Orthopedic Surgery for Dogs

Pets that suffer from bone fractures and other trauma may require orthopedic surgery for dogs. Just as human patients have specialized surgeons and physicians to help repair and set broken bones, so do dogs. In many cases, however, the procedure can be accomplished by your regular veterinarian without the help of a specialist. Orthopedic surgery is costly and entails a significant rehabilitation period, but it can be the single most effective way of returning your pet to normal health after he suffers from a broken bone.

Orthopedic Surgery Process

If your pet suffers from an accident or trauma that results in any visible wound or bone fracture, take him to a veterinarian for examination immediately. Even if your pet doesn't display any outward signs of physical harm, a vet can help to determine whether he has suffered any internal injuries or other damage.

If your dog has broken a bone or torn a ligament, he may require reconstructive or reparative surgery. Whether your veterinarian can perform this procedure adequately and efficiently depends upon your dog, his injury and the experience and skill level of the vet. If he is unable or unwilling to operate on your dog, he can recommend veterinary orthopedists or surgical specialists who will be able to help.

Because orthopedic surgeries are typically done as soon as possible following an injury, you'll need to treat your dog as quickly as possible to prevent further pain or bone damage. Many surgeries require fasting or other preemptive measures before the procedure begins, so ensure that you follow the surgeon's instructions carefully.

The duration, invasiveness and cost of the surgery depends upon the type of injury and on your dog as well. Expect to pay for anesthesia, operating time and labor as well as costs of rehabilitation visits and pain medications. Typically, orthopedic surgeries take a few hours to complete, and may require that your dog spend the night in the hospital.

Rehabilitation Period

Perhaps more difficult for you and for your dog than the surgery itself is the lengthy rehabilitation process associated with orthopedic surgeries. Most procedures of this type require that your pet remain in bed or off of his feet for at least 2 weeks, and that he be on a severely limited activity and exercise schedule for up to 4 months after that. This requires constant monitoring on your part, and many owners find that they have to actively discourage their pets from getting up and walking around while they should be resting. Even if your dog appears to have recovered to the point where he can walk, run or jump, allowing him to do so before his recovery is complete will only lead to additional damage and complications. In many cases, dogs that are too active too soon following a surgery require additional procedures in order to correct subsequent injuries.

If you have any questions about the costs or procedures involved with orthopedic surgery for dogs, don't hesitate to speak with your veterinarian or with a surgical specialist.