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Veterinary Surgeons Talk About Dog Knee Surgery

Veterinary Surgeons Talk About Dog Knee Surgery

Our beloved pups run jump and play on a daily basis, unfortunately, this means that injuries can happen at any time. Today our Oceanside veterinary surgeons talk about canine injuries, how a surgical procedure may help and what the different types of dog knee surgery are.

What are some of the common ways that dogs injure themselves?

In order to help your dog live a long and happy life you will also need to do what you can to help them avoid injury or illness and have them treated right away if such occurs.

When it comes to keeping your dog healthy, you will need to focus on a good diet and regular exercise. Not much different than it is for us!

Even with a completely healthy diet and regular exercise, there is still the chance that the unexpected may happen.

If your dog suffers from a torn ligament then it will typically be accompanied by pain, whether this pain starts immediately or becomes more severe over time.

We hear about the dog CCL, but what exactly is it?

There are two ligaments in your dog's leg that help it to move, one of which is the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL, ACL or cruciate). This ligament connects the shin bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur).

What is tibial thrust and how does it happen?

When your dog has a torn cruciate ligament, pain arises from instability within the knee, and a motion called 'tibial thrust'.

Tibial thrust is a sliding motion caused by the transmission of weight up the dog's shin bone and across the knee, which causes the shinbone to “thrust” forward. This forward movement happens because the top of the tibia (shin bone) is sloped, and the dog's injured ligament is unable to prevent unwanted movement from occurring.

Are there any typical signs that my dog has sustained a knee injury?

When experiencing the pain associated with a cruciate injury your dog will not be able to play, run or jump as they normally would. Some of the other common symptoms of CCL injuries include.

  • Difficulties rising up off of the floor
  • Limping in their hind legs
  • Reluctance to exercise or climb stairs
  • Stiffness following exercise

Is surgery a common method of treating knee injuries in dogs?

If your dog is experiencing a torn ligament then veterinary care is crucial as these will not heal themselves. A swift diagnosis and treatment will be key to ensuring that it does not create further injuries or complications.

Commonly dogs that are left untreated will end up with a second injured leg due to overuse.

What are the different types of dog knee surgery?

If your dog is suffering from a torn cruciate ligament your dog surgeon in Oceanside is likely to recommend one of three knee surgeries to help your dog regain normal mobility.

ELSS / ECLS - Extracapsular Lateral Suture Stabilization
  • Veterinary surgeons in Oceanside will often treat smaller dogs that weigh less than 50 pounds using a small suture with this type of vet surgery. The suture stabilizes your pup's knee by pulling the joint tight and preventing the front-to-back sliding of the tibia so that the ligament has time to heal, and the muscles surrounding the knee have an opportunity to regain their strength.
TPLO - Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy
  • TPLO reduces tibial thrust without relying on the dog's cruciate. TPLO surgery involves making a complete cut through the top of the shin bone (tibial plateau), then rotating the tibial plateau in order to change its angle. A metal plate is then added to the area where the cut was made, in order to help stabilize the bone as it heals. Over the course of several months, your pup's leg will gradually heal, regaining its strength and mobility.
TTA - Tibial Tuberosity Advancement
  • TTA surgery involves separating the front part of the tibia from the rest of the bone, then adding a spacer between the two sections to move the front section of the tibia up and forward. This can help to prevent much of the tibia thrust movement from occurring. A bone plate will be attached to hold the front section of the tibia in its new corrected position until the bone has had adequate time to heal. 

How will I know which surgery my dog should have done?

When it comes to determining which surgical option is right for your dog, your pet surgeon will take a number of things into consideration such as the health, age and weight of your dog and their current range of motion. Once they have considered all of these factors they will then be able to decide which pet surgery will be right for them.

What is the recovery time for dogs that have had knee surgery?

When your dog undergoes knee surgery you will need to expect a long recovery process. Some dogs rebound quickly after fairly straightforward surgeries and begin walking the next day while others can take up to 4 months.

In order to reduce the potential risks and decrease the recovery time you should always follow your veterinary surgeon's instructions very carefully.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your dog sustained a serious knee injury? If you think they may require pet surgery, contact our Oceanside vet surgeons to book an appointment today.

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