Educational Articles

Surgical Conditions

  • Lameness refers to an inability to properly use one or more limbs. It is most often associated with pain or injury. The most common causes of acute or sudden lameness in dogs are soft tissue injury (strain or sprain), injury to a joint, bone fracture, or dislocation. Osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia may also cause lameness in dog. Your veterinarian will determine the best course of action based on your pet's condition and the results of diagnostic tests. Lameness of unknown origin is common in dogs of all types and sizes. In some cases, a trial with anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary.

  • Laryngeal paralysis is a condition that causes dysfunction of the larynx causing reduced ability to breathe deeply and can obstruct the airway. It can be a congenital condition of young dogs or may be due to a neuromuscular disease in older dogs. Clinical signs include coughing, noisy breathing, exercise intolerance, and there may be a change in the sound of the bark. Definitive diagnosis is made thorough examination of the larynx with an endoscope or laryngoscope under sedation. Treatment of mild cases involves environmental management to reduce any stress to the larynx with medications used for flareups. More severe or congenital cases require surgery.

  • LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation. In short, it is a device that generates a beam of light energy at a specific wavelength. The first laser was developed in 1960, and its use in human surgery became widespread in the late 1980's.

  • LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation. In short, it is a device that generates a beam of light energy at a specific wavelength. The first laser was developed in, and its use in human surgery became widespread in the late 1980's.

  • The femoral head is the ball part of the hip joint and if it develops necrosis or dies, it can no longer function properly. Necrosis is due to loss of the blood supply to the femoral head, which may be the result of a growth abnormality or trauma to the hip. It is a hereditary condition of small breed dogs. The most common clinical signs are slowly progressing hind limb lameness, with resulting inability to bear weight on the affected limb or both hind limbs. Diagnosis is made by radiographs of the hip joint. The treatment of choice is femoral head and neck ostectomy which results in a good prognosis.

  • The lens is the transparent structure within the eye that focuses light on the retina. The lens can fall backwards into the eye known as a posterior luxation, where it rarely causes discomfort, or it can fall forwards into the eye, called an anterior luxation. Anterior luxation blocks the drainage of fluid from the eye resulting in glaucoma or increased intra-ocular pressure (IOP). An anterior (forward) luxation is an emergency and can lead to further complications such as glaucoma and blindness. Surgery can help preserve vision if done promptly, but ultimately some cases may lead to removal of the entire eye. If the lens luxates posteriorly, or falls into the back of the eye, it causes little or no discomfort. These cases may not require any treatment.

  • One especially dangerous type of foreign body in cats is referred to as a linear foreign body. This term describes long, thin objects such as string, yarn, and tinsel. If one end of the linear foreign body becomes lodged in the gastrointestinal tract, intestinal perforation may occur. The most common signs of a linear foreign body include vomiting, anorexia (refusal to eat), dehydration, and lethargy. If your veterinarian suspects a linear foreign body, your cat will need an exploratory laparotomy.

  • Cauda equina syndrome or lumbosacral syndrome is a condition caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal and results in compression of the spinal nerve roots; pressure on the nerves that exit the spine cause the clinical signs. This pressure may be due to a narrowed spinal canal caused by arthritis, intervertebral disc herniation, an infection in the disc, trauma, congenital malformation, or a spinal tumor. Dogs with lumbosacral syndrome are in pain. If the clinical signs and radiographs are suggestive of cauda equina syndrome, a myelogram, is performed. Treatment of cauda equina involves either conservative medical treatment or surgical intervention. This is dependent upon the duration and severity of the signs, as well as the owner's finances.

  • The patella connects the femur and the tibia and is normally located in a groove called the trochlear groove found at the end of the femur. A luxating patella is a kneecap that 'pops out' or moves out of its normal location. The patella will luxate or slip out of the groove during extension of the leg if the trochlear groove is too shallow, if the cat is bow-legged or cow-hocked, or if the point of attachment on the tibia is off-center. There are 4 grades of patellar luxation, and a higher grade means that the condition is more severe. Your veterinarian will diagnose a luxating patella by feeling the displaced kneecap during palpation of the leg. A luxating patella can be corrected surgically, especially if the patella luxates frequently. If your veterinarian performs surgery before arthritis or other knee injury occurs, the prognosis is excellent.

  • The patella, or kneecap, is normally located in a groove on the end of the femur (thigh bone) just above the stifle (knee). The term luxating means out of place or dislocated. Therefore, a luxating patella is a kneecap that moves out of its normal location. Pet owners may notice a skip in their dog's step or see their dog run on three legs. Then suddenly they will be back on all four legs as if nothing happened. Many toy or small breed dogs, including Maltese, Chihuahua, French Poodles, and Bichon Frise dogs, have a genetic predisposition for a luxating patella. Surgery should be performed if your dog has recurrent or persistent lameness or if other knee injuries occur secondary to the luxating patella.