Soft-Tissue & Orthopedic Surgery

We provide general medicine for our patients, ranging from simple to more advanced procedures and techniques. We also provide advanced canine and feline surgery options, so your pet can get the care they need, right here, in our hospital.

At Hunt Valley Animal Hospital, we have a fully-equipped pet surgery center with an experienced veterinary surgical team. We are also one of the few animal hospitals in the United States that offers such technologically advanced, minimally-invasive laparoscopic animal surgery techniques. In fact, the equipment we use is the same type used at human hospitals. Our equipment and skills make it possible for us to do the same surgeries with tiny incisions that are typically done with long incisions. We can accomplish surgery with less pain, more precision, and shorter healing times. That means your pet can feel better faster.

Types of Surgeries Performed at Hunt Valley

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Many pet breeds are known for, and even prized for, their flat-nosed or short-nosed appearance. While this characteristic is especially prevalent among many smaller breeds such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, Shih Tzus and Pekinese, it also is recognized in Boston Terriers, English Bulldogs, Boxers and even Mastiffs. Unfortunately, the cosmetic appeal of this feature is outweighed, from a veterinary standpoint, by the limits it places on a pet’s ability to breathe. The combination of reduced nasal capacity and laryngal obstruction from an enlarged or elongated soft palate can cause wellness problems such as snoring, loud breathing, gagging and oxygen deprivation. Fortunately, at Hunt Valley Animal Hospital we can correct this issue, known as brachycephalic syndrome, with soft palate surgery.

There are three different surgical procedures that can help brachycephalic pets breathe normally, depending on which physical issues contribute to the airway obstruction. One procedure involves correcting nostrils that collapse inward to impede breathing, while another removes excess tissue in front of the vocal cords. However, the most significant procedure, soft palate surgery, is the shortening of an elongated soft palate. This excess palate tissue actually extends into the airway, making inhalation especially difficult. Animals with elongated soft palates breathe heavily, gag when they try to swallow, and may have blueish gum tissue from lack of blood oxygenation.

Because brachycephalic syndrome can seriously impair an animal’s wellness, veterinarians typically recommend a surgical procedure in which the soft palate is cut laterally, the excess tissue is amputated, and the remaining palate edges are fused together. The patient is held for observation for a few hours in a private recovery room with his/her owner. Many brachycephalic animals experience immediate and significant improvement in their breathing and overall wellness thanks to this specialty procedure.

Breeds affected with elongated soft palates:

  • Pug
  • English Bulldog
  • French Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • Pekingese
  • Boxer
  • Mastiff
  • Bullmastiff

Advanced Treatment Methods
Our doctors use advanced techniques and technologies when performing soft palate surgery. To ensure that patients suffer less pain, bleeding and recovery time, we employ the LigaSure Tissue Fusion Device. This sophisticated cautery surgical tool works even more quickly and effectively than other laser surgery technologies to seal blood vessels securely and permanently in a matter of seconds. The unit is equipped to respond to feedback, so it stops the flow of energy to the tissues the instant the seal is completed.

Our surgical team has developed a high degree of skill with the LigaSure unit. By using this technology, we can resect an elongated soft palate with minimal blood loss or injury to surrounding tissues — and with no need for sutures.

We encourage pet owners with animals who suffer from brachycephalic syndrome to contact our Hunt Valley veterinary office for a consultation. We will be happy to examine the animal’s airways, nasal structure and breathing efficiency to determine whether elongated soft palate surgery can help. For our out of town patients, our front house team is happy to provide pet friendly lodging options within a short distance of our hospital.

Is your pet in need of surgery?


Procedures done on dogs and cats are challenging for a variety of reasons, one being that they often don’t want to be still while doctors and staff are trying to help them. There is also a level of stress that comes from being in an unfamiliar environment. Because of this, the use of anesthesia is a beneficial way to give pets the care they need.

The use of anesthesia is safe, and we are expertly trained in administering it and caring for patients that are under. We take all necessary pre-anesthetic precautions and your pet will be closely monitored throughout their experience with us by our team of experts. If you have any concerns about anesthesia for your pet, please call us today at (410) 527-0800. We would be happy to speak with you and assuage any fears you may have.

Pain Management

Pain is a terrible thing. Hunt Valley Animal Hospital wants to alleviate as much pain and discomfort in our patients as possible. In an effort to bring you the highest quality care, we are dedicated to providing top notch pain management.

When our pets are in pain, so are we. It’s an awful feeling to know that your special friend is hurting, especially when there isn’t anything you can do to help them. It is our goal to eliminate as much pain as possible to give these pets a better quality of life.

We also anticipate and plan for procedures with the potential for any possible future pain. We work with pet owners to educate them on how to recognize signs of pain in your pet.

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