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Orthopaedic Procedures

Cruciate Surgery

Cruciate rupture is the commonest orthopaedic condition of dogs. The cruciate ligament is responsible for maintaining stability of the stifle (knee). When it ruptures, the femur (thigh) and tibia (shin) bones slide forwards and backwards over each other when the dog attempts to weight bear. This causes pain and lameness. It is recognised in dogs (different to humans) that the ligament degenerates and can be a cause of lameness even before rupture by contributing to degenerative joint disease (leading to osteoarthritis) in the stifle.

There are several surgical options for the treatment of dogs with crucial rupture:

  • Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA),
  • Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO),
  • Cranial Closing Wedge (CCW)
  •  Lateral Fabello Tibial suture (LFTS).

Fracture Repair

Fractures of the bones of the body can be repaired using any combination of metal implants or screw, plates, wires and pins placed internally, or pins and frames placed externally.

The surgeon uses a combination of techniques and implants to stabilise fractures on an individual basis at the time of surgery. Modern surgical equipment and a range of surgical kits and implants allow the best decisions to be made for the patient at the time.

Femoral Head and Neck Excision

FHNE is a salvage procedure that is intended to reduce hip pain in cases where other surgery is not appropriate. It is used in the management of avascular necrosis of the femoral head (also known as Legg-Calve-Perthes disease), fractures of the femoral head or growth plate, hip luxation (that cannot be reduced) and failed total hip replacement.

The surgery involves using a special type of saw called an oscillating saw to remove the femoral head (‘ball’ of the ‘ball and socket’ joint). The oscillating saw makes a precise cut across the bone and is preferable to the old fashioned osteotome and mallet technique. This reduces the bone-bone contact of the joint and therefore the pain associated with chronic disease or cartilage erosion.

Patellar Luxation (slipping kneecap)

Patellar luxation is a common cause of hindlimb lameness in the dog. It is caused by the patella (kneecap) slipping out of the trochlea groove.

We grade luxating patella according to severity:

  • Grade 1 - the kneecap slips out of the groove when the knee is fully extended, and pressure is applied. It usually returns to the groove spontaneously.
  • Grade 2 - the kneecap may pop out of the groove in any position of flexion & extension. This may happen spontaneously and may require manual replacement.
  • Grade 3 - The kneecap is out of position most of the time, but can be returned to the correct position manually, but then usually immediately pops out again.
  • Grade 4 - The kneecap is permanently fixed in the incorrect location.

Most cases of medially luxating patella can be corrected with a simple surgery to stabilise the patella within the trochlea groove.