By Dr. John Wooldridge, DACVS
At Veterinary Cancer & Surgery Specialists, we offer full specialized orthopedic surgical services. This includes lameness evaluations and a variety of advanced surgical treatment options for both dogs and cats. The most common reasons we see lame dogs are for damage or tearing to the cranial cruciate ligament (the equivalent of the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, in the human knee), and patellar luxation.
There are multiple surgical options available for treatment of cruciate injuries in dogs, and our most commonly recommended treatment is tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, or TPLO. This is a well-established surgical option that consistently provides us with the most predictable result and return to very high levels of activity. We recommend this in nearly all patients from 10 pounds to 230 pounds! Dogs tend to return to comfort quickly after a TPLO, which is very positive, especially in older patients. We have also performed TPLOs in a number of larger cats, with excellent outcome. Consultation, examination and xrays are all used to help explore all options in our patients with cruciate injuries.
Patellar luxation is also a common problem usually seen in small dogs, where lameness and joint discomfort is caused by intermittent or constant dislocation of the kneecap. Patellar luxation is a problem that used to be treated less aggressively, but the typical approach now is that even relatively low grade patellar luxations are going to get worse with time; earlier surgical intervention is now recommended in most patients. Patellar luxations can also be seen in large dogs, and these are usually a significant problem that must be addressed surgically for long-term comfort. The actual surgical options vary relative to the individual patient. Consultation and an xray workup explore all potential options.
The Surgery Team at VCSS offers complete orthopedic surgical services, as well as soft tissue/general surgery, and, of course, daily collaboration with our Oncology Team to provide surgical services for VCSS patients with cancer. Please contact us, or schedule an appointment with Dr Wooldridge if you have any questions about your pet with possible orthopedic problems!