Dobermans are one of several breeds that undergo a surgical procedure that allows their normally flopped ears to stand erect. This procedure is known as cropping and is illegal in some countries. Ear cropping is an elective procedure and one of the few surgical procedures performed on a dog that is strictly cosmetic. In order to have the greatest chance of success, ear cropping must occur before the Doberman reaches 9 weeks of age and the owner must be willing to commit to several weeks of after-surgery care in order to prevent infection and train the ears to stand.
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Things you need
- Ear pattern
- Anesthestic drugs
- Nylong sutures
- Bandaging materials
Submit the puppy for a physical examination and pre-surgery blood work. Puppies undergoing ear cropping surgery must undergo a complete physical evaluation to ensure that he or she is fit enough to undergo surgery. A veterinarian will perform a head-to-toe physical examination, as well as conduct a few routine screening tests. Some of these tests include a fecal examination for parasites, a urinalysis for the presence of an infection or diabetes, and a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry panel to detect any metabolic abnormalities. After the dog is given a clean bill of health, the surgery can be scheduled.
Administer anaesthesia. Because Dobermans are a large breed dog and the ear cropping surgery takes quite a bit of time, the anaesthesia of choice for most veterinarians is delivered via inhalant gas. In order to anaesthetise the dog, a preoperative intramuscular injection containing a combination of a tranquilliser such as acepromazine and atropine to combat cardiac depression is given approximately 15-20 minutes before surgery. A second, intravenous injection of a quick, short acting anesthetic is given that renders the dog completely unconscious, allowing for the introduction of a plastic tube into the puppy's trachea. This tube protects the airway and delivers a mixture of oxygen and anesthetic gas to the puppy for the duration of the surgery.
Prepare the area for surgery. After the dog is under anaesthesia, shave the ear flaps with electric clippers. The clippers should be equipped with a number 40 blade and swabbed/rinsed with an iodine solution three times to kill any pathogens that may infect the incision sites.
Reshape the ear flap. An ear cropping tool known as a pattern is clamped to the ear flap itself, which gives the surgeon a defined line to guide his scalpel when creating the new ear flap shape. The surgeon excises, or cuts away, any extraneous ear flap by cutting to the inside of the pattern.
Suture the wound. After the excision has occurred, the pattern is removed from the newly reshaped ear flap and the surgeon closes the skin over the new edge of the ear with non-dissolvable nylon sutures.
Bandage the ears. After the surgery is complete, the dog's ears are bandaged flat on top of his head to reduce the chances of bleeding. This bandage will be removed after 24 hours as the dog's ears will then be ready to brace.
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