MSU vet weighs in on proper surgery procedures

Posted at 7:19 AM, Sep 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-26 08:41:41-04

Last week we brought you a story about a Chihuahua named Max who died just hours after he had back-to-back surgery at Comprehensive Animal Hospital in Lansing.


We've received hundreds of emails and comments on our Facebook page about Dr. Bola Agbona from Comprehensive Animal Hospital. Many people commented in support of him, but others shared their own tragic stories about their beloved pets.

Monday we spoke with an expert on whether or not Max's procedure was handled properly. Max's owner Loretta Knight said he did not receive any type of physical or testing done before the two surgeries.

Knight says she called the doctors office and the office manager said, since Max was young and his previous visitation paperwork didn't raise any red flags, they didn't feel any physical was need. They went ahead with the surgery. "I Felt like I let him down, I should've done research," said Loretta Knight, Max's owner

Dr. Bryden Stanley, chief of surgery at MSU Veternary Medical Center says certain tests should always be done before a surgery. "Before the first surgery we typically do some blood work, if it's a young animal we probably wouldn't do a full panel of blood work, but we do a full physical examination."

Knight said the neuter was done before the hernia which, according to Dr. Stanley, isn't standard. "There is a specific order that you typically do these procedures in, you do the umbilical hernia first and then you'd do the castration. You always do the most sterile surgery first and then go to the least sterile surgery last," Dr. Stanley said

Dr. Stanley also noted that while a doctor can do both surgeries at the same time, it should be under the same anesthetic episode. However, in Max's case, he woke up after his neuter and was put under a second time.

"Did the neuter, but said there was miscommunication, and he didn't know that he was supposed to do the hernia as well," says Knight. The office manager confirms papers were lost which led the doctor to believe Max was finished.

Dr. Stanley says it could be a number of things that lead to Max's death. "Maybe there was a heart defect that wasn't picked up, maybe another reason could be is the animals temperature was extremely low and maybe it wasn't oxygenating well after the first surgery, or his glucose was very low."

We dug into Dr. Agbona's records, and discovered that he is on probation for the fifth time in nearly ten years. He's faced three fines, and two license suspensions. According to state records he is still on probation.

There are risks with every procedure, and just like human doctors it's important to do some research on your pet's doctor.