Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TPLO Surgery - Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy

The TPLO or Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed on dogs and has gained much popularity in the last 20 years among boarded veterinary surgeons. It is regarded as one of the best ways to repair a cranial cruciate ligament tear.

The cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL), or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans, is a stabilizing ligament in the stifle or knee joint of a dog. When this ligament becomes damaged the patient can experience a significant amount of pain and, as a result, will be less willing to put weight on the affected leg(s), sometimes walking with a limp.

Overweight dogs have a higher risk factor for developing cruciate tears and 40-60% of dogs that develop tears in one knee will eventually develop similar problems in the other. 

The goal of the TPLO is to reduce pain, improve stability and function of the knee joint, and minimize the progression of arthritis caused by the ligament injury. Below you can see radiograph images from before and after the TPLO when the plate is placed on the bone and the angle reduced.

After TPLO
Before TPLO

The plate serves to stabilize the two joints in their new position, taking stress off of the torn ligament and thereby eliminating the pain associated with it.

Post-operative care
After surgery, the care the pet receives at home is the key to success. Failing to restrict the pet's activity at first could cause complications requiring an additional surgery to repair. The surgeon will send home detailed instructions on how to care for the pet at home and most will require owners to restrict activity to slow, controlled leash walks while the bone heals, which typically takes 8-12 weeks.

Physical rehabilitation is also highly recommended including passive range of motion and balancing exercises. Walking in the underwater treadmill is also helpful after the incision has healed to allow strengthening of the muscles without placing stress on the joints.

The prognosis for patients that have undergone TPLO surgery is good, with 85-90% of cases reporting improvement. Weight management is crucial for overweight patients in order to lessen the stress on the joints and to prevent similar problems arising in the future.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease. Retrieved from

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD): The Blocked Cat

Is this an emergency?

One of the most common emergencies we see in male cats is urinary obstruction. This is typically caused by plugs of mucus, crystals, or small stones that form in the kidneys and are passed to the bladder, becoming lodged in the urethra. This can quickly become an emergency situation especially if the urethra is fully blocked, as the bladder will continue to grow larger. If medical attention is not sought, the bladder will eventually rupture and death will occur.


The symptoms of urinary obstruction can start out mild with:
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Bloody urine
  • Urinating outside of the litter box
Once cats become completely obstructed, the following symptoms may be observed:
  • Attempting to urinate and producing nothing
  • Painful abdomen
  • Vocalizing more than normal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy


Felines with urinary obstruction are typically treated by passing a urinary catheter and removing the obstruction. For more stable cases, anesthesia is required for the procedure. The catheter is normally left in for a few days to allow the urethral inflammation to subside and intravenous fluids are administered to rectify electrolyte imbalance and rehydrate. Once the catheter is pulled, the pet is also monitored in the hospital for 24 hours to ensure he can urinate on his own before being sent home.

For recurring urinary obstruction a perineal urethrostomy (PU) can be performed to widen the opening at the end of the urethra in order to prevent future blockages. There are also several urinary diets that are specially formulated to prevent crystals from forming in the urine.

If your cat is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately before it becomes a life-threatening situation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NSAID Toxicity in Dogs: Why You Should Never Give Your Dog Ibuprofen

It is tempting to give your pet Ibuprofen when he or she looks painful. But, by dosing him with these human medications, you may be doing more harm than good. Even small doses of these medications can cause:
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Internal bleeding
  • Weakness
  • Anemia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
Larger doses can cause more serious problems such as:
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizures and other neurologic signs
  • Death
There are instances when pets get into human medications on their own. This is why it is important to keep all of your own medications out of your pet's reach. If you suspect your pet has eaten ibuprofen, tylenol, or any other human medication, it is crucial that you have him or her seen immediately by a veterinarian or call Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435.

If your pet is experiencing pain, it is always a good idea to have them seen by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and treat it appropriately. There are NSAIDs for animals that have less toxic effects while managing pain that your veterinarian can prescribe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January is National Walk Your Dog Month! 5 Reasons to Start Walking Your Dog Every Day Starting Now

January is National Walk Your Dog Month! Walking has numerous health benefits for humans and animals alike and what better time to start on a path to better health than at the beginning of a new year!

Here are 5 benefits to walking your dog:

1. Expends nervous energy.
    Walking your dog before you leave for work is a good way to relieve mild separation anxiety while you are gone. Walking provides stimulation from all of the sights, sounds, and smells as well as the physical activity that is very useful in tiring your pup out and discouraging destructive activities.

2. Socialization.
    Walking outdoors provides your dog with the opportunity to meet other dogs and people.  If a dog is not presented with many situations to socialize, he or she may become fearful and nervous.

3. Bonding time.
   Spending quality time with your dog is important and walking gives you the opportunity to share new experiences with him or her!

4. A good training aid.
    It is good to walk your dog before attempting any training exercise to, again, expend that nervous energy. Once calm, they are more able to focus on your commands.

5. Improves quality of life.
    Walking on a regular basis is excellent exercise and is beneficial for mobility, heart health, and reducing stress. All of these benefits combined can lead to a longer, healthier life.