Plastic Surgery for Dogs 2

Author: Amy Holloway

Following on from our previous article about Doug the pug’s nose job, we’re continuing to explore the types of specialist plastic surgery procedures that our vets are performing on dogs to improve their quality of life. Today we’re talking facelifts, and how they can greatly improve a dog’s wellbeing.

Breed standards & debilitating features

The typical basset hound ‘look’ with wrinkles on the forehead and droopy skin around the face (this is not Duke)

At some point in our lives, many of us will look in the mirror and start to evaluate our appearance differently. We’ll start to notice a much more furrowed brow, saggier skin, and bigger bags under our eyes. Some of us will see these as flaws and ‘go under the knife to correct them’.

For some dogs, having excessive skin around the face isn’t a result of ageing, it’s down to genetics and in many cases, is exacerbated by selective breeding for specific physical traits such as head shape, prominent eyes, and excessive skins folds to be exaggerated.

Dog breeds that are predisposed to entropion include: the Basset Hound, Boxer, Bull Mastiff, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chow Chow, Cocker Spaniel, English Bulldog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, Poodle, Pug, Shar-Pei, Springer Spaniel, and the Saint Bernard.

The problem with exaggerating some of these breed features is that they can cause a variety of painful and debilitating health problems that give the dog a poor quality of life.

Duke, Basset Hound & Former Model

Basset hounds are ‘supposed’ to look sad and droopy, aren’t they? What’s wrong with a dog looking sad you might ask?

Meet Duke, a basset hound who was earning his dog treats as the ‘face of Hush Puppies’, the popular shoe brand. The excessive skin on Duke’s forehead was so heavy it was pulling his whole facial skin downwards over his eyes. When Duke’s owner brought him in to see us, he was suffering from entropion, where the eyelids fold inwards and push the eyelashes onto the cornea of the eye. This is extremely irritating for the dog, however, if left untreated, causes chronic pain and potential blindness.

Duke needed a facelift to improve his health and his vision

Rod Stroud BVSc MRCVS Director & Vet, performed a facelift on Duke, removing some of the excessive skin on his forehead, and pulling the skin on his face upwards. Duke also underwent a wedge resection on his lower eyelids, removing a section of skin in order to tighten the eyelid, make it less droopy and sit more snug against the eye. This would reduce the risk of future infection and make for a happier and healthier dog.

Vet Barbara Grabczyk BVSc MRCVS, who referred Duke for this treatment and assisted Rod with the surgery, told us of the moment following his operation when Duke saw his owner properly for the first time in a long time. “Duke seemed genuinely astonished that he could see his owner clearly, it must have felt like a huge relief for him.”

When we spoke to Duke’s owner, she told us that her lovable basset hound has since been dropped as the face of Hush Puppies due to the change in his appearance, however, he’s not letting it bother him and seems to be a much happier dog.

If you are interested in this topic please get in touch with our animal care team at Clent Hills Vets.