We're not kidding!!! Don't scroll down if you don't like yucky stuff!!! Updated 1/22/09!!!!

Part of a veterinarian or veterinary technician's job is snuggling kittens and puppies or patting old faithful on the head during a routine exam. Tragically, however, medicine involves the sick and injured also, despite the fact that most people love their pets and take good care of them. Through the years I have almost learned not to be surprised by the myriad ways animals can get hurt or the odd twists diseases and cancers can take. I've seen a cat who had all four legs cut off by a siccle mower cutting hay. The cat was still alive when it arrived! I've seen animals hit by trains and automobiles, trucks, four wheelers, lawn mowers, weed wackers, axes, arrows, and many many bullets. We are trained in both emergency medicine and in routine health care, and so any given day may involve puppy shots, spays and neuters, and a tumor removal, bone repair, or other organectomy (removal of an organ). Below are a few pictures to give some insight as to the more graphic things we deal with.
Updated 4/15/2013!!! Please do NOT continue if you do not want to see graphic images Don't say that we didn't warn you! There will be blood!!!!!
Broken bones are always a bit creepy, and provide interesting images both on the radiographs (x-rays) and during the surgical correction and stabilization. Below are a few cases of fractures, starting with a simple fracture, leading to more complex.
Images of fractured metacarpal bone in a dog before (left) and after (right) surgical realignment and stabilization with a 6 hole plate.
There are many health situations that do not require a veterinarian's care, including certain injuries and illnesses. However, while nature is an essential part of all healing, sometimes injuries or disease require some input from a vet if an optimal outcome is to be achieved. Below is the result of neglect on a femoral fracture. Nature tried hard to stabilize the injury, but the result was not only ugly but not useable. With some reshaping and some surgical grade stainless, this dog had a whole new lease on mobility and a future with significantly less pain.
A joint that is involved in a fracture will not heal unless the individual bones can be reassembled along with their soft tissue ligament support. Animals tend to be too brutal to their joints to make this delicate repair practical, so joint fusion allows animals to have a pain free, usable limb, although it will lack some of the flexibility. Griding out the joint spaces encourages arthrodesis or joint fusion, but is a fairly involved and graphic surgical proceedure. A plate holds the joint in alignment until it can fuse and become self supporting and solid.
When an intestional loop becomes inflammed and hyperactive, it may "eat" a neighboring intestinal segment. Swallowing it causes constriction of the blood suppy and eventual rotting or necrosis of the intestine with leakage of material into the abdomen. Such odd intestinal behavior can be challenging at times to find, even on x-rays, and requires surgical resection to correct.
With better vaccines, nutrition, and overall health care, families are finding their pets living longer lives. This is wonderful, but allows us to see a branch of medicine that is more common in older animals... oncology or cancer medicine. Below is an opened chest, with ribs spread to reveal a lung tumor. A respirator allows the animal to breath while the tumorous portion of the lung is removed for evaluation, and the chest is reclosed to allow for normal breathing.
Some cancer just doesn't know how to behave, and spreads wildly, either in a local region such as the abdomen below, or through the blood stream allowing the seeding of cancer throughout the body.
Below is another type of cancer, huge, but more well contained. It's a tumor of embrionic origin containing mutant teeth, hair, and other semblances of attempted life beyond the cellular level. This teratoma is the essance of what wanted to be, distorted and mutated in a cancerous way.
Below is the teratoma show in the image to the left. This massive tumor was removed completely, leaving the patient well. We opened the tumor and found the hair, teeth and bone fragments, etc... We'd show you those images, but there's a limit to what even we are willing to put out in public.
Not everything inappropriate within an animal is cancer. Here is a beautiful (yes, it is in the eye of the beholder) example of a bladder stone, made through the inappropriate precipitation of minerals in the urine, collecting around a protein matix to form crystals. Yeah, kinda like rock candy... just don't eat it.
Stones, like snowflakes, rarely come alone. Here is the big stone with it's family after removal from bladder and urethra.
Here is the big starburst looking stone being removed from an incision in the bladder.
Other things in a patient didn't grow there, they just happened. Open mouth, insert rubber ball fragment, enter surgeon. The fragment exited stage left after being removed from the intestines.
But for some dogs... one ball isn't enough, and of course, you need a microwave dinner or two, and some, well, I'm not even sure all what this dog ate!?! At least it wiped up the mess, and then ate the wash cloth when it was done!!!!
Here are some of the more recognizable chunks from this feast
Some things inside a dog are even good thing, assuming they are planned. Here's the result of a happy puppy check! 11 pups is enough to make an owner happy and an expectant momma exhausted, even before they come out! Who's gonna feed all them!!!!
If your mother ever warned you about hitch hikers, here's a parasitic reason why. The cuterebra fly lays it's eggs which hatch into larva (yes maggots) which invade the skin and grow and grow, leaving a little hole in the skin to "snorkel" through. These "wolfs" are not pleasant to look at... and I'd imagine they're none to pleasant guests either.
Some of these parasites aren't polite enough to leave the door open so you can see them. The Demodex mite (cigar shaped below) and the fat chubby Sarcoptes mite (below) both can cause significant discomfort and skin damage. Usually they are readily treated with drugs, and a full recovery is common, often with little to no scarring.
If you didn't think the bloated Sarcoptes mite, feasting on skin dander was cute, maybe you'll like it's egg. After all, even skin parasites were young once.
Wounds in the summer become active ecosystems for parasitic larva of flies... Maggots!
Some parasitic issues arise from "self" and thus are not easy to identify until they disrupt the normal functioning of tissues. This is an image of a double contrast cystourethrogram. A dye is put into the bladder via a urinary catheter (coming down from top right). Then air is infused to blow the bladder up a little like a balloon. The die, bright white, puddles with gravity in the down part of the bladder, yet coats the surfaces of structures allowing them to be more readily seen on the x-ray. In this case, the urinary catheter acts almost like a pointer, revealing a mossy looking growth coming from the inner surface of the bladder, lightly highlighted with "dye" to reveal some of the 3 dimentional contours. This is a transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. Special tools to get those special answers!
Sometimes we outclever ourselves when searching for solutions. In this case, the quest to find an ectopic ureter (a birth defect where the tube connecting the kidney and bladder misses its mark and allows urine to bypass the bladder causing leakage or incontinence) using dye given intravenously revealed another, more serious problem. The dye collected in the kidneys and was supposed to reveal the path of the ureters, but instead, only one ureter was noted, and a large, ghosty image, like a huge kidney bean floating in the abdomen. The bladder is collecting the dye and thus shows up whitish in the bottom right of the picture.
Turning the dog on it's back confirmed that this was indeed the right kidney which was dilated like a water balloon, most commonly the result of some kind of obstruction of the ureter. The dye, diluted in the urine, gives this misshapen kidney definition on the x-ray. This kidney needed to go!
After a healthy blood profile encouraged us to proceede, the kidney was removed, and could be examined in person. It was spongy and congested and had suffered from pressure necrosis, reducing the amount of functional tissue to a slender rim surrounding the dilated pelvis. Patient is doing great!
And one more time, the urinary tract provides for interesting/gross pictures. Below the x-ray of a little dog with a great big bladder stone and then the "rock" upon successful removal. Even under anesthesia we imagined hearing the sigh of relief as this was extracted!
What if you're not born with eyelids? This defect, seen mostly in cats, is called eyelid coloboma. To repair, we perform a lid splitting technique and graft

skin from nearby to recreate lids. Thiss allows better, more complete blinking and helps prevent the dry eye and corneal disease that not having lids

causes. A bit frankensteinish immediately after surgery.

This patient had a colonic tumour that could be felt with rectal palpation and was resulting in blood in the bowel movement and difficulty/straining to deficate. We were actually able to gently prolapse the terminal colon and rectum so that the tumor was outside the patient. Then, by performing a rectal pull through, we removed a two inch cylendar of colon, stitched the edges back together, and the patient did fantastic!!! We literaly built the kitty a new... well, whatever. Once the sutures were placed in the right picture, everything was gently eased back inside and you would never know.
Before and after pictures of a kinda crazy tumor on the face of this kitty. Made eating a bit challenging. It came off very nicely, and while we don't

believe for a second that we got it all, without removing bone etc..., we provided for comfort and health until we guage how quickly it might come

back. The initial mass was very slow growing so we're hopeful for quite some time before this patient feels the distress of this cancer again.

This is a cast of a dog's stomach, made when the poor soul swallowed a bottle's worth of Gorilla Glue. It expanded, making the dog's

stomach rigid. Sadly, the hyperstretched stomach devitalized due to the trauma of expansion, and despite removing this successfully

our patient didn't ultimately make it. This would be similar in some ways to a dog who bloated through gastric torsion, which is

a very severe condition with ~ %50 survival. At the time, none of us knew what he got into, but this foreign body was dynamic

and cost a mischevious friend his life. It's always amazing at the weird variety of things a dog chooses to ingest which can cause it grief.