Unfortunate Trend Alert: Plastic Surgery for Pets (and Their Owners' Egos)

More pets are going under the knife. But whose vanity is really at stake?

Image courtesy of Trunk Archive

As far as most dogs are concerned, a good butthole is far more alluring than a set of perky ears and a perfectly de-wrinkled mug. But a growing breed of pet owners are sending their dogs to the vet not for the typical grooming package, but for ear implants, braces, and tummy tucks.

According to health insurer PetPlan, American dog owners spent $62 million on plastic surgery in 2011. While insurers don't cover the procedure for vanity's sake, and many vets refuse to perform them at all (not to mention that both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Humane Society of the United State warn against them), more and more pet owners are shelling out thousands of dollars for vets such as São Paulo's Dr. Edgard Brito, the world's preeminent plastic surgeon for pets.

Brito offers ear implants, eyebrow replacement procedures, Botox, face lifts, and even testicle-shaped silicone sacks meant to make neutered dogs—or perhaps their owners—feel manlier. The aptly named Neuticles come in various sizes, shapes, and textures and have graced the once-empty ball sacks of pets including Rocky Kardashian.

"If you're relating to a dog in a way that you think it needs plastic surgery so it looks like it has testicles, you've got a real problem," says Darlene Arden, a clinical member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. "Sometimes, when I suggest to men that they have their dogs neutered, you'd think I suggested we remove their balls."

However, some of these surgeries are more than skin deep. Case in point: Obie, a formerly obese dachshund, recently had 2.5 pounds of skin removed after he shed 40 pounds—the weight of about two healthy dogs. What's more, entropion, a condition in which saggy skin turns eyelids inward, causing eye lashes to scratch the eye, is increasingly common in birth-defect-prone pure breeds such as Shar-Peis, retrievers, chow chows, bloodhounds—even the occasional Persian cat. For the condition, a nip and tuck is the only real remedy.

But going under the knife for a smoother nether region? That's where we draw the line. We've never met a hairy dog that couldn't work around what nature game him to lick his own junk.

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