This month’s newsletter will be fairly short, and it will utilize our new newsletter format. We hope you enjoy it!
The spleen… The obscure organ that everyone has heard of, and most everyone has, but what does it do?
The spleen is a useful organ, but it’s also one of the few organs not vital for life. It has three main functions:
1.) Production and storage of red blood cells. The spleen is the largest producer of red blood cells outside of the bone marrow. It can also contract itself to release a large amount of blood into circulation, such as in response to sudden blood loss due to trauma.
2.) Removal of old or abnormal red blood cells from circulation. This helps ensure that only healthy red blood cells remain in circulation.
3.) Removal of old cells, bacteria, and foreign proteins from circulation. This helps the immune system protect the body from disease.
In cats, the spleen is located on the left side of the body, up near the stomach. It is a “mobile” organ and can move around a bit in the abdomen; it is not anchored in one spot like the liver or kidneys. It is covered by a tough capsule of fibrous tissue. The normal spleen is dark red and fairly flat; it is also considerably longer than it is wide and slightly constricted in the middle.
Since its functions are largely made redundant by other major organs in the body, the spleen is not considered a critical organ. Of course, injury to a spleen must be treated; however, the removal of the spleen won’t often lead to dire health consequences. For better or worse, the spleen is “expendable.” Poor spleen!
That’s it for this month. As always, if you have any questions, give us a call! And, from all of us at Cats On Broadway Veterinary Hospital, we wish everybody and everykitty a safe and happy Thanksgiving! =^_^=