As a dog owner, it can be worrying and scary to learn that your beloved pet needs surgery. One procedure that veterinarians may recommend is a splenectomy, which is the surgical removal of the spleen.
It’s natural to have many questions about the costs of dog spleen removal and what to expect. This article breaks down the typical expenses associated with canine spleen surgery, the factors that determine price, and tips for managing the financial impacts.
How Much Does Dog Spleen Removal Cost?
The cost of dog spleen removal surgery falls between $2,000 and $10,000, which means it varies quite a bit based on factors like the extent of the spleen issues, diagnostic testing, and so on. However, to give you a general idea, here are some typical price ranges:
- At a regular veterinary clinic, expect costs between $2,000 – $4,000 on average.
- At a specialty or emergency hospital, prices often range from $4,000 – $6,000+.
- For complex procedures or treatment of extensive spleen issues, costs can exceed $6,000 – $10,000+ in some cases.
On the other hand, smaller and more straightforward splenectomies may fall on the lower end of these typical price ranges. But it is reasonable to estimate $3,000 – $5,000 on average for most dogs.
Lemonade Insurance notes that the cost of a splenectomy (removal of the spleen) for a dog is reported to range from $3,500 to $5,000. The cost can vary widely depending on if the procedure requires anesthesia.
Anicira offers splenectomy surgery for dogs, with the cost starting at $1,729 for dogs weighing 50 lbs or less. Additional fees are applied for patients over 50 pounds.
According to Access Veterinary Care, the price for a splenectomy (removal of the spleen) is listed as $1,900.
Getting quotes from your local vets allows you to better anticipate the expected surgical expenses. But be prepared for some variability in the final costs after treatment.
Factors That Determine the Costs
There are several key factors vets and pet hospitals take into account when pricing spleen surgery for dogs:
- Type of surgical facility – Emergency clinics and specialty hospitals often cost more than general practices.
- Extent of spleen issues – Simple procedures are cheaper than complicated surgeries for large tumors or ruptures.
- Diagnostic testing – Costs of bloodwork, x-rays, ultrasound scans and other tests may be included.
- Dog’s health – More care is needed for higher-risk or elderly dogs, raising prices.
- Medications and medical supplies – Anesthesia, medicines, sutures and other consumables all contribute to the final bill.
- Hospitalization time – Overnight monitoring post-surgery can add hundreds more in facility fees.
- Geographic location – Prices are generally higher in urban areas and major cities.
Why Understanding Surgery Costs Matters
Pet surgeries and medical procedures like spleenectomies can be very expensive, often costing thousands of dollars depending on the circumstances. That’s why it’s important for dog owners to understand the costs ahead of time and plan accordingly. Knowing what goes into determining the price can help you budget properly and make the best decisions for your dog’s care.
An Overview of Spleen Removal in Dogs
The spleen is an organ that filters blood and helps fight infection. However, it is also prone to diseases and tumors. When problems with the spleen arise in dogs, veterinarians may recommend complete surgical removal of the spleen, known as a splenectomy. This procedure requires anesthesia and surgical skills to remove the diseased spleen without complications. Most dogs recover well and can live a normal life without their spleen. However, spleen removal is major surgery and does come with risks and expenses.
Spleen Removal Surgery Overview
To fully grasp the costs involved, it helps to understand exactly what spleenectomy surgery for dogs entails.
The spleen is an organ located in the abdomen that acts as a filter for blood and helps the immune system. However, it is prone to conditions like cancer, benign tumors, infections, trauma, or torsion.
When the spleen becomes diseased in dogs, veterinarians will recommend its surgical removal to prevent life-threatening complications. This is a major abdominal surgery that requires general anesthesia.
During the operation, the vet will make an incision to access the spleen and carefully tie off blood vessels before removing the entire spleen. They will check for bleeding and then close up the abdomen with stitches or surgical glue.
The spleen is not vital for older dogs, and most adjust well to life without it. However, there are still risks and aftercare needs for spleen removal.
Recognizing the Signs of Splenic Trouble
Some of the most common signs that a dog may have underlying issues with their spleen include:
- Sudden collapse or weakness
- Pale gums
- Distended or painful abdomen
- Lethargy and depression
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Frequent vomiting
- Diarrhea or dark, tarry stools
If a dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, prompt veterinary care is essential. The vet will likely run tests like:
- Blood pressure checks to dismiss anemia and infection
- Abdominal palpation to feel for enlargement
- X-rays or ultrasound to visualize the spleen
- CT or MRI scans in some cases
These tests are necessary for diagnosis and surgical planning, but also add to the total costs of care.
Preparing for Your Dog’s Spleen Surgery
Here are some tips to prepare for your dog undergoing spleen removal surgery:
- Discuss all options thoroughly with your vet – Make sure you understand why surgery is recommended over other treatments.
