What are Lubra Plates?

Lubra plates are surgical stabilization implants that can be used in dogs to provide stabilization of vertebral fractures or dislocations as well as for fractures of the pelvis, shoulder, chest and eye socket area. Flexible Lubra plates are curved, produced in pairs, and available in different sizes for dogs. They are made of plastic, which makes them flexible and allows them to adapt to the required stabilization task, especially in the vertebral column. The Lubra plates have many holes, allowing them to be adjusted and fixed appropriately with orthopedic screws or bolts to adjacent bony structures, providing support for damaged or displaced bones. They are also customizable, making them very useful for repair during surgery. These plates can be implanted in your dog to address compromises in bones by a veterinary surgeon under general anaesthetic. 

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Lubra Plates Procedure in Dogs

Lubra plates are flexible, surgical, plastic plates that can be implanted into your dog and fastened to adjacent bony processes to provide stabilization to fractured or displaced bone structures. They come in a variety of sizes. Small Lubra plates can be used in the eye socket to provide stabilization to damaged orbital bones, larger plates can provide structure to pelvic and scapular fractures. Pairs are often used on either side of vertebral processes to “splint” injured vertebrae.

Prior to surgical implantation, multiple radiographs will be used to diagnose and plan the repair of fracture or subluxation of spine or other damaged bone. Your dog will be put under general anaesthetic and will require fasting prior to surgery so as not to cause complications during general anesthetic administration with gastric contents. The area required for surgical incision will have hair removed, and be cleaned and draped with surgical drapes to maintain a sterile surgical site. 

Lubra plates to be used will have been sterilized in an autoclave prior to surgery. An incision will be made dorsally on your dog’s back if vertebra are being treated, or as appropriate to access other damaged bone. The damaged vertebra or bone will be isolated. The Lubra plates have multiple holes which will be aligned to allow fixation with orthopedic screws or bolts to healthy boney processes adjacent to the damaged or displaced bones. If ribs are being repaired, the plates may be wired to remaining rib ends. If necessary, Lubra plates can be cut to fit the patient's needs or shaped or drilled with surgical tubes to adapt them as necessary to provide appropriate stabilization. To apply to spinal processes, two or more plates are placed along both sides of damaged vertebral and bolts placed through to secure them. Plates are tightened so they bend around the spinous processes. Once plates have been appropriately placed, incisions are closed and your dog will be put into recovery from anesthetic. Pain killer will be administered at the time of surgery and will continue post surgically.

Efficacy of Lubra Plates in Dogs

Lubra plates may not be as effective in young animals that do not have well calcified bones. In mature animals, prognosis is very good and Lubra plates provide effective stabilization of vertebral fractures and other bone fractures requiring similar stabilization. The availability of different sizes and their flexibility and customizability allow them to be applied to a variety of uses effectively.

Lubra Plates Recovery in Dogs

After surgical implant, your dog should be kept on cage rest and activity restricted for 30 days.

If spinal cord injury has accompanied vertebral injury, additional measures to provide supportive care post surgery may be necessary, if fluid build up in the spinal canal occurs. Most dogs can move effectively within 24 hours of surgery and care should be taken to ensure that they do not overexert themselves or cause damage to surgical wounds. Surgical wounds should be monitored for signs of rupture or infection. Casting is not necessary. Follow-up examination will be required to remove nonabsorbable stitches and assess neurological functioning if vertebral stabilization was provided.

Cost of Lubra Plates in Dogs

The cost of Lubra plate insertion varies depending on the location of implant and customization required during the surgical procedure. The cost of living in your area is also a factor. This is a specialized surgery and a veterinary surgeon with training on implantation of Lubra plates is required contributing to cost. The cost of Lubra plate surgical repair in dogs ranges from $1,000 to $2,000.

Dog Lubra Plates Considerations

Lubra plate implants, in area of high motion or stress, may experience instability caused by demineralization of bone. Implant failure is possible, although not common. Lubra plate implantation is limited in young animals without fully calcified bones and in animals where intact dorsal spinous processes are not available to provide stable connection of plates. Lubra plates may not be suitable where multiple spinal segments are compromised. Another limitation associated with Lubra plate usage is their use in cervical or lumbosacral regions where spinous processes may not be large enough for plate attachment.

Risks associated with surgery, including administration of anesthesia and infection, are present as with other surgical procedures. Damage to nerves in the spinal column can occur with vertebral compromise and may exist prior to, or occur during, implantation of Lubra plates.

Lubra Plates Prevention