If your pet needs advanced surgery, then you can rest assured that he or she is in capable hands in our Surgery Department. Our team’s goal is to provide thorough pre-operative assessment, advanced diagnostic and surgical expertise, and compassionate post-operative care for all our patients.

Available Services/Technology:

  • Anesthesia delivery and monitoring systems including blood pressure monitoring, pulse oximetry, electrocardiography, capnography, and mechanical ventilation
  • Diagnostic services including in-house laboratory service, digital radiography, digital orthopedic planning and CT scan
  • Fluoroscopy for intra-operative imaging
  • Arthroscopy for minimally invasive joint procedures
  • Fracture repair using a full range of implant systems including bone plating, interlocking nail fixation, and external fixation
  • Post-operative care facilities include incubators, rewarming units, intravenous fluid pumps, and oxygen therapy when needed
  • 24 hour post-operative care provided in collaboration with the hospital’s skilled and caring Emergency Department veterinarians and nursing staff and support team.

What to Expect:

If your pet is having surgery, he or she should not eat after midnight the evening prior to your pet’s surgery (unless your pet is diabetic or young, in which case, please feed them as per usual). However, he or she should have free access to water and should continue to receive any previously prescribed medications, unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.

We understand that having your pet undergo a surgical procedure can be stressful. Rest assured that our hospital will keep your pet comfortable during and after surgery. The most common pain management techniques we use include:

  • Constant rate infusions
  • Injectable medications
  • Nerve and joint block/local anesthetics
  • Oral medications
  • Spinal or epidural administration of analgesics

Emergency Advice Service for Clients

The Surgery Department offers an after-hours advice service for clients with pets recovering from surgery performed at our facility. Clients may contact the London Regional Veterinary Emergency and Referral Hospital at 519-432-3300 to provide the necessary information, and a veterinary technician from the Surgery Service will return your call within approximately one hour.

Commonly Performed Procedures:

  • Orthopedic
    • TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) for Cruciate Ligament Rupture
    • Extracapsular Reconstruction for Cruciate Ligament Rupture (also known as lateral imbrication, fabella-tibial suture technique)
    • Patella Luxation Correction
    • Fracture Repair
    • Joint Reconstructions and Arthrodesis (Fusion)
    • Arthroscopic Surgery for OCD, Elbow Dysplasia, and Other Joint Conditions
  • Soft Tissue
    • Tumour Resections
    • Abdominal and Thoracic Procedures
    • Corrective Surgery for Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
    • Laryngeal Paralysis Surgery
    • Portosystemic Shunt (PSS) Surgery
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Disease

The most common cause of rear limb lameness in dogs is a tear or rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This painful injury allows degenerative changes to occur in the pet's stifle joint (which, despite its location, actually corresponds to the human knee joint). Just as in people, this is a delicate joint, prone to traumatic injury, in which the 'kneecap' is held in place on top of the tibia by two cruciate ligaments. Rupture can occur when the joint is rotated unexpectedly, hyperextended, or when it is hit catastrophically from the side or the front. Certain conformational defects, such as crooked legs, can also lead to a slow degeneration of the joint over time.

There is a surgical correction, however, that can help alleviate the problem. Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, or TPLO, is a procedure which puts the animal's knee joint back in proper alignment. During the surgery, the leg bones are cut and rotated to their proper positions and then stabilized using a metal plate and bone screws. As with any kind of complicated orthopedic surgery, the recovery period is crucial and the animal's activity must be severely limited. Patients must not be allowed to jump, play, run, climb up and down stairs, or do much more than walk quietly on a leash.

Elbow Dysplasia

The term elbow dysplasia refers to a degenerative disease of the elbow joint. There are several different potential causes for the problem, that may occur singly or at the same time in the same animal. Elbow dysplasia occurs primarily in medium to large breed dogs. Dogs with elbow dysplasia typically show signs of lameness before reaching one year of age, although in some cases lameness may not become apparent until middle age.

The treatment for this disease can involve surgical and/or medical options. If you think your dog is experiencing problems in his or her elbow joint, be sure to discuss your concerns with your veterinarian.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a hereditary, developmental disease that affects the hip joints of dogs. Certain breeds are more likely to be affected than others. Although its occurrence in large and giant breeds is well documented, there is evidence that it may also be present in smaller breed dogs and cats as well.

Poor conformation of the hip and thigh bone structures result in a 'looseness' of this ball and socket joint. This looseness allows the ball part of the joint to move in the socket, instead of remaining stable as it should in a healthy, normal, tight fit. This abnormal movement can create wear and tear in the joint, leading to arthritis. Although signs of the disease do not typically appear until after the dog matures, puppies as young as five to six months can be affected. Hip pain, stiffness, abnormal gait patterns, an
audible 'clicking' sound while walking, and a reluctance to exercise are all possible signs of hip dysplasia.

The disease is usually diagnosed using radiographs, or x-rays. The treatment for this condition is primarily surgical. In one type of procedure, the Triple Pelvic Osteotomy, or TPO, the bones of the pelvis are cut apart and rotated to more correct positions. In Total Hip Replacement (THR) procedures, a dog's diseased hip joints are replaced with prosthetic ones. The goal of both surgeries is to provide your pet with some measure of normal activity and function and to reduce the pain associated with the condition. A very high level of success is reported with these surgeries. However, as with all major procedures, it is very important to follow your veterinary surgeon's recommendations regarding recovery and rehabilitation.

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian

Many owners are increasingly seeking specialized care for their pets, just as they do with other family members, in order to secure the very best outcome. If your pet is facing surgery, here are some questions you may wish to ask your general practitioner veterinarian:

How often have you performed this type of surgery?

Does the surgery require any special equipment?

Is it available?

Does my pet's surgery require a specialist?

What should I expect the outcome of the surgery to be?

What follow up care is necessary?

Source: The American College of Veterinary Surgeons

What Additional Training Does A Board Certified Veterinary Surgeon Have?

Veterinarians who want to become board certified in small animal surgery must seek additional, intensive training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. Specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). A veterinarian who has received this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVS,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVS. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:

Obtained a degree in veterinary medicine from a university certified by the American Veterinary Medical Association following completion of undergraduate requirements.

Completed a one year general internship, plus an additional three to four years of advanced training in a residency at a veterinary teaching hospital where the veterinarian will have trained with some of the best surgeons in the field and obtained hands on experience. Surgery residents also have to complete a case log in soft tissue, orthopedic, and neurologic surgery.

Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVS, including publication of research results.

Passed a rigorous examination.

After completing and passing all of these rigorous requirements, the veterinarian is then recognized by his or her peers as a board certified specialist in veterinary surgery. When your pet needs the care of a veterinary surgeon, years of additional training and education will be focused on helping him or her to recover from injury or illness and enjoy the highest quality of life possible.

Will My Pet Be in Pain?

Surgery is a major medical procedure and is often associated with pain in both animals and humans. You can be assured that your veterinary team (your pet's primary care veterinarian, veterinary surgeon, and any other veterinary specialists involved in your pet's care) will prescribe pain management options to help keep your pet as comfortable as possible before, during, and after surgery. If you are concerned about pain management for your pet, simply ask your veterinarian.

Our Surgery Team

Veterinary Specialist
Veterinary Specialist
Veterinary Specialist

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