Overview

Since pets spend most of their time moving around, they are prone to get injuries and diseases related to bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons of the body frequently. These affect their ability to move efficiently and comfortably. Orthopedics is hence of immense importance as a branch of  veterinary medicine. Modern orthopedics is concerned with the diagnosis & management of disorders of the musculoskeletal system (i.e. the bones and the soft tissues associated with it).  A wide range of orthopedic services and surgeries can be provided including:

  • Casting
  • Splinting
  • Full bone plating
  • Pinning
  • Pain management
  • Achilles’ tendon injuries’ treatment
  • Mandibular fracture treatment
  • Treatment of osteochondrosis of the shoulder
  • Bone tumor treatment
  • Atlantoaxial instability treatment
  • Arthritis treatment
  • Cranial cruciate ligament tear
  • ACL and other ruptured ligament repairs
  • Broken bone (fracture) repairs
  • Hip dysplasia corrective surgery
  • Joint cartilage disturbance corrections
  • Limb amputations and much more..

Common Orthopedic Problems In Pets

  • Cruciate ligament tear: It occurs when the animal does a fast pivot when running or playing. This leads to misalignments in the natural structures of the leg in the animal.
  • Patellar luxation: It occurs when the kneecap fails to be held in the right position. Thus, causing it to slip out of alignment.
  • Osteoarthritis: It is a progressive condition in older animals from normal wear and tear of joints. It can result in severe disability in the animal.
  • Other sudden musculoskeletal injuries may also occur due to accidents like falls, fractures, gunshot wounds, etc.

Mechanism of Injury

Injuries may be blunt or penetrating. They may occur by external insult, such as a cut by a knife, or indirectly, such as a nerve damaged by the sharp end of a bone.

Types of Wounds And Their Closure/Treatment

  • Wounds may be superficial (abrasions, incised wounds, lacerations, deep wounds, contusion, gunshot wounds, haematoma, etc.).
  • According to their type, techniques of closure (suture, skin grafting, etc.)  may also be different.

Diagnosis

Veterinarian may order a number of tests to determine the extent and severity of a problem:

  • Blood work
  • X-rays
  • MRI, etc.

Treatment

Veterinarians can offer a wide range of treatment options for your pet’s orthopedic care which may be conservative, non-invasive care or even surgery.

  • Osteoarthritis pain and stiffness can we helped with supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
  • Number of veterinary prescription medications are also used for this purpose.
  • Cruciate ligament injuries may require surgery to repair the ligament.
  • Similarly patellar relaxation can be repaired by tightening the feet of the knee cap within its group in any joint.
  • Hip dysplasia can be corrected with surgery but older animals with severe problems may require joint replacement surgery.

 As with humans, pets often required physical therapy to improve improve functions as part of the treatment of orthopaedic problems

Pre And Post Operative Care

Pre-operative care helps in making the surgery go as smoothly as possible.

  • First step is discussing all the possible treatment options thoroughly so as to make an informed choice.
  • The night before the surgery, the caretaker must withhold all food after the final meal. However, there is no need to withhold water.
  • On the morning, take the pet for a walk but try to restrict the pet from all vigorous exercises including running around and jumping.
  • Arrive early.
  • Make the pet feel more relaxed.

Post-operative care involves helping the pet remain comfortable and making sure that the wound heals properly. The full healing time may take months, so therapy and extra care are of utmost importance.