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Orthopedic Surgery in Dogs

Orthopedic Surgery in Dogs

Has your vet recommended orthopedic surgery to correct or treat and injury or malformation of tissues in the limbs of your dog? Today, our St. Louis vets talk about what to expect with orthopedic surgery for dogs, the different types and how you can help prevent the need for surgical procedures.

Orthopedic Surgery For Dogs

Orthopedic surgery is the most effective procedure for repairing a damaged bone or joint and restoring the patient's health. The recovery process after orthopedic surgery in dogs can be long and requires rehabilitative therapies.

The conditions that can be treated using orthopedic surgery are usually caused by injury or genetic deformities. The dog will be referred to a veterinary specialist who is trained and equipped with the necessary tools.

What is the orthopedic surgery procedure like?

If your dog has been diagnosed with an injury or condition affecting their limb or the attached tissues then you may wonder what to expect when your dog has orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic surgery is the use of surgical procedures to restore a canine limb to normal or near-normal function. Bone plates, pins or screws, nylon, casts, or an artificial joint are normally used. Orthopedic surgery is only recommended for healthy dogs that don't have any underlying conditions that may prevent the success of the surgery. Pre-operative blood work and an overall canine analysis are required for a successful surgery.

Some of the most commonly performed types of orthopedic surgery in dogs include:

TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy): TPLO 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 (Medial Patellar Luxation): MPL is used to correct 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 (Femoral Head Osteotomy): This 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 (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: This is used 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 (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement): This surgical procedure is 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 Surgery: Helps 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, accounting for approximately 85% of all orthopedic surgeries performed each year.

How effective are orthopedic surgeries?

Orthopedic surgery for dogs is the most effective method of treating specific conditions affecting the bones, joints, tendons or ligaments. Your vet can share more information on the efficacy of the specific orthopedic surgery that is planned for your dog.

What is recovery from orthopedic surgery like?

Orthopedic surgery necessitates a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation period, with exercise restrictions lasting at least two weeks. After the first two weeks, the dog's activity will be restricted for four months, and rehabilitative therapy including physical therapy may be recommended.

What can I do to prevent my dog from needing orthopedic surgery?

Many causes of bone surgery are related to unexpected injury or hereditary joint conditions, which makes preventive care crucial for avoiding surgery.

To avoid fractures or bone breaks, basic canine safety precautions, such as providing a fenced-in yard and using a leash outside the home, are essential. The only way to prevent hereditary or congenital causes is to stop all reproductive practices in canines known to have the condition(s). Spaying and neutering is the most effective form of treatment for canines with hereditary joint complications, such as hip or elbow dysplasia.

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 scheduled to have orthopedic surgery? Do you still have questions about the procedure or recovery? Contact our St. Louis vets today to learn more.

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