Splenic disorders are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in middle-aged and older dogs, and a spectrum of presentations is possible, from chronic non-specific clinical signs to a rapidly fatal haemoabdomen. Splenomegaly is commonly recognised during clinical examination or imaging in practice, but it can be difficult to decide whether the primary problem is within the spleen itself (eg, a focal mass, in which case a splenectomy is generally the treatment of choice) or whether the splenomegaly represents systemic disease (eg, a lymphoma or immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia, in which case a biopsy may be useful but a splenectomy may be contraindicated). Splenic surgery requires an appreciation of the vascular anatomy, and adequate monitoring as well as supportive treatment may be critical to the outcome of surgery. This article discusses the anatomy of the spleen and how to investigate splenomegaly, as well as how to perform a (partial) splenectomy and the possible complications involved.
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