- Ask about estimated costs – This allows you to plan for the expense and understand what factors may increase the price.
- Have bloodwork done – Testing helps assess your dog’s health for the general anesthetic and surgery safety.
- Follow pre-surgical instructions – Such as withholding food and restricting activity as directed by your vet.
- Inquire about payment plans – Many vets offer financing options to help manage the costs of care.
- Consider pet insurance – Policies can potentially help cover a portion of major surgery costs.
Step-by-Step: How the Surgery is Performed
Here is an overview of how veterinary surgeons perform dog spleen removal:
- Anesthesia induction to sedate the dog for surgery.
- Surgical site clipping and sterilization on the abdomen.
- A 4-6 inch incision made through the abdominal wall.
- The spleen is located and gently exteriorized.
- Blood vessels are tied off and cut.
- The vet completely removes the spleen and checks for bleeding.
- Abdominal muscles and incision are closed with absorbable sutures.
- Anesthesia recovery monitoring and further hospitalization.
On average, the procedure takes 1-3 hours including prep time and immediate aftercare.
Post-Op Care and Recovery Expectations
After surgery, dogs usually stay hospitalized for 1-2 days for close monitoring and pain management.
Potential post-op care may involve:
- Incision care – Keeping the surgery site clean and watching for infection.
- Prescription medications – Such as antibiotics and pain relievers.
- E-collar (cone) to prevent licking or irritation of the incision area.
- Diet and activity restrictions – Gradually easing back into normal routines.
- Follow-up vet visits for continued monitoring and suture removal.
Many dogs are back to normal energy levels within 1-2 weeks, though full healing takes 4-8 weeks.
Risk Factors and Potential Complications
While prognosis is generally good after a spleen removal, it is a major surgery and does come with risks such as:
- Excessive bleeding during or after surgery.
- Infection of the incision.
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia.
- Blood clots that can cause further health issues.
- Splenic remnant syndrome – leftover splenic tissue complications.
Your vet will take precautions to avoid complications. However, any adverse reactions require prompt veterinary treatment and may increase costs further.
How to Get an Affordable Splenectomy Surgery
Spleen surgery for dogs often totals $2,500 to $6,500 on average when all expenses are factored in. Costs are higher with complexity and at specialty hospitals.
Here are some tips for managing the costs of this procedure:
- Pet insurance can provide reimbursement for medical costs. Pre-existing conditions may have a waiting period.
- Veterinary financing like CareCredit allows paying the bill over time for qualifying applicants.
- Non-profit groups and charities may provide financial aid for dog medical bills in some cases.
- Ask your vet if they offer any discounts for new clients or cash payments.
- See if any nearby veterinary schools offer lower-cost procedures with students assisting.
- Consider pet wellness coverage options to offset future expensive treatments.
Conclusion: Prioritizing Your Dog’s Health
Dog spleen removal surgery is usually only recommended when medically necessary. While the costs can be daunting, try not to let expense alone sway your choices. Your dog’s health and well-being should take top priority.
With some preparation, budgeting, and financial assistance, spleenectomy is often manageable. Work closely with your veterinary team to make the best medical decisions for your pup! They can help address any concerns about surgery costs and prognosis as well.
Staying informed about the procedure, aftercare, and risks allows you to be prepared if this surgery is prescribed. Focus on a smooth recovery, follow all veterinary advice diligently, and you’ll likely have your happy dog back on their paws soon!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do dogs feel better after spleen removal?
Most dogs show improvement and resolution of symptoms soon after spleen removal surgery. The diseased spleen is removed, preventing further health complications. With post-operative care and time to heal, dogs often feel much better within a couple of weeks.
Can a dog live a normal life without a spleen?
Yes, dogs can live a perfectly normal life after a splenectomy surgery. The spleen is not an essential organ in older dogs. With time to recover from surgery, most dogs bounce back to normal energy levels and activities.
They can exercise, play, and eat just as they did before. You may notice increased appetite after spleen removal. Some dogs may need to remain on medications or supplements long-term.
But overall, the average life expectancy is not impacted by having the spleen surgically removed. With proper veterinary care and monitoring, dogs go on to live happily without their spleen.
How long can a dog live with spleen tumor without surgery?
This depends on the type, size, and progression rate of the tumor on the spleen. Spleen tumors and growths can sometimes go unnoticed for a while. But once enlarged enough to cause symptoms, prompt surgical removal is usually recommended. Non-cancerous splenic tumors may have a slower progression.
However, malignant cancerous tumors can spread rapidly if left untreated. Veterinary oncologists typically advise spleen tumor removal within 1-2 weeks of diagnosis whenever possible.
While every case is different, spleen tumors often become life-threatening within 6-12 weeks without surgical removal. So while a dog potentially could live 1-2 months, the safest approach is to proceed with surgery soon after diagnosis. This provides the best chances of recovery and a normal lifespan.