Orthopaedic Surgery

Orthopaedic surgery at Southview

We use the most up to date and advanced surgical procedures but we also put emphasis on the peri-operative period. We use high dose pain relief in the time before and after surgery to minimise discomfort to your pet, we provide orthopaedic bedding and heat pads, we use intravenous antibiotics and fluid therapy for all orthopaedic cases  and we start physiotherapy as soon as possible after surgery. Patient comfort is our priority.

We will provide detailed post operative care information sheets for all owners at discharge. We  work with the client and pet to ensure the best plan of action is undertaken. Recovery is often the most difficult and stressful stage for owners and we provide all the support we can to allow the recovery to go smoothly.

What happens on the day?

You will be given an admission appointment where a vet or vet nurse will do a full clinical examination of your pet to ensure they are fit enough for the procedure. If your pet has not had a pre-anaesthetic blood test, we will discuss it with you in this appointment. This blood test assesses liver and kidney function which we cannot assess in the clinical exam. With the results we can anticipate any potential issues and adjust the anaesthetic in accordance.

Once admitted your pet will be given a pre medication including highly effective pain relief in preparation for the surgery. Once administered they become sleepy and relaxed which makes their induction smooth and straight forward.

During the surgery a nurse will monitor your pets vital signs and keep them warm and comfortable the whole time.

After the surgery while your pet is in recovery a nurse will stay and monitor them. They will be kept on comfortable bedding and offered food and water as soon as appropriate.

Your pet will be scheduled to receive pain relief in the hours after the operation to keep them comfortable.

They will be hospitalised overnight and physiotherapy will commence to help them get back on their feet as soon as possible.

At discharge a vet will go through all the necessary aftercare as well as providing written information and guidelines. We are always at the end of a phonecall for further support.

Your pet will be booked in for revisit appointments with the vets and nurses to ensure they are progressing and recovering well over the coming weeks.

We will provide step by step support the whole way through.

Cruciate Surgery

Cruciate disease is the most common cause of hind-limb lameness in dogs. Affecting all breeds, the cruciate ligament that crosses over the stifle (or ‘knee’) tears or ruptures and the joint becomes unstable.

Surgical repair is often indicated for cruciate disease, requiring a skilled surgeon who has undertaken additional training. As such, many vets have to refer these patients to other practices; we at Southview Vets are delighted to offer this service thanks to Alan Ahearne taking interest in this area and completing a certificate in orthopaedic surgery.

Lateral Suture

We perform the lateral suture technique in small dogs less than 12kg as it is a suitable option for small dogs.

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) Technique

This is performed where the dog is over 12kg and is an advanced orthopaedic procedure.

 

Fracture Repair

Unfortunately, just like in humans animals often break bones. The treatment will depend on numerous factors including the location and severity of the break which will be determined by x-rays.

There are numerous ways a bone can break, from a simple straight break to a spiraling break or even complete shatter and each carries a different course of action and outcome. 

In some animals a fiberglass cast may be enough to fix the break but unlike in human medicine animals can’t quite be relied upon to rest for weeks and allow proper healing.  This is why surgery is often the better option, allowing bones to be aligned and stabilized rather than waiting for them to stabilize naturally over time.

This may be achieved by using pins, plates and screws fixed to the bones internally only or external fixation may be used where the external frames align the bones by securing them in place through the skin.

Patients are kept comfortable using high doses of pain relief and will often be weight bearing within a day or two of surgery. This doesn’t lead to the same degree of muscle wastage that you would see when using casts.

Hip Dislocations

Often caused by trauma such as being involved in a road traffic accident.

The hip is a ball and socket joint, when dislocated the head of the femur (ball) sits outside the hop joint (socket). Not only does it cause the leg to not function but it is extremely painful.

Under general anesthetic it may be possible to relocate the hip using force to pull it back in and if there is no other damage to the joint a sling is applied for a few weeks to ensure it stays in place. This has a 50% success rate as usually there is damage to the joint and it will not stay in place without surgical stabilization.

Surgery may be necessary to stabilize the joint ensuring that it stays in place. There are numerous techniques that may be used including joint reconstruction or the use of implants. After surgery the animal usually will be weight bearing quite quickly.

Elbow Dislocations

This is usually associated with some form of trauma usually to the lower part of the joint.

It may be possible to fix without surgery by placing the animal under a short general anesthetic and manipulation the bones back into place. A splint is then applied for approximately two weeks to keep it in place and allow the tendons and ligaments to heal.

If the joint is not stable after relocation surgery may be the only option to ensure a full recovery. This may involve the placement of screws and pins to hold the joint in place. Surgery may be the only option if the dislocation is more than a day old or there is significant damage to the tendons and ligaments.

Luxating patella surgery

This is a painful condition of the dog’s knee where the knee cap slips out of its groove in the dog’s knee.

This is a condition that is mainly seen in smaller breeds i.e Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers etc; but can be seen in any breed. It is graded from mild to moderate to severe. The severe cases need surgery to realign the knee, and this surgery is provided in our clinic.

Femoral Head and Neck Excision (FHNE)

This may be necessary in cases of end stage hip deterioration either due to severe arthritis or trauma to the joint. It is a useful procedure that eliminates pain in the joint and improves the pet’s quality of life

Where the movement of this ball and socket joint causes pain in affected animals, the treatment may be to alter how the joint functions. This is done by removal of the head and neck of the femur (the ball part of the joint). This means the bones that make up the joint are no longer in contact or rubbing together during movement.

FHO is done to relive the pain associated with certain conditions. Animals generally recover well and return to nearly full activity but it is important to note that the affected leg will be left shorter and the animal may always show some signs of being lame as a result.

FHNE does not function to create a new fully functional joint but alters the joint so as to make it pain free which also contributes to an ongoing degree of lameness.