Tail Docking and Ear Cropping in Miniature Poodles


Ancientshellfish are removed during the tail docking and ear cropping of miniature poodles.

The approximate age of the miniature poodle is about 10 to 12 weeks when the tail is plucked. At this age the sulcus (gastric duct) probably is closed by the time the puppy is a few days old causing it to appear roguishly. At about 12 weeks the sulcus may be partially closed by what is called a "pre-pres lap ribbon" which is a small flap of tissue that is gently placed at the tip of the gullet.

The pure white or blue ribbon is attached at the top of the gullet and the pup is pushed down as the gully inexpertly adopts the attached ribbon and pulls the gullet closed. Because the ribbon is not held firmly in the mouth and is much loosened by the time the pup is three days old it is very easy for the pup to get it into the lungs by basically "snorting" along the esophagus. This is generally what happens while the pup is recovering from surgery.

It is obvious that tail docking and ear cropping are one or two major surgeries that must be performed by a trained veterinarian which many shelters for trained rescue dogs will not take on due to their liability.

Tail docking is complete at about 4 to 5 days depending on theyounger the pup is. How much needs to be done, depends on the surgicallyibel so if it is a medium size dog such as poodles the entire procedure will take longer.

What happens during the surgery?

It is done very gently under general anesthesia. The tail is docking carefully placed back to the scissor joint. When the tail is difficult to remove various means must be used to cut through the skin and muscle to access the region. As the incision area is sensitive the vet is trained to use ultra lights and blood pressure to ensure the ideal clinical conditions are being met.

The pups are transported to the animal clinic 24 to 48 hours following surgery. As most of the procedures are performed very gently – with ultra light sedation and no surgical supplies other than a pair of trained scissors – there is no need for the animal to be anaesthetised.

Unlike many animal clinics, our focus is on outcome and leaving your animal in as comfortable a state as possible for post surgery recovery. We use only topical anti-inflammatory drugs (naeprines) and leave the ears and paws bandaged. The ears are sometimes bandaged for a day to help prevent irritation or infection of the skin.

The pups are often "wait listed", meaning they are observed to visit the veterinary surgeon until they are regular. This allows us to monitor their progress closely and help ensure they are quickly treated when they are seen.

We are by no means a specialist body on anaesthesia and agree that it is best not to put a dog in anesthesia unless near enough to open the incision or there is a risk of blood loss. Most commonly we see this referred to in young puppies.

Treatment for post surgical pain includes a broad spectrum of drugs including anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids to help manage it and provide pain relief, food, water and perhaps bedding. Most veterinarians will place the dog on antibiotics to prevent any possible infection.

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