Pet plastic surgery a growing trend

Photo by Rebecca McDevitt

Nine-month-old Winnie follows her nose everywhere. However, a month ago, the Boston terrier could barely breathe through her nostrils. But after Winnie had a "nose job" to widen the openings, a whole new world of scents opened up for her.

“It was like someone turned on the lights,” explained Kim Oshirak, Winnie’s owner. “She started snuffing around all the corners of the house.”

Dr. Anke Langenbach, Chief Surgeon at Veterinary Surgical Centers, says plastic surgery for dogs is actually quite common.

“Hardly ever a day that I don't perform a procedure that is in one form or another a plastic surgery procedure,” said Dr. Langenbach.

Dr. Langenbach is talking about procedures like eyebrow lifts, wrinkle reduction, even reconstructive work after removing cancerous tumors. And while plastic surgery in people is generally done for cosmetic reasons, in pets it's primarily done to improve their overall quality of life.

One-year-old Georgia's right eyelid used to turns in, causing her lashes to rub against her cornea. Her owner said Georgia would wake up with her eye virtually closed. So Dr. Jennifer Hyman, a veterinary opthalmologist with "Eye Care for Animals" essentially gave her an "eyelift", or a skin-tuck procedure.

A month later, Georgia's eye, and her comfort level, are much better.

“She's so much happier,” said Joni Morgan, Georgia’s owner. “Before, tears streaming down her eye continually and now she's fine.”

Most canine plastic surgery procedures are medically necessary. They can cost thousands of dollars. But unlike with human cosmetic surgeries, these procedures are typically covered by pet health insurance.

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