What Is Veterinary Orthopedic Surgery?
Orthopedic surgery for dogs entails surgical techniques that address the joints, skeletal system, and soft tissues connected with them, such as muscles, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.
Our advanced imaging and diagnostic tools help us provide accurate and effective orthopedic diagnoses, and we have a dedicated orthopedic surgeon on hand to perform any procedures necessary.
Dr. Zachary Smith
Dr. Smith is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and specializes in complex orthopedic and soft tissue surgery, including Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) and advanced soft cell surgeries.
Attending California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo, Dr. Smith achieved a BS in Animal Science. He continued his education at the University of California Davis, from which he graduated with honors and achieved his doctorate in veterinary medicine. After graduating, Dr. Smith completed a small animal internship at Animal Specialty Group (ASG) in Los Angeles before completing his training with a three-year surgical residency with Sage Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care.
Common Orthopedic Conditions
There is a wide range of orthopedic conditions that affect cats and dogs. The following are among the most common:
Hip dysplasia is the medical name for a hip socket that does not entirely cover the ball section of the upper thighbone, causing the hip joint to dislocate partially or completely. It is most common in German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and other large breed dogs.
Total hip replacement is the most effective surgical treatment for hip dysplasia. The surgeon replaces the entire joint with metal and plastic implants, returning hip function to a more normal range.
Cruciate Ligament Tears
Torn cruciate ligaments in dogs, just like in people, must be surgically repaired to prevent arthritis. There are several surgical methods that may be performed to heal this damage, and the type chosen is usually determined by the size of the dog.
CCL surgery for dogs may include a number of different techniques that aim to provide stability to the joint.
The patella (knee cap) lies in a cartilaginous groove at the end of the femur at the stifle. When the knee cap slides out of its natural position, this is referred to as a luxating patella. Knee cap issues are frequent in a wide range of dog breeds, both large and tiny.
Surgery is recommended for animals that have significant lameness as a result of luxating patellas, with the goal of keeping the patella in its appropriate location at all times.
Just like humans, dogs can develop disc problems in their necks and backs. Breeds that commonly suffer from neck disc problems are Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Dachshunds, and Lhasa Apsos. Large breed dogs are more likely to have chronic lower back issues.
Dogs with advanced disc disease should have surgery as soon as possible. The sooner that surgery is done, the better the prognosis.
Veterinary Orthopedic Surgery FAQs
- What happens during the surgical consultation?
During the surgical consultation, we will perform a physical exam and review your pet’s medical history. Bloodwork and any other diagnostic tests that are needed to determine the nature of your pet's condition will also be undertaken at this time.
Diagnostics may include X-rays, a CT scan, an ultrasound, or biopsies. Once the results are back, a plan for surgery is developed and discussed with you.
- Will the surgery and consultation happen on the same day?
No. The consultation appointment is required for testing and examination, to determine the nature of your pet's health problem. Once any diagnostic test results have come back from our lab, a surgery appointment can be scheduled.
- How long will the surgery take?
Orthopedic procedures generally take 2 to 4 hours to complete, depending on the type of surgery and your pet's unique ailment.
- Does my pet have to stay at the hospital overnight either before or after the surgery?
Depending on the time of day that the surgery is scheduled, it may be necessary to drop your pet off the night before.
Many of our patients need to stay with us overnight after surgery so that we can monitor them as they recover. Depending on the type of surgery that is performed and how quickly they recover after anesthesia and surgery, your pet may be able to go home on the same day.