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Orthopedic Care for Dogs

Orthopedic Care for Dogs
Weight Loss for Healthier Joints

Is your dog carrying a few extra pounds? If so, then he might be facing joint pain down the road. Veterinarians warn that obesity can put extra stress on the weight-bearing joints,  causing osteoarthritis or other degenerative joint diseases. Excess weight also makes existing joint problems much worse. Schedule a wellness evaluation so your veterinarian can check your dog's weight and make any appropriate dietary or lifestyle recommendations.

Joint problems plague dogs just as commonly as they do humans. That's why orthopedic care can  improve your beloved friend's quality of life.

Common Orthopedic Issues

A dog's joint problems may result from a variety of orthopedic injuries and illnesses. In some cases, these vulnerabilities are partly inherited. For instance, certain small breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians are especially prone to luxating patella, a dislocation of the kneecap that can be painful (although even giant breeds can develop this problem). Hip dysplasia, an abnormality of the hip joints that causes pain and loss of mobility, is another common issue that seems to target certain breeds; the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has found that 61 percent of Bulldogs and 80 percent of Pugs are troubled by it, although in general, large breeds have worse rates of hip problems than small breeds. Age plays a role in orthopedic problems as well. If your senior dog has trouble getting up, climbing stairs, or running, for instance, he may have developed arthritis in his elbows, knees or hips. Last but not least, traumatic injuries may include a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or one of the other ligaments in the knee.

Orthopedic Treatment Options

Fortunately, many of these conditions can be treated successfully by your veterinarian. Mild disorders may respond well to anti-inflammatory medications or glucosamine. Your veterinarian may also recommend physical therapy to help your dog's joints. Surgery may help pets whose dysplasia, arthritis, or other degenerative condition has progressed to where it is painful or disabling.   A  luxating patella, for example, can be repaired by surgically reshaping the end of the femur and modifying the surrounding tissues.

If your pet suffers from an acute orthopedic problem like an ACL tear, modern veterinary surgical techniques can provide relief. There is more than one method of repair for an ACL, which one is used depends on your pet's size.  For small dogs, surgeons choose an extra - capsular repair, where a tough filament is placed that simulates the action of the cruciate ligament connecting the femur with the  lower leg bone bone. For large dogs, board-certified surgeons usually recommend a TPLO (triple plateau leveling osteotomy) where the surgeon alters the angle of the tibia by cutting the bone and applying a metal plate to keep the femur from sliding painfully against it. A TTA (tibial tuberosity advancement) involves reattaching the patella tendon at a different point so that it can assume the weight-bearing job of the ACL.

Your veterinarian can advise you how to try to prevent joint problems, or give you options on how to treat arthritis, whether it is medical or surgical, or a combination.

Sources:

AKC Canine Health Foundation, "Managing Canine Arthritis."

American College of Veterinary Surgeons, "Patellar Luxations."

Maro, Robert "Jeff," DVM, "FAQ About Knee Surgery in Dogs," Mayo Veterinary Services.

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, "Hip Dysplasia Statistics."

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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