Canine Orthopedic Surgery

Canine orthopedic surgery successfully treats bone and joint problems in pets. Dogs that require surgical intervention are subjected to a series of diagnostic tests to determine the overall health of the dog. Post-operative procedures with follow up vet checks are also essential to help the dog recuperate completely.

Conditions that Require Orthopedic Surgery Include:

  • Fractures
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Luxating patella
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Ligament rupture


Fractures happen due to accidents and in certain fractures, confinement and rest are not enough to heal the fragmented bone. In such cases, a fracture repair surgery, using stainless steel bone plating devices to hold the fractured parts together, is performed. Another surgical procedure is also necessary to remove the bone plates once the bone has healed.

Degenerative Joint Disease

Degenerative joint disease or arthritis is a progressive and non-infectious disorder of weight-bearing joints. The cartilage gets cracked and can’t repair itself. This condition is found in older animals. However, young dogs with a history of injury or abnormal joint configuration can also suffer from this condition. The dog appears stiff, and isn’t as active or eager to go for long walks. Surgery is indicated in severe cases.

Luxating Patella

Luxating patella occurs in small breed dogs, either due to trauma or malformation. The patella is surrounded by a groove. In affected dogs, this groove is very narrow and the patella luxates or jumps out of the groove. This causes the leg to extend rearward, causing lameness in the dog. Surgery alters the groove and also restricts the movement of the patella outside the groove. The dog recovers in 1 to 2 months, post-surgery. 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is looseness of the hip joint and can affect both the hind legs of the affected animal. It’s a genetically transmitted disease that leads to pain and lameness. Surgery is indicated in affected dogs. In young dogs, triple pelvic osteotomy is recommended. This involves the restructuring of the hip joint. In older dogs, the removal of the femoral and head is recommended. Total hip replacement is another option for older pets. This is an expensive procedure that involves the replacement of the femoral head and neck with copper chrome or titanium. This surgery has a success rate of 91 percent. 

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a painful, genetically transmitted condition. The elbow has 3 bones, namely the radius, the ulna and the humerus. Between the ulna and the radius is a medial coronoid process. In a dysplastic elbow, the ulna and the medial coronoid process are higher than the radius. The weight bearing shifts from the radius to the ulna and this causes fragmentation of the coronoid. This in turn causes pain and lameness. Arthritis generally accompanies this condition. Surgery is done to remove the fragments of the coronoid and aims to slow the progression of arthritis.

Ligament Rupture

Ligament rupture is the most common cause of lameness in the rear limbs. This leads to degenerative changes in the knee joint. Surgery aims to stabilize the knee, either by the extracapsular method or intracapsular method. The extracapsular method alters the tissues outside the knee to tighten and stabilize the knee while the intracapsular method grafts an adjacent tissue in the knee to replace the ruptured ligament. 

Orthopedic surgery, carried out by a good orthopedic surgeon, can greatly improve the quality of your pet’s life. Soon after canine orthopedic surgery, passive flexion and extension exercises are started together with light activity to aid recovery.