Veterinary Orthopedics

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What is Veterinary Orthopedics?

Veterinary orthopedics is a branch of veterinary medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and management of conditions and injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system of animals. This includes the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles of animals. Veterinary orthopedic surgeons specialize in performing surgeries to repair or correct injuries or conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, such as fractures, ligament injuries, and hip dysplasia. They may also use non-surgical techniques, such as physical therapy and rehabilitation, to manage these conditions.

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There are many conditions that may require veterinary orthopedic surgery, including:

  1. Fractures: broken bones can be repaired with surgery.
  2. Ligament injuries: such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee.
  3. Hip dysplasia: a genetic disorder that causes the hip joint to be malformed.
  4. Degenerative joint disease: also known as osteoarthritis, this is a common cause of chronic pain in animals.
  5. Patellar luxation: a condition in which the knee joint is unstable.
  6. Spinal problems: such as herniated discs or spinal fractures.
  7. Bone tumors: surgical removal may be necessary to treat certain types of bone tumors.

These are just a few examples of conditions that may require veterinary orthopedic surgery. It's important to note that not all of these conditions will necessarily require surgery, and treatment will depend on the specific condition and the individual animal.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disorder that causes the hip joint to be malformed. It is a common condition in dogs, but can also occur in cats and other animals.

In a normal hip joint, the head of the femur (thigh bone) fits snugly into a socket in the pelvis called the acetabulum. In an animal with hip dysplasia, the acetabulum is shallow or misshapen, which causes the femur to fit poorly or dislocate from the socket. This can lead to pain, lameness, and difficulty moving.

Hip dysplasia is a progressive condition, which means it can get worse over time. In severe cases, it can cause significant joint damage and disability. Treatment for hip dysplasia may include weight management, physical therapy, medications, and surgery. In some cases, a surgical procedure called a “total hip replacement" may be necessary to repair the damaged joint.

What is Patellar Luxation?

Patellar luxation is a condition in which the knee joint, or patella, becomes unstable. The patella is a small bone in the front of the knee that sits in a groove and helps to stabilize the joint. In animals with patellar luxation, the patella can become dislocated or “luxated" from the groove, causing the joint to become unstable.

Patellar luxation can occur as a result of trauma, but it is often a congenital (present at birth) condition. It is more common in small breed dogs, but can also occur in cats and other animals.

Symptoms of patellar luxation include lameness, difficulty moving, and pain. Treatment may include medications, physical therapy, and surgery to reposition the patella and stabilize the joint. In severe cases, a surgical procedure called a “triple pelvic osteotomy" may be necessary to correct the alignment of the pelvis and stabilize the knee joint.