As in the world of human medicine, the veterinary orthopedist is a specialist in great demand in the world of pets; being able to assist and treat animals with the most varied complications, pathologies or fractures in bones, rupture of ligaments, degenerations in joints or muscles.
Taking into account that a good part of accidents with dogs and cats result in broken paws or various dislocations, it is easy to understand the importance and the great demand around the veterinary orthopedist; since it is this specialist - and other veterinary professionals - who will analyze, diagnose and treat problems from the most common to the most evolved related to this specialty.
Although traumas due to falls or sprains are, most likely, the main responsible for dogs and cats going to this specialist; there are also other congenital (birth) problems that can be solved in the hands of a veterinary orthopedist, including complications of relatively large incidence in the canine world, such as hip dysplasia, dislocation of the patella and herniated disc.
With advances in technology in human and veterinary medicine, these specialists can now count on the help of a series of tools that until some time ago did not exist in the world of animal medicine; including radiographs, digital x-rays, magnetic resonances and even computed tomography - enabling the definition of more complete and concrete diagnoses, which can help a lot in choosing a specific type of treatment and, consequently, in the total recovery of the animal.
Acting mainly in terms of promoting complete and unimpeded mobility for dogs and cats (among other animals), the veterinary orthopedist is one of the most powerful tools among specialized professionals in the world of animal medicine. Check below how the work of these important professionals works and how it helps maintain the well-being and quality of life of pets of all sizes, breeds and personalities.
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Veterinary orthopedics in practice
As previously mentioned, both technology and many of the veterinary medicine specialties they started to stand out only over the last 15 years - evolving a lot since then and promoting, today, a completely personalized service focused on the problem faced by patients.
As is already popular wisdom, most accidents and occurrences involving domestic animals such as dogs or cats are caused by common events, such as falls and crashes, for example - and which, although not serious enough to lead the animal to death , can generate permanent changes in its structure, forever compromising mobility and, consequently, the level of welfare of the pet in question.
It is precisely in this type of case (in addition to many others) that the veterinary orthopedist is most active; who takes care of all kind of injury, fracture or dislocation that can weaken the bones, joints, muscles and ligaments of dogs and cats.
Although, in general, people believe that paws and bones tend to be the most affected portions in the event of a fall or a strong bump; there are many cases in which, in addition to the bone structure, an accident can cause damage to the joints, ligaments and musculature of the animal - and it is up to the orthopedist to make a thorough assessment in search of possible complications that cannot be noticed with the naked eye, ensuring the physical integrity of the animal and its complete recovery.
For this to happen, more and more companies and enterprises in the pet sector are already opening their doors so that professionals in the field can take even more in-depth courses in specialization in veterinary orthopedics - many of which have practical classes, where the student can stay face to face with real cases and both monitor and assist in the assessment of a patient's specific case; gaining more experience and better understanding about the various types of diseases, accidents and conditions that can influence and impair the mobility and quality of life of a domestic animal.
Helping even more to treat animals with orthopedic problems, the equipment that perform imaging tests are also powerful tools of veterinary orthopedics; allowing all regions covered by this specialty to be analyzed and investigated in a clear and precise manner through non-invasive procedures on animals.
As mentioned in the introduction to this article, traditional radiographs, digital x-rays, magnetic resonances and computed tomography are some of the most important and valuable exams to promote accurate diagnoses in the world of animal orthopedics - allowing full visualization of joints, ligaments and bone structure of patients and, thus, expanding the chances of an efficient treatment that can cure the animal completely, whether or not it requires orthopedic surgery.
Animals prone to orthopedic problems
Although all dogs and cats are likely to have a fracture at some point in their lives (since in many cases they are extremely agitated and playful; practicing activities where accidents can be quite frequent), there are some characteristics that can greatly increase the risks of the appearance of orthopedic complications in the life of an animal.
In the canine world these characteristics are quite clear, and both the size, the breed and the age of the dogs can already indicate a greater chance that the animal faces an orthopedic complication. In the chaos of large dogs, for example, such as the Rotweiller, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Great Dane and Labrador Retriever breeds; hip dysplasia is a real possibility, mainly due to the large size - which promotes the development of problems in the hip region.
While puppies fear dysplasia, small puppies of breeds such as Poodle, Maltese, Pinscher, Lhasa Apso and Yorkshire already have a greater probability of dislocations in the patella and aseptic necrosis of the femoral head; and the discomfort in the knee area of animals with such characteristics is usually quite frequent, even if the animal is still young. In the case of elongated little ones, like Dachshund dogs, herniated disc problems are more common; precisely because of the long length of its columns.
Finally, regardless of size or breed, any dog or cat of advanced age or overweight may also be a veterinary orthopedics patient - since age can greatly compromise the resistance of the animal's structures; as well as obesity, which can both facilitate accidents and loss of mobility of the pet.
Main complications treated by veterinary orthopedics
As described throughout the text, there is a group of complications considered among the most common in the world of veterinary orthopedics (and which may or may not need orthopedic surgery to be solved), considered among the most feared of pet owners in search for well-being and quality of life for your pets. Find out what they are, below:
- Coxo-femoral and elbow dysplasia These congenital or acquired problems usually affect large dogs more, causing great difficulty in locomotion and pain to the animal; and can be alleviated and treated by professionals in the specialty (through orthopedic surgeries, in most cases)
- Arthrosis or arthritis The aging of the animal causes a series of changes in its structures; damaging, mainly, the degeneration of their joints - a factor that increases the chances of trauma, among other orthopedic problems.
- Herniated disc Serious spinal problems such as herniated discs - which cause acute pain and the animal's inability to move normally; affecting even your appetite and the act of urinating and defecating - they are treated by means of orthopedic spine surgeries.
- Patellar dislocation The dislocation of the animal's knee patella is also usually treated by means of orthopedic surgery as soon as possible after its diagnosis, obtaining very positive results - it can also be treated in a clinical way when detected with little severity.
- Cranial cruciate ligament rupture Usually caused by trauma, excessive force on the knee joint or obesity, ligament tears are also treated with surgery, in most cases; being that, as in the other cases that require surgical procedures, it needs the support of veterinary physiotherapy sessions in the postoperative period (and in the preoperative period, depending on the case).
- Fractures Falls, crashes, fights between animals, being run over and a series of minor accidents can cause major fractures and trauma in animals; it can result in sprains and broken bones, among other complications under the responsibility of the veterinary orthopedist.
It is worth remembering that there are a series of typical signs that can be noticed in animals with some type of orthopedic problem, and you need to be aware of your pet to identify symptoms such as:
- Difficulty walking
- Lame walking (lameness)
- Difficulty getting up or lying down
- Pain or crying when moving
- Avoid supporting or using a specific member when moving
- Frequently lick or bite a specific member
- Avoid moving or spending too much time in the same position
- Swelling around the bones
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty defecating or urinating
- Dog Health, Cat Health
- fracture, dislocation, orthopedics, orthopedist, veterinary orthopedist, veterinarian
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