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Our society is a bit obsessed with appearance. Countless ads pop up on radio, television and in magazines promoting breast augmentations, anti-aging creams and countless ways to lose weight (through exercise, weight-loss programs, special diets, medications and surgeries). One such option is liposuction. The ad may show a woman with a not-so-flat belly next to a picture of one with a toned stomach, telling people that liposuction was the answer.
So when I saw in the news that liposuction was now available for pets, I thought our society had gone too far.
But, like everything else, you have to read the fine print.
Although referred to as liposuction, when the procedure is performed on pets it is not cosmetic (even if your client’s pet is hoping for a svelte figure). It’s actually used to improve the health of the pet. The non-invasive procedure removes the fat from lipomas in overweight and senior dogs. If gone untreated, they can grow quite large and impede the dog’s movement.
“They can be really big,” Rebecca Pentecost, DVM, told Fox 8 Cleveland. “I had one that we took almost three and a half liters of fat out of it.”
Dr. Pentecost, a veterinarian at Animal Clinic Northview in North Ridgeville, Ohio, has performed the procedure on patients from several states and countries.
The procedure is a safer alternative to major surgery, which could leave senior dogs with a long recovery time and up to 30 stitches. Liposuction requires only a small incision and up to two days of recovery. The procedure can be done with less anesthesia as well – another benefit for older dogs.
The downside? Since the entire lipoma is not removed, there is a 23 percent likelihood that the fat will come back.
What do you think of pet liposuction? Is it a procedure you’d perform in your practice? Tell us in the comments.