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It can be an amazing experience for a pet owner to watch their cat racing through their home, leaping from one piece of furniture to the next, or see their dog leap in the air to catch a Frisbee in the yard or the local dog park. In most cases, pets enjoy their play time just as much as their owners enjoy watching them, but over time all those acrobatics begin to take their toll on a pet's body and the time comes when it's not so fun anymore. It is important that pet owners pay attention to signs that their pets are in pain and the possibility that they may need medical attention beyond ordinary veterinary care, and may even require orthopedic surgery.
As a pet parent you probably know your pet fairly well, and although you don't speak the same language it doesn't mean you don't communicate. For the most part pets, especially dogs, love to please their owners. But there may come a time when they aren't quite up to taking whatever you or life has thrown at them.
Physical Symptoms - If a particular area of your pet's body is injured, it is possible that you will be able to see redness or swelling in that area. If you notice your pet is tending to one of their limbs or joints more than usual, it is a good idea to make note of it, and check to see if there are any symptoms you can report to their veterinarian.
Slowed Movement - If your pet is not moving as quickly, or suddenly wants to sleep more often than usual, or outright refuses to take their regular walks or exercise it's a good sign that they may be experiencing some wear and tear or even a specific injury that needs to be evaluated by someone who knows how an animal's musculoskeletal system works.
Vocalizations - If your pet seems to yelp or howl in pain while doing tricks that are standard for them, or even during normal movement, it is time to pay attention. It could be that the pain may pass, but it could also mean the start of a bigger problem. Note how often incidents happen, and if they are increasing in duration. A trip to the Edmonton Hospital may be required if their discomfort is too great.
Behavior Changes - If your pet is simply not themselves, this is another sign that they may be hurting. Many cats are more likely to simply act withdrawn or hide when they are suffering. Animals in general may act more aggressive, even to those they know, if they are dealing with pain.
Ultimately, the only way to really know if an animal needs orthopedic surgery is to have them evaluated by a veterinary orthopedic surgeon at the pet hospital. At Edmonton Animal Hospital Spay & Neuter Centre, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, both of our vets, Dr. Steve Mills and Dr. Ignacio "Nash" Tan are highly skilled and able to evaluate your pet to see if they can benefit from surgery. Dr. Tan is also certified in performing TPLO surgeries on dogs that have experienced joint ruptures.
When making your pet's appointment with the vet, it is important to be as thorough as possible when listening to your pet's symptoms and be prepared to bring your pet to the hospital for evaluation as soon as possible. Your pet's diagnosis will likely be based on their reported symptoms and then verify with imaging tests and give appropriate recommendations. The need for orthopedic surgery can happen to pets of all ages. What is most important is that your pet is able to enjoy their life as much as possible, regardless of their age.
There are various types of orthopedic surgery that may potentially help your pet depending on their injury. Some are designed to repair a fracture or heal a ligament or joint. They might also need hip or knee replacement, surgery for problems with their elbow or shoulder joints, or they may need to correct a disc herniation. Some of these options may be more invasive than others, but our vets are ready to discuss the possible procedures as well as recovery strategies to make the experience as easy to handle as possible.
The sooner we know about a potential injury, at Edmonton Animal Hospital Spay & Neuter Centre, the better we are able to treat it, and the better chance your pet has at recovery. We recommend bringing your pet in for an orthopedic surgery evaluation as soon as possible. Our evaluations look for damage to the joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles and skeletal system. Because there is a lot at stake, we make it a priority to see these patients at the first possible opportunity. Call us at 780.989.5595 to schedule an evaluation with one of our vets at Edmonton South Animal Hospital Spay & Neuter Centre.