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There are many common orthopedic issues that can be helped or cured by the surgical services offered by Vale Park Animal Hospital, and our primary orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jerry Rodenbarger.

What are orthopedics?

Orthopedic problems are those that involve bones, joints, ligments and muscles. There are many orthopedic conditions our pets may experience.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear
This is known in the football world as a “blown ACL”.  It refers to a torn or ruptured major ligament in the knee.  It is one of the most common injuries in large breed dogs but can happen in any size dog and occasionally in cats.  Most of these ACL tears are the result of normal play or running, especially sharp turns and jumps.

Hip Dysplasia
Hip Dysplasia is an inherited form of arthritis of the hips, and is another very common problem in large dogs. The early signs include stiffness in the rear, “bunny hop” when running, and difficulty getting up. 
 
Patellar Luxation 
The “patella” is also known as the knee cap bone.  Patellar luxation means the knee cap is out of place.  Medial (toward the middle) patellar luxations occur most often in very small dogs, while lateral (to the outside) patellar luxations are seen in large breeds.  Depending on the severity of the luxation, surgical repair is sometimes necessary. 

Fractures - Dogs & Cats

Pets that have the misfortune of suffering a fractured bone may need surgical repair or a cast or splint.  This can be a trying experience for both you and your pet.  Dogs and cats with fractures are treated surgically more often than are humans.  There are two reasons generally for this:

  • Animals fracture major bones closest to the body, the femur in the hind limb and the humerus in the front limb.  (Fractures of these bones are often due to a major trauma such as an automobile accident)
  • Placing and maintain casts or splints can be a major challenge with dogs and cats.  These tools must remain clean and dry, avoidance of pressure sores under the bandage material can be nearly impossible in active pets therefore you may be directed to keep your pet still or in a crate.  The weight of a cast or splint can make it very difficult for the animal to move around.

If surgery is recommended, it may involve the application of various metal surgical implants such as pins, wires, plates and screws.  The primary goal of fracture fixation surgery is to restore broken bones to their original anatomic position and rigidly fix them in place while healing occurs.  It is very important to keep all bandage changing appointments throughout the healing process.

Sprains & Strains 
Sprains and strains are injuries to the ligaments and tendons.  Although they can be quite painful, in most cases surgical repair is not required.

Bone Cancer 
Bone cancer is unfortunately another orthopedic condition that strikes our pets.  It is most commonly seen in large and giant breed dogs.

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