How veterinary surgery can help a pet suffering from orthopaedic problems
PUBLISHED: 13:11 02 October 2020
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From complicated fractures to hip dysplasia, animal surgery is cutting-edge in the world of 21st century veterinary medicine.
At Christchurch Veterinary Referrals in Ipswich, where they have state-of-the-art MRI and CT imaging equipment and operating theatres, advanced surgical procedures are an everyday occurrence.
Founder Shane Morrison explains the referral unit, which takes referrals from vets across Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, has been at the forefront of UK surgical veterinary medicine for almost 20 years.
“We do all sorts of complicated surgery on small animals, including fracture repairs, hip replacements and arthroscopy – procedures that would not normally be undertaken by first opinion practices.
“As one of the few practices of our kind, we have exceptional experience in orthopaedics, spinal, neurological and soft tissue surgery.”
Orthopaedic pet surgery
The possibilities of orthopaedic surgery have grown exponentially in recent years and
Christchurch Veterinary Referrals carries out several operations every day.
“Approximately 80 per cent of our operations are orthopaedic,” Shane explains.
“The majority are complicated fracture repairs – we have a massive armamentarium of individual implants to use.
“There has been a revolution in the last 20 years in veterinary orthopaedics.”
Complicated spinal surgery, including stabilisation procedures, can also be carried out.
“Most of our spinal work is on intervertebral disc rupture, where we open up the spinal canal to remove ruptured discs,” he says.
“We have the potential to do complicated spinal surgery where we stabilise and fuse the backbone and can use customised implants.”
What can cause your dog to lose mobility?
There are all kinds of reasons for mobility problems in dogs and the practice carries out a spectrum of operations to get them moving again.
Some involve open surgery, while others are keyhole.
“We carry out joint replacements, most of which are hip joint replacements involving the use of state-of-the-art replacement prostheses that come from America,” Shane explains.
“We are one of only a few UK centres that have undergone extensive training so are licensed to use them.”
Tendon and ligament injuries can also cause mobility problems and, indeed, damaged cruciate ligaments in dogs nearly always require surgery.
Can hip dysplasia be cured in dogs?
Hip dysplasia in dogs can also cause mobility issues: “We do total hip replacement where the hip dysplasia has led to arthritis,” says Shane.
“There is also a corrective triple tibial osteotomy (TTO) procedure we can carry out on very young dogs that have bad hip dysplasia but don’t yet have arthritic change in the hips.”
How long does pet surgery take?
Operations take differing amounts of time, with more complicated procedures lasting up to a few hours.
But, Shane stresses: “We can do a complicated fracture in less than an hour because we carry them out so often and are very practiced.”
For more information visit christchurchreferral.vet