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Ear Cropping

Over 40 years and >7,000 procedures, Dr. Leggett has developed a technique with emphasis on cosmetic appearance, symmetry, esthetic of the breed standard, and superior pain control. Dr. Lapova has learned Dr. Leggett’s technique under his 2 year direct instruction. She’s been working independently since Dr. Leggett’s retirement in 2014. Please note that cosmetic surgery is not a subject in current veterinary school curriculum, and apprenticeship under an experienced surgeon is the best way to learn the art of ear cropping. Our expertise extends to Doberman, Great Dane, Boxer, Schnauzer, bully breeds, Cane Corso, Miniature Pinscher, etc. Our Client base spans all regions of the United States, and even Canada and Europe. From family pets to working dogs and movie stars, we can help you achieve the look you want for your dog.

During consultation with Dr. Lapova, we can discuss your preference and suitable style for the individual dog. Please bring images, or feel free to chose a style Doctor recommends for your dog after she thoroughly evaluates the shape of head/body and cartilage quality. Note that crops typically follow breed standard and purpose of the dog (show, pet, etc.). They are designed to compliment your dog, and we will only perform a “custom crop” if we think it will be a good fit for the dog. Thorough evaluation, physical exam, current preventive care assessment (please bring records if you have them), and post-operative care discussion will take place at consult time. Due to our commitment and advocacy for the bully breeds, we do not perform excessively short “battle” crops. We can also evaluate your Pet for a corrective/reconstructive procedure (usually a result of a bad previous crop or non-standing even if a crop was excellent) – although not all can be successfully corrected. **While we currently crop albino and melanistic Dobermans, we in no way encourage breeding or purchasing these colors. Albino skin can be extremely sensitive. Dr. Lapova reserves the right to decline any case based on her judgement.** Ear crops are like a hair cut – exact same shape may look differently on each dog. We highly recommend thorough pre-operative blood screening, including coagulation. Modern anesthesia is very safe, but no anesthetic procedure is without a risk. Pain control includes injections before and after surgery, nerve blocks, oral pain and anti-inflammatory medications, and therapeutic laser. Keep in mind that weight limits apply to larger breeds, and we prefer them to be at 15-20 lb, no more that 25-30 lb unless this is a reconstruction. Weight and age limits apply to smaller breeds.

Surgery is the initial step, and post-operative care period is crucial. Several follow up visits will be required for suture and rack removal, ear tapings, assessment of cartilage and skin healing, potential adjustments in medications and dosing, etc. Ear crops come with homework, so prepare to dedicate yourself to observation and follow up! **It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to follow up with weekly rechecks and tapings with our Hospital; failure to do so may result in sub-optimal cosmetic appearance.** The length of follow-up time is highly variable and depends on the breed, individual genetics, style and length of crop, and your diligence at home. If you don’t think you can commit to the post-operative management, ear crop may not be a right choice. Keep in mind that results can not be guaranteed, and some ears won’t stand for genetic reasons – average rate of non-standing is 10% but it may be higher for each individual dog. This is not predictable. Ear crop is also a financial commitment; please budget for the surgery and aftercare along with all the preventive care that will be taking place concurrently. We do our best to provide you with an estimate prior to surgery, if you haven’t got one, please ask! All Pets are required to be current on vaccinations and free of internal and external parasites; we accept records from your referring Veterinarian.

As with any cosmetic surgery, the saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more true. Many veterinarians crop ears – VERY FEW CROP THEM WELL. Keep in mind that some high priced hospitals don’t deliver optimal results, but you will almost never get a quality surgery and anesthesia cheap. We are confident in the quality of our work, and have a portfolio to prove it. When choosing a Veterinarian to alter the appearance of your dog for the rest of his/her life, it’s wise to ask to see their previous work and compare it to the work of others. Inquire into quality of anesthesia and analgesia, commitment to post-op care; make a visual assessment of the symmetry, beauty flow with the head/neck/body, blending with the head, quality of healing and scar tissue, etc. This is not a choice that should be based on cost alone. This investment is for the life of the dog. Below is our portfolio. Enjoy the pictures of these beautiful dogs – most done by Dr. Lapova and older images by Dr. Leggett. Please note that due to so many of our Patients coming long distance, we have images of only a fraction. We love to see the pictures as they grow up, so please email them!

Click here to read the blog by our surgeon, Dr. Yelena Lapova