Pet orthopaedic surgery is an advanced surgical procedure designed to treat, correct, and manage bone and joint disorders in pets. This type of surgery is typically performed by a veterinary specialist who has expertise in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems in animals. The main goal of pet orthopaedic surgery is to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and enhance the quality of life for pets suffering from bone or joint injuries.

Common orthopaedic problems in pets

As with humans, pets can develop orthopaedic problems that require surgical intervention to restore function and alleviate pain. Some of the most common orthopaedic problems in pets include hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament tears, and osteoarthritis.

Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip joint does not form correctly, leading to abnormal wear and tear on the joint. This can cause pain and loss of mobility in affected pets. Cruciate ligament tears are another common problem that can occur when the ligaments that support the knee joint are damaged or torn. This injury is especially prevalent in larger breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility over time.

Cranial cruciate ligament repair

Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tears and ruptures are common orthopaedic injuries in dogs, often causing lameness and pain. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the damaged ligament. CCL repair is a complex procedure that requires expertise in both surgical techniques and post-operative management.

There are several surgical options available for CCL repair, including extracapsular suture stabilisation, tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO), tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA), and lateral fabellar suture stabilisation. Each technique has its own benefits and drawbacks, depending on the patient’s age, size, activity level, degree of injury, and other factors.

Fracture (broken bone) repair

A broken bone or fracture can occur as a result of trauma, injury or underlying medical conditions such as osteoporosis. When a pet suffers from a fracture, it can cause significant pain and discomfort, which may require immediate attention by veterinary professionals. Fracture repair involves realigning the broken bones and immobilising them with various devices such as casts, splints or pins.

Amputations for severe injuries or bone cancer cases

When our furry friends suffer from severe injuries or bone cancer, it can be a painful and difficult time for both them and their owners. Fortunately, advances in veterinary medicine have made it possible to provide pets with high-quality orthopaedic care that can help improve their quality of life. One option that may be recommended by our veterinarians is amputation.

Amputations are usually reserved for cases where other treatments have been exhausted or are unlikely to be successful. In cases where there is extensive damage or disease affecting a limb, amputation can be an effective solution to alleviate pain and prevent further complications. While the idea of amputating a pet’s limb may seem drastic, most animals adjust well to life with three legs and often experience improved mobility after surgery.

Signs that your pet may need orthopaedic surgery

If you’re a pet owner, you know how important it is to keep your furry friend healthy and happy. Unfortunately, just like humans, pets can suffer from orthopaedic issues that require surgery. Here are some signs that your pet may need orthopaedic surgery:

  • Limping or lameness: If your pet is limping or has difficulty standing up, this could be a sign of an orthopaedic issue.
  • Difficulty jumping: If your pet can no longer jump up on the bed or climb stairs like they used to, this could also indicate a problem.
  • Decreased activity level: If your normally active pet suddenly becomes lethargic and doesn’t want to play or go for walks, this could be a sign of pain or discomfort.
  • Stiffness: Arthritis and other joint conditions can cause stiffness and difficulty moving around. Surgery may be necessary to alleviate the discomfort.

Post-surgery care for pets

Post-surgery care for pets is crucial in ensuring they heal properly and quickly. Here are some tips to help you take care of your pet after orthopaedic surgery:

  • Follow the veterinarian’s instructions: After the surgery, your veterinarian will give you detailed instructions on how to take care of your pet. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully.
  • Monitor pain levels: Your pet may experience pain after orthopaedic surgery, so it’s important to monitor their pain levels regularly and adjust medication accordingly.
  • Keep them calm: Your pet should be kept calm and relaxed during the recovery period to prevent any additional injury or stress.
  • Wound care: Keep the surgical site clean and dry at all times to prevent infection.
  • Follow-up appointments: Regular check-ups with your vet will ensure your pet is healing well and any issues can be addressed promptly.