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Orthopedic Surgery for Dogs

Has your dog experienced an injury to one of the joints or ligaments in their leg? Here, our Cumming vets talk about the purpose of orthopedic surgery for dogs, when it might be needed, the different types of procedures and what you can expect during recovery.

What is orthopedic surgery?

Orthopedic surgery in dogs is the most effective procedure for repairing a damaged bone or joint and restoring the patient's health. It necessitates a lengthy period of recovery and rehabilitation, and the cost of surgery can be expensive.

A dog who has broken or fractured a bone as a result of trauma or a congenital condition affecting the joint may require orthopedic surgery.

What is the orthopedic surgery procedure like?

The use of surgical procedures to restore a canine limb to normal or near-normal function is referred to as orthopedic surgery. In most cases, bone plates, pins or screws, nylon, casts, or an artificial joint are used. In good health, dogs are excellent candidates for orthopedic procedures such as bone and joint correction surgery. A successful surgery necessitates pre-operative blood work and an overall canine analysis.

If your dog needs orthopedic surgery your vet will recommend one of the following types:

TPLO: The TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery has become one of the most commonly performed orthopedic surgeries on dogs who have torn their cranial cruciate ligament, also known as the dog ACL.

MPL: The medial patellar luxation (MPL) surgery corrects the luxation, or 'popping out' of the kneecap (called the patella). A luxating patella is caused by a congenital malformation that causes abnormal forces on the kneecap, causing it to slide out of its normal groove (called the patellar groove).

FHO: A femoral head osteotomy, or FHO, is the surgical removal of the femoral head and neck. In layman's terms, it is the removal of the "ball" portion of the ball-and-socket joint that comprises the hip joint.

THR: A total hip replacement (THR) is a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of the diseased cartilage and bone of the hip joint. These are then replaced with a prosthesis or 'artificial joint'.

Lateral Suture: Essentially the concept for the surgery is very simple. To stabilize the knee on the outside of the joint by using a single fiber plastic line called a mono-filament. This very strong suture or line outside of the joint re-establishes the stability the joint needs when the ACL is torn.

TTA: A tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) is a surgical procedure used to repair a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Unlike other procedures, the goal of this surgery is not to recreate or repair the ligament, but rather to change the dynamics of the knee so that the cranial cruciate ligament is no longer required for joint stability.

Cruciate: Cruciate surgery is used to repair a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in the stifle (knee), which functions similarly to the ACL in humans. CCL surgery is the most common orthopedic surgery performed in dogs.

How effective is orthopedic surgery for dogs?

Orthopedic surgery is the most effective type of surgery for restoring a canine's normal state after a bone injury or joint condition. It can be used with or without supplementary treatments, and pain management techniques.

Recovery After Orthopedic Surgery

Following orthopedic surgery, there is a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation period, with exercise restrictions lasting at least two weeks. Following the first two weeks, the dog's activity will be limited to four months. Your vet may recommend physical therapy to get your dog moving comfortably again.

How to Protect Your Dog's Joints & Ligaments

Many causes of bone surgery are related to unexpected injury or hereditary joint conditions, so preventing the need for orthopedic surgery is important for pet owners.

Basic canine safety precautions, such as providing a fenced-in yard and using a leash outside the home, are critical to avoiding fractures or bone breaks. The only way to prevent hereditary or congenital causes is to halt all reproductive practices in canines known to be affected by the condition(s). Dogs with hereditary joint complications, such as hip or elbow dysplasia, benefit most from spaying and neutering.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of pain or an orthopedic-related injury? Contact our Cumming vets today to book an appointment.

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Crestview Animal Hospital is always welcoming new patients! Our Cumming vets provide veterinary services designed to promote good health and longevity. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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