Here at Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital, our Portland veterinarians are often asked to evaluate our patients for orthopedic problems.
One of the most common orthopedic conditions in dogs is a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament. This ligament attaches the femur to the tibia inside the knee joint and acts as a stabilizing structure that prevents abnormal movement in the joint while allowing full range of motion. When the cruciate ligament is compromised by a partial or complete tear, the joint becomes unstable resulting in inflammation, swelling and pain. This instability can compromise the meniscus resulting in fraying or tearing of this intra-articular “cushion”.
Our approach at Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital is to evaluate the patient for pain and joint instability during the course of an office visit and to subsequently take appropriate radiographs under sedation. These radiographs are useful for diagnostic and surgical planning purposes. We also take this opportunity to further evaluate the joint for instability while the patient is relaxed.
The corrective surgery that is most often recommended is the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). The first phase of surgery is to perform an arthroscopy to evaluate the joint. With arthroscopy, the diagnosis of a ligament tear is confirmed and any other intra-articular pathology (such as a torn meniscus) is addressed. The TPLO is then performed to stabilize the joint.
Dr Scott Gustafson frequently performs this surgery at our hospital. He is a past professor of surgery at Oregon State University and bases his mobile surgery practice at our hospital.
Dr. White is a Slocum trained TPLO surgeon who now concentrates his efforts in the regenerative medicine aspect of surgical wound healing and joint inflammation. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is administered to all of our patients who receive the TPLO surgery. This helps accelerate wound healing while providing pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, he has patented an “isometric” approach to joint stabilization that can be used to compliment the TPLO surgery or as a stand-alone procedure in selected cases. ”
Pet Senior Care May Include Orthopedic Surgery Provided by Our Portland Veterinarian
Hip dysplasia is another orthopedic condition, especially in larger dogs or specific breeds with a known predisposition such as German Shepherds. This condition begins before birth as the head of the femoral joint fails to seat itself securely within the hip socket. This excessive freedom of motion within the joint eventually leads to bone spurs, cartilage deterioration, arthritis, and an overgrowth of bone that may cause the femoral head to completely displace itself.
If the condition advances to a point calling for surgical intervention, we can refer a surgeon or neurologist for a hip replacement operation or pelvic osteotomy. Another option our hospital offers is femoral head ostectomy in which we remove the femoral head and allow scar tissue regrowth to serve as a “false joint.” While this condition usually becomes obvious in the context of pet senior care, early detection may allow us to perform a fusion procedure that greatly slows dysplasia development.
Other joints may also require surgery. Intervertebral disc disease can afflict the spines of both dogs and cats. Either an acute injury or chronic deterioration of bone and cartilage can cause the fragile fluid-filled discs between vertebrae to bulge or herniate; compressing the spinal cord and causing pain, muscle spasms and loss of function in the front or back legs. If anti-inflammatory medications or other therapies cannot properly treat the problem, we may suggest surgery to relieve the nerve pressure. Shoulder joints may require surgery if they develop osteochondritis dissecans (a detachment of cartilage from the joint) or a biceps tendon disorder. We will go over treatment options with you, and if spinal or shoulder surgery is the best decision, we will refer you to a surgeon.
For an evaluation of your pet’s condition and symptoms, schedule a consultation with our Portland veterinarian. When it comes to the health of your pet, we want to offer all possible solutions. When orthopedic surgery is the right choice, then we can be here before, during and after the procedure to provide your pet proper care.