An abdominal exploratory surgery refers to almost every non-specific surgery of the abdomen. More specific surgeries of the abdomen include spaying (ovariohysterectomy) and cystotomy, the removal of bladder stones. All other abdominal surgeries are defined as exploratory, referring to the fact that every organ in the abdomen is inspected for abnormalities and treated if necessary.
Some ferrets need abdominal exploratory surgery to collect tissue for biopsy, remove a foreign body from the stomach or intestine, remove a tumor, repair a hernia, or evaluate bite wounds to see if organs were penetrated and injured.
Any ferret that has a problem related to an abdominal organ may require exploratory surgery of the abdomen.
Your veterinarian will ask you many questions to develop a complete history of the progression of the problem. These questions will include:
Your veterinarian will also examine your ferret completely, including checking for a fever, listening to his heart and lungs, and palpating (feeling) the abdomen to check for pain, masses, or fluid accumulation. Some other diagnostic tests may include:
After your veterinarian has finished the diagnostic testing, he/she may recommend an abdominal exploratory surgery. This can be for therapeutic reasons to remove a foreign body or tumor or for diagnostic purposes to obtain tissue for biopsy of organs that are suspected to be abnormal.
If your veterinarian was expecting to find a foreign body in the intestines but did not, then the surgery is often termed a "negative exploratory," meaning nothing obviously abnormal was found. However, the disease can be microscopic and not readily apparent, so a biopsy is taken to try to identify the disease.
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