You’ve been told your pet needs a splenectomy, but what is that? Here we’ll overview what a spleen does, and when a spleen needs to be removed.

What does the spleen do?

Let’s start with the basics! The spleen sits right below the stomach and has many functions. One function of the spleen is that it contains red blood cells and can help provide the body with red blood cells when needed. The spleen also cleans the red blood cells that filter through. As damaged and infected red blood cells move through the spleen they are recycled and removed from circulation.

When does the spleen need to be removed?

One reason spleens need to be removed is because of splenic masses. Splenic masses can either be benign or malignant, but in most cases can cause bleeding from the spleen. A traumatic rupture is another instance in which the spleen needs to be removed. Because there are many red blood cells stored in the spleen, a rupture can be a life-threatening scenario.

What to look for?

There are a few warning signs and symptoms that may indicate a splenic problem.

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Swollen Abdomen

Removal of the spleen

When the spleen starts bleeding (either due to a rupture, or a mass) the spleen needs to be removed quickly. The good news is that your pet can survive and thrive without their spleen. When the spleen is removed other organs will pick up the slack, and clean out the damaged or infected red blood cells.

If you’ve been told your pet needs a splenectomy, don’t wait; take a deep breath, and call our office to schedule your pet’s surgery.

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