A Guide to Dog Knee Surgery

A dog's knees are configured with a kneecap and ligaments connecting the femur to the tibia. If your dog suffers a knee injury or a chronic condition, dog knee surgery may be helpful in restoring his lost mobility and reducing pain. The most common knee injury in dogs is a canine cruciate injury, whereby the ligaments surrounding the kneecap become inflamed, or, in some cases, ruptured. Continue reading to learn about other common canine ACL and knee injuries, as well as their surgical treatments.

Identifying Common Dog Knee Injuries

There are a wide variety of dog knee injuries. Most of them result from damage to the ligaments, but others may affect the bones in and around the knee joint. If your dog displays any of the following knee injury symptoms, have him examined by a veterinarian immediately:

* Limping * Difficulty sitting down or standing up * General lethargy * Hesitance to run or play * Bleeding, swelling or other visual indication around the knee joint

Your vet will take x-rays and conduct a physical exam to determine the source of your dog's condition. He can also recommend treatment types based upon the condition and your dog's situation. Types of Dog Knee Treatments

Treatment for a dog knee injury depends entirely upon the nature of the injury itself. While the symptoms of many knee injuries can be remedied with medication and rest, most often surgery is necessary to address the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Extracapsular and intracapsular surgeries address damaged ligaments by replacing ligament tissue, either with preexisting tissue or a synthetic material. These surgeries are commonly used to treat canine knee conditions caused by ligament rupture.

Suture surgeries (referred to as lateral suture or lateral imbrication) are helpful in small dogs, because they require a minimal procedure and no incision. In a suture procedure, a suture is attached outside of the knee joint in order to help stabilize your dog's knee.

Surgeries of the bones around the knee tend to be the most invasive and are typically reserved for specific conditions, although they have stronger results in many cases. Tightrope surgery and tibial leveling adjust the knee system in order to reduce stress on the joint and fix bones in place. Other Considerations

Canine knee surgeries require an overnight stay in the hospital as well as many hours of surgical work. For this reason, as well as the serious nature of the procedure, canine knee surgeries can be very expensive. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the best operation type for your dog and budget.

Canine knee surgeries are major procedures that require ample recovery. For several weeks following any type of knee surgery, your dog must remain relaxed and inert for most of the day. Your vet will prescribe post-operation instructions based on your dog's condition and surgery. Dog knee surgery treatments can dramatically improve your pet's overall health and happiness.