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Exploring Dog and Cat Orthopedic Surgery Options

Dogs and cats move with great intensity and speed. As a result, their musculoskeletal system sustains an immense amount of stress throughout their lives. Even at a young age, one wrong move can easily result in a serious injury to the animal's back, neck, shoulders or limbs. Repeated impacts throughout life can also wear down these musculoskeletal components and result in extensive damage. In many cases, the only way to restore mobility and eliminate pain is through orthopedic surgical repair.  Since the success of the orthopedic surgery often depends on prompt treatment of the sustained injury, pet owners must report all symptoms to their vet immediately upon noticing the problem.

Signs and Symptoms

vets putting cast on dogPet owners may initially notice that their pet is having trouble moving freely without wincing, whimpering or crying out in pain. Most breeds of dogs are more likely to vocalize their discomfort than cats, however. As a result, it is wise for owners to watch for uncharacteristic stoic behavior or withdrawal from attention.  Upon inspecting the injured area, pet owners may also notice redness, swelling and excessive warmth.

When making a call to the vet, pet owners can list their cat or dog's symptoms when asked for the reason for making the appointment. Upon hearing of a suspected acute injury, clinic staff will attempt to work the pet into the schedule as early as possible. While performing the exam, vets can use the reported symptoms to make an initial diagnosis before confirming the findings with imaging tests.

Orthopedic Surgery Options

There are several surgical options available for the full range of orthopedic injuries. Most of the orthopedic surgery techniques fall under the following categories:

  • Ligament, joint and fracture repair
  • Elbow and shoulder arthroscopy
  • Hip and knee replacement
  • Disc herniation surgery

Vets use a combination of traditional and minimally invasive surgical techniques to make the necessary repairs. Before creating the surgical plan, vets perform several precise imaging scans to identify the cause of the pet's reported symptoms. The images also help vets plan the surgical repairs in detail to complete the procedure quickly and thoroughly.


After the dog or cat undergoes orthopedic injury, it is important to keep them from reinjuring the repaired area during the recovery process. Pet owners often need to use a crate to keep their pet resting in a neutral position. The pet will return to the clinic a week or two after the surgery for a follow up evaluation.

Scheduling An Orthopedic Surgery Evaluation

When cats or dogs exhibit signs of a serious musculoskeletal injury, it is vital that their owners call right away at 780.989.5595 for an appointment with one of our vets at Edmonton South Animal Hospital. Our vets in Edmonton will evaluate the animal for signs of damage to the joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles and skeletal system. Upon making a diagnosis, a treatment plan, possibly including orthopedic surgery, will be created to restore the pet's mobility and eliminate pain.