Plastic surgery in the land of the beautiful... but this time it's for pets
Somehow, everyone here’s got a favorite plastic surgeon. An opinion on the subject is as widespread as any on the weather at the height of hurricane season. We love our implants, tucks and lasers, alike. Welcome to Miami!
But never assume that women are the only combatants in the war against the bulge and other beauty-defacing features—men, teens, everyone…and now, even our pets are going under the knife.
I’ve written about this before but was inspired to reprise my post when a new client came a-knocking, hoping I’d agree to install implants in her Dobie’s flopping, cropped ears. I had learned this trick when I worked for a popular ear-man way back when I was in no position to refuse work—and somehow this woman had heard I’d worked for him.
Problem 1: Why wasn’t she visiting him? (I assume she’s already been there and he’d either refused or some other issue kept her away—not a good sign either way.)
Problem 2: This Dobie was a show-quality girl. No doubt about it. I see a lot of high-quality dobies and this one was remarkable for her feminine lines and her overall style. If not for her ears, she’d be a winner. I was having no part of the show-dog pass-‘em-off-as natural thing (not that any dog with an ear crop can be considered natural).
(not the bitch in question but a perfect example, nonetheless)
Problem 3: This woman had a typical I-know-more-than-you-I’ve-been-in-dogs-all-my-life attitude. I’m sure she knows a lot more than I do with respect to her dogs but she and I have an entirely different skill set and knowledge base. It’s hard to tame a client who doesn’t quite understand that fine distinction. (And if she knows so much why is she in a vet hospital, anyway?)
Problem 4: Ear implants are notoriously fickle. I had a 50/50 success rate back when I did them. Now? I don’t know my implants from my…(fill in the blank). No way.
Problem 5 (the most important to the point of this post): Most cosmetic surgeries are a nightmare. If you don’t get it just the way they expected it, regardless of how good it looks, you’re in for a world of hurt. No thanks. (I don’t know how human surgeons in plastics do it—but the ones I know are devastatingly charming so perhaps that’s a clue.)
I’ll do testicular implants any day (aka, Neuticles). (They actually serve a purpose—making neutering palatable to those for whom male cosmesis is a big deal.)
(Here's a Neuticle)
I’ll remove unsightly lipomas (benign fatty tumors), unless they’re large and in areas where drains might be necessary—the boarded surgeon can handle those. Many vets, by the way, remove these as a matter of course. I usually don’t because the healing process can be horrible with the deep ones. And the vast majority are benign and simply unsightly. But, truth is, you never know until you take it off and test it. (A fine needle aspirate once a year may not be enough to ascertain its true nature.)
(A lipoma I won't do.)
(A lipoma I will.)
I’ll sometimes engage in a practice I call “wart whack-a-mole” (take off twelve one day only to find twelve more by month’s end), especially when said warts are bleeding and infection-prone. After all, you never know which of these will [rarely] take a turn for the malignant.
I’ll do eye tacks and canthoplasties. (These procedure make droopy eyes tighter, less susceptible to infection and bulging eyes less likely to pop out of place, respectively. Sure, they make the dog look better, but they actually serve a medical purpose, too.)
(The result of a perfect medial canthoplasty on a Shih-tzu.)
One of my in-house colleagues, a dentistry devotee, will restore canine crowns after root canals. We even go for orthodonture—although we farm that out to the boarded dentist—because straight teeth mean less periodiontal disease, as any self-respecting American teen will tell you.
I’ll even do reconstructions, within reason. (It’s understandable to want your pet the way he was before his ear was torn off, though I surely wouldn’t want to stress out my own pet with the extra anesthesia, cutting and bandaging.)
But those wanting that ugly little scar wiped clean (just because), a stray’s tail lopped off (so he looks like a proper, fearsome Rottie), or nipple tucks (“she looks so floppy after nursing her litter, Doctor”)? They’ll get talked out of it—or they’ll have to go elsewhere.
Sure, I was born and bred in this briar patch we call South Florida but that doesn’t mean I’ve ever truly assimilated. A little nip and tuck for me? No way! But give me twenty years and maybe I’ll be singing a different tune.