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All of us are familiar with elective surgery – face lifts, liposuction and mole removal, to name a few. As far as dogs are concerned neuter/spay surgery, ear cropping and tail docking come to mind. A lot of people agree that ear cropping comes under the purview of a cosmetic procedure considering the fact that there are very little medical rewards for the dog. Dog owners need to tread a vast gray area when opting for a procedure that might not be life-saving, but still provide a lot of health-enhancing benefits.A lot of veterinarians recommend removing fat deposits once they reach a certain size as they can grow quite large if left to their own whims. But the question remains “Which are the fat deposits that can be left alone and which are the ones that can be removed?”Even if a needle biopsy reveals a fat deposit to be benign in nature, some of them don't sop growing.Risks and benefits
Let us consider dental procedures as an example to understand the risks and benefits involved in elective surgery. If gingival growths, loose teeth and deep infections are present in your teeth, then you might need dental surgery to safeguard your life. Since the procedure requires anesthesia, it is not entirely without risk. However, veterinary presurgical protocols have come a long way and a blood chemistry profile is a great way to identify patients “at risk”.While most of the healthy animals are at little to no risk for complications during elective surgery like spaying and neutering, there is a good chance that the animal may have an underlying problem that won't rear its head till he is put under anesthesia. It would not be prudent to discover that at the time of surgery.In a lot of situations, the timing of the surgery is important. For instance, early cancer surgery has a lot of rewarding benefits in the long run. But, if you remain indecisive about surgery, it might undermine the results. Orthopedic problems like fractures, torn ligaments and cartilage damage are all time critical. If surgery is delayed, it can lead to irreversible degeneration.On the other hand, if the surgery is going to be effective irrespective of how long the problem has persisted, then the decision depends on how badly your dog's quality of life has been affected. Hip replacement for dogs that suffer from dysplasia is a good example. No matter how bad the degree of arthritis, an artificial hip will definitely benefit your dog. Although, a full hip replacement is advised only if the clinical signs are advanced. In the final analysis, it is worth going for elective surgery if the benefits outweigh the risks. Talk to your pet's vet for a medical opinion.