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If your dog has sustained a severe injury to a bone or joint, they may require orthopedic surgery to repair the issue. In this post, our Bonita Springs vets discuss orthopedic surgery, the different types of procedures, and what you can expect from your dog's recovery.

Veterinary Orthopedic Surgery

Orthopedic surgery for dogs is the most effective way of repairing a damaged bone or joint, restoring the patient's health and mobility. Surgery will only be used if it is absolutely necessary and will warrant a lengthy recovery time for your dog.

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. We know it may seem overwhelming to hear that your dog requires surgery, but it will always be in their best interest and will be performed by a trained veterinary surgeon.

What You Can Expect From Orthopedic Surgery for Dogs

When a dog needs repair to a tendon, ligament, or joint, the surgical treatment is referred to orthopedic surgery. In most cases, bone plates, pins or screws, nylon, casts, or an artificial joint are used during the procedure. Dogs are excellent candidates for orthopedic procedures such as bone and joint correction surgery, as long as they are in good health.

A successful surgery necessitates pre-operative blood work and an overall canine analysis to ensure the patient is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and the overall procedure.

Types of Orthopedic Surgery in Dogs

Common types of dog orthopedic surgery performed include:

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, accounting for approximately 85% of all orthopedic surgeries performed each year.

Your Dog's Recovery From Orthopedic Surgery

Once your dog returns home from their orthopedic surgery, you can expect to follow strict instructions regarding their recovery, especially for the first two or three weeks. You will need to carefully restrict your dog's movement throughout the recovery period. Following the first two or three weeks, the dog's activity will be limited to four months, and physical therapy may be necessary to regain full mobility.

Orthopedic surgeries commonly have ideal success rates and are the most common method of treatment for dogs experiencing injuries to their joints and ligaments. As long as your dog's post-op care is adequate, they should recover without any issues.

Preventing Your Dog From Requiring Orthopedic Surgery

Many causes of bone surgery are related to unexpected injury or hereditary joint conditions, so preventing the need for orthopedic surgery isn't always possible. Of course, we always try to keep our canine companions healthy and safe, but there is a reason that accidents are called 'accidents'.

Basic canine safety precautions, such as providing a fenced-in yard and using a leash outside the home, are key steps in preventing 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). Canines 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.

Has your dog suffered a severe injury or is showing signs of a veterinary emergency? Contact our Bonita Springs veterinarians immediately to have your pup cared for and back on their feet.

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Contact (239) 992-8387