Your pet is a cherished member of your family, and when it comes to their health, you want nothing but the best. Seeking the right veterinarian for your pet’s surgical needs can make a world of difference on their road to recovery. Choosing a certified specialist for certain procedures ensures your pet gets the highest quality of care. So, how do you go about finding the right vet for your pet’s surgery?

The Role of Veterinary Surgeons in Pet Surgical Procedures

When visiting a general veterinarian, you can expect them to handle routine checkups, basic treatments, and diagnostics. However, some surgical procedures require expertise beyond that of a generalist. This is where board-certified veterinary surgeons come in. These highly trained professionals have undergone extensive education, training, and certification processes to specialize in specific surgeries and treatment methods. Choosing a certified surgeon for certain pet surgeries provides many benefits, such as access to specialized equipment, expertise in handling complex cases, and a higher success rate.

Common Pet Surgical Procedures Requiring a Certified Specialist

While there are numerous surgical procedures a general veterinarian can safely perform, some procedures are best left to a certified specialist. Let’s take a closer look at some of these surgeries.

  • ACL Repair: Cruciate ligament surgery in a dog’s knee, also known as ACL repair, is a common procedure that requires expertise. Due to the frequency of this surgery, many experienced veterinary surgeons are well-versed in performing ACL repairs, helping reduce the risk of complications and ensuring a successful outcome.
  • Fractures and Dislocations: Treating fractures and dislocations is best performed by a certified veterinary surgeon, particularly those with expertise in orthopedic surgery. These surgeons have access to specialized equipment and techniques, which can lead to better results.
  • Stomach Surgery: Exploratory stomach surgery typically requires open access to the belly and is considered non-routine. A certified surgeon can identify and address any issues within the abdomen.
  • Cancer Surgery: Cancer treatment in animals often involves surgery, and dealing with cancerous growths requires specialized care from an expert. While some procedures may entail abdominal entry, cancer surgery is distinct due to the precise removal of tumors and aggressive growths.
  • Spinal Surgery: Treating spinal issues in pets can require the expertise of a neurologist or a board-certified surgeon with experience in spinal surgery. These professionals can help alleviate your pet’s pain and restore their mobility.
  • Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO): FHO is a salvage surgery performed to address hip dysplasia or trauma-related problems in pets. This procedure requires a skilled surgeon, ensuring the hip joint is treated effectively.
  • Knee Cap Dislocations (MPL): Medial patellar luxation, or MPL, is a common issue in small breed dogs that often goes unaddressed. A skilled surgeon can correct this problem, preventing future discomfort and mobility issues.
  • Ear Surgery (Total Ear Canal Ablation): Ear surgery, specifically total ear canal ablation, is another salvage procedure performed by certified surgeons. This surgery is necessary to remove the entire ear canal when chronic infections become unbearable for your pet.
  • Perineal Urethrostomy (PU) in Cats: The PU procedure for cats is complex and typically requires the skills of a board-certified surgeon. While some experienced general veterinarians may attempt this operation, it is generally best left to specialists.
  • Laryngeal Paralysis: As large dogs age, they may develop difficulty breathing due to laryngeal paralysis. A skilled surgeon can help by ensuring the airways remain open.
  • Amputation: Sometimes, pet owners cannot afford the fees associated with saving a severely injured limb. In these cases, amputation may be the only option. A certified specialist can provide the best outcome and, in some cases, may even offer to perform the surgery for free, ultimately saving the pet’s life.

Pet Surgical Procedures

At clinics like, veterinary surgeons are equipped to handle various complex surgical procedures. This ensures that your pet receives the necessary care and treatment in the most professional and effective manner.

Pet Vaccination

A crucial aspect of pet healthcare is ensuring they receive the proper pet vaccinations. Regular vaccination appointments help protect your pet from preventable diseases and maintain their overall health.

Veterinary Internists

In addition to surgical specialists, there are other areas of veterinary expertise, such as internal medicine. Veterinary internists diagnose and treat complex medical conditions, working in conjunction with general vets to provide comprehensive care for your pet. If you want to know more, click on the link for more information.

How to Choose the Right Vet for Your Pet’s Surgical Needs

Choosing the right veterinarian for your pet’s surgery involves several factors: 

  • Research and ask for recommendations from friends, family, and trusted online resources.
  • Verify the credentials and experience of potential veterinarians, particularly regarding pertinent surgical procedures. 
  • Consider the veterinary practice’s facilities and equipment to ensure they have the appropriate resources for your pet’s needs.
  • Assess the communication and empathy demonstrated by the veterinarian and their staff. 
  • Evaluate the overall cost and value of your pet’s surgery, keeping in mind that sometimes higher fees may be worth the specialized care.

The Importance of Preventative Care and Early Intervention

Choosing the right vet for your pet’s surgical procedure is essential, but it’s also crucial to prioritize preventative care and early intervention. Ensure your pet undergoes regular check-ups, and be vigilant for any signs of discomfort or illness. Maintain a strong relationship with your vet to ensure the best possible care for your beloved pet.


When it comes to your pet’s health and well-being, choosing the right veterinarian for their surgical needs is paramount. Understanding which procedures require the expertise of a certified specialist can help inform your decision-making and ensure your pet receives the best possible care. Remember that the role of pet owners extends beyond just this surgery—they are pivotal in maintaining their pet’s overall health and well-being through preventative care, early intervention, and working hand-in-hand with the vet.