Many pets will experience some form of orthopedic injury, whether it’s a mild sprain or strain, osteoarthritis, a broken bone, or a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), although owners often do not notice that their pet has an issue, except that she’s moving more slowly, or having difficulty rising. Fortunately for your furry friend, our Groves Veterinary Clinic team has the skills and state-of-the-art equipment and tools needed to diagnose your pet’s orthopedic injury, and to quickly get her back on her feet.
How to tell if your pet has an orthopedic injury
Pets are excellent at compensating for a hurt limb, and knowing if your furry friend has injured herself may be difficult. While broken bones are usually obvious, sprains, strains, and partial CCL tears may be more challenging to detect. If your pet is showing any of the following signs, schedule an orthopedic exam with our team to determine the cause of her pain:
- Licking excessively at a limb or joint
- Reluctance to use stairs, or jump on furniture
- Slow to rise
- Decreased appetite
- Less active
- Uneven gait
- Difficulty sitting or lying down
- Sleeping more
While limping and lameness are clear signs of pets’ orthopedic injuries, pain may be more subtly manifested, so keep a close eye out for any indication that your pet is uncomfortable. Some pets are so stoic that they rarely complain, despite severe pain, so thorough orthopedic exams with diagnostic testing are crucial for detecting injuries. During your pet’s exam, we will take X-rays of the affected limb, joint, or bone to determine the extent of her injuries, and proceed with a treatment plan once we’ve reached a diagnosis. We may sedate your pet for the exam, as some of the manipulations required to achieve diagnostic X-rays may be painful to an awake pet.
What orthopedic procedures are performed at Groves Veterinary Clinic?
With Dr. Groves’ skills, innovative surgical techniques, and our clinic’s state-of-the-art surgical suite and orthopedic equipment, our team can repair a wide variety of orthopedic injuries:
- Tibia plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery — Because of its high success rate, TPLO surgery is one of the most widely used procedures to repair CCL tears in dogs, and sometimes in cats. In most cases, TPLO surgery is superior to other forms of CCL repairs (e.g., tibial tuberosity advancement and lateral fabellotibial suture surgery), returns pets to near-normal function faster than other procedures, and is particularly successful for large dogs, and those with advanced joint degeneration. With a TPLO procedure, your pet’s knee joint will regain stability, and the likelihood of further osteoarthritis progression will be reduced.
During a TPLO procedure, the surgeon will cut and reposition the tibial plateau, which is the load-bearing portion of the knee, and then secure the bone in place with a TPLO plate, immediately stabilizing your pet’s injured knee. Pets will often bear weight on the affected leg only a day or so after surgery. Because of the TPLO surgery’s complexity, not many veterinary surgeons perform the procedure, but many area veterinary practices recognise Dr. Groves’ proficiency and refer their CCL repair cases to our clinic.
- Bone-fracture management — Treatment of the various bone-fracture categories differs for each pet. Closed fractures are easier to handle than compound fractures, as the skin is not broken, which limits infection. Puppies tend to break their bones along growth plates, but fortunately, they heal much more quickly than older pets, provided they accept strict exercise restriction and crate confinement. If your pet has fractured a bone, Dr. Groves will assess the fracture and determine which treatment will provide the best outcome for your pet.
- Knee-replacement surgery — Similar to total-knee-replacement surgery in people, this procedure involves cutting out the diseased knee joint and replacing it with a prosthetic joint. Knee-replacement surgery is often reserved for pets who are still uncomfortable, despite other surgical procedures, medical management, and integrative practices. The most common cause of knee pain is osteoarthritis secondary to a CCL rupture, trauma, or malformation of the joint. Severe osteoarthritis can cripple your pet, but knee-replacement surgery can provide relief.
- Elbow luxation reduction — In rare cases, animals may luxate, or displace, their elbow joint. The preferred treatment involves manipulating the bones back to their normal positions in the joint under anesthesia. After replacement, surgery may be necessary to stabilize the joint, if surrounding ligaments have ruptured.
If the luxation is not corrected quickly, surrounding muscles and ligaments contract, making a non-surgical reduction unlikely. In these cases, Dr. Groves can perform surgery to correct the joint’s conformation and replace damaged ligaments.
- Juvenile pelvic symphysiodesis — Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a common orthopedic problem of many large-breed dogs that results in long-term degenerative joint disease. Juvenile pelvic symphysiodesis is a surgical procedure Dr. Groves can perform on puppies who are predisposed to developing CHD, or who show joint laxity at a young age. During the procedure, heat is applied to the pelvic symphysis (i.e., the connection between the two pelvis halves) to encourage early closure. This changes hip joint conformation to allow for better femoral head coverage and improved joint stability.
Why should you choose Groves Veterinary Clinic for your pet’s orthopedic care?
Dr. Groves has devoted much of his career to furthering his knowledge of the intense orthopedic specialty. Because of his skills and experience in a variety of orthopedic techniques, and our specialty equipment, our clinic now receives many orthopedic-case referrals.
Our team can diagnose and treat orthopedic problems as quickly, effectively, and painlessly as possible to help give your pet relief. Call us to schedule an orthopedic exam, so we can help get your pet back on their feet.