This weekend I scrubbed in on an emergency surgery. The dog had some areas on the spleen that ultrasound showed did not have blood flow. We were going to do an abdominal exploratory to most likely remove the spleen. I was excited for the learning opportunity, as splenectomies are something that a general practitioner should be able to do, and I had never seen one before.
Well when we opened up the abdomen, the spleen was definitely in trouble. There were multiple areas of what grossly looked like necrosis. I then learned how a spleen is removed and got to help! We proceeded to go about our exploratory and found healthy kidneys, bladder, pancreas, intestines, and stomach. The liver looked good but the gallbladder looked bruised and distended. Gentle pressure was put on the gallbladder and it did not nicely express as expected. We were concerned that there was an obstruction in the gallbladder, so we also decided to remove it. What started as an abdominal exploratory, became a splenectomy and gallbladder removal. Luckily for this little dog, she did not need her spleen and gallbladder, especially because they were both doing more harm than good. We later cut the gallbladder open and were very glad we had taken it out because it was filled with thick, gritty sludge. I got the amazing learning opportunity to see the surgery and get lots of hands-on experience with just a couple days left in my fourth year.