What is orthopaedic surgery?
Orthopaedic surgery is the surgical correction of any form of bone defect. Most orthopaedic surgery involves some amount of soft tissue surgery as most bones are covered by degrees of soft tissue such as muscles, tendons, skin or ligaments.
Why would my pet need orthopaedic surgery?
Most orthopaedic surgery is either the repair of a fracture, usually associated with a traumatic incident or the surgical correction of a joint problem such as a luxating patella or ruptured cruciate ligament.
What should I expect when my pet goes in?
Most pets will need to come into the clinic on the morning of the surgery. After filling out a hospital admission form, one of our dedicated team will admit them to the hospital ward. You are more than welcome to go with our staff to help them settle in although with all the new sights & sounds most pets are too excited to be worried. After a pre-anaesthetic examination by the surgeon, an intravenous catheter is placed and blood may be taken if the vet has recommended blood tests.
Sedation is usually administered a couple of hours prior to surgery to help facilitate a smooth & gentle transition to general anaesthesia.
What happens during surgery?
When the pet is ready for surgery general anaesthesia is administered from an intravenous injection and an inhalational gas through a tube placed in the windpipe. During the anaesthesia & surgical procedure our team of dedicated nursing staff will monitor your pet’s blood pressure, breathing rate and blood oxygen levels. Some animals may need nerve blocks such as epidurals which are generally administered under general anesthetic prior to surgery starting. These help with pain relief during and after the surgical procedure. Intravenous fluids are also administered prior to and during the surgery to help hydrate your pet & maintain their blood pressure.
During recovery your pet is consistently monitored by our team of well trained nurses to ensure they are clean, dry, warm and settled. If a bandage has been applied the nurses will monitor your pet to ensure that they adjust to it & don’t lick or chew at it or their sutures. If this is the case, or if you have doubts about being able to stop them licking or chewing we will place an Elizabethan collar around their neck to stop this. These should be worn at all times unless full supervision can be given
When can my pet go home?
Generally after orthopaedic operations pets can go home the day following the surgery once they are up, walking & their pain is under control. If the surgeon has any concerns about the recovery of your pet they will opt for further hospitalisation overnight to monitor them closely.
What will I need to do once my pet is home?
It is important to follow the discharge instructions given. Most pets need to be kept restricted for a period of time, generally up to 6 weeks depending on what surgery they have undergone. It is important to monitor the wound & contact your friendly team if you are at all worried. All medication (including pain relief) must be given to the end of its course & all recommended post-surgical checks must be followed. If your pet has a bandage, follow up checks will be required & the bandage may need to be replaced on a regular basis.
Post-operative x-rays may be required 6-8 weeks after the surgery to check on the progress of the bone healing. It must be remembered that bone healing is a natural process & as such there is normal variation with the speed of healing between animals. If you have any concerns don’t hesitate to contact the team at MVH.