Display until March 24, 2015
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DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My 4-year-old pug, “Granby,” is having surgery soon to correct a problem that makes it difficult for him to breathe. One of my friends said the procedure is nothing more than cosmetic surgery and that I ought to save my money. What do you think? — Mel in New York
DEAR MEL: For pugs and other short-nosed breeds, surgery is sometimes necessary in order for them to breathe better. If their nostrils are malformed or too narrow, they can be widened to improve airflow. Or, if the soft palate (at the top of their mouth) is too long and causing breathing issues, surgery can be done to shorten the soft palate.
While these may cause slight changes in Granby’s appearance, they can drastically improve his quality of life and overall health.
Pets are increasingly receiving cosmetic surgery. A CBS report said that dog owners in the U.S. spent $62 million in 2011 on such treatments. For pugs like Granby as well as many bulldogs and Boston terriers, corrective surgeries are often necessary. Likewise for shar-peis, which may need surgery to raise their eyelids, improving vision and preventing medical issues like scratched corneas.
However, other procedures are more cosmetic — lifting saggy skin around the face or abdomen, for example. And apparently some owners opt to give their dogs testicular implants after neutering, so they’re (hopefully) less likely to notice or be bothered by the loss of their real testicles.
On the plus side, Granby’s surgery appears to be medically necessary and might be covered by some pet insurance plans.
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