate the pain before the procedure even begins.

Chronic pain becomes more severe with time, slowly and surely. Unlike acute pain, pets may have to live with chronic pain for years on end. Senior pets are more likely to contract conditions that cause chronic pain, but young animals can also be susceptible. Examples of these conditions include cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and more.

Are you worried your pet may be experiencing pain? Look for these signs. If they appear in a cluster, or one sign is extremely significant, please schedule an appointment.

  • Changes in eating/appetite
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Restlessness, it may be more difficult for a pet in pain to get comfortable
  • Seeking more affection than usual
  • Uncharacteristic avoidance behaviors such as hiding
  • Increased vocalization in the form of whining or crying
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Inability to defecate
  • Decreased mobility or energy

If your pet has a sudden onset of one or several of these symptoms, please call us immediately. Often, the sooner a disease is caught, the easier it is to treat, and your pet will not have to live with the burden of pain for as long.

Join the Willowrun Veterinary Hospital Family Today!

Located on S Brightleaf Blvd between E Wilson St and E Stevens St. Directly across from Harper's Flea Market Mall and next to The Mulch Yard.

Phone: 919.934.1504

  • Monday: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Thursday: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Friday: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Saturday: 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed