Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic surgery relates to surgery of the bones and joints.  By providing orthopedic surgery options, we hope to help your pet live a more comfortable life.  Some orthopedic surgeries can be planned ahead, but unfortunately, many have to be performed when an animal has been involved in an accident or has experienced trauma. When an animal is presented to our hospital for an orthopedic problem, a full medical history will be established.  Additional diagnostic tests including bloodwork will be performed.  Only after completion of these procedures will a comprehensive treatment plan be developed with you for your pet.

Common orthopedic surgical procedures: 

  • Anterior cruciate ligament repair
  • Bone fractures
  • Joint dislocations
  • Angular limb deformities
  • Bone biopsy

How are bone fractures repaired?

Bone fractures are the most common orthopedic procedure. Simple fractures can be reset using a cast or splint and typically do not require surgery. If a fracture is displaced, surgery is usually necessary to give the fracture stability which is necessary for proper healing. A surgical procedure for a bone fracture caters to each individual case, but the following methods are most commonly used:

Surgical plating – A metal plate is aligned next to the fracture and holes are drilled into the bone so screws can be inserted to permanently fixate the plate to support the bone.  Surgical plating is usually performed by a specialist.  If needed we are happy to refer our patients to a veterinary orthopedic surgeon for bone plating.

Pin and wire fixation – A metal pin is surgically inserted into the fractured bone.  Wires are sometimes used to stabilize multiple fracture pieces together.

External fixation – Pins are surgically connected to the fractured bones and are then attached outside of the skin with rods and clamps.

Regardless of whether your pet has a cast or surgery, fractures can take up to four months or longer to heal. Because the healing process is so long, the success of the surgery is generally determined by the aftercare a patient receives at home. The healing process requires owner involvement; after your pet’s surgery, we will give you proper care instructions relative to the procedure performed.   In all circumstances, you should be prepared to keep your pet confined for a minimum of 6 weeks so they will not be able to run, jump or exercise vigorously.  Oftentimes, this involves figuring out a way to keep your pet separate from your other pets. You will also be a part of a rigorous rehabilitation routine which helps muscles and joints regain strength and flexibility.  Multiple rechecks with radiographs are also necessary as healing takes place to make sure the bones and fixation devices are staying aligned and that healing is progressing.  Unfortunately, even under ideal conditions, orthopedic surgery will involve a substantial financial and time commitment for a successful outcome.  This is not something that should be undertaken lightly.

Please contact our office today if you are in need of orthopedic surgical services for your pet!

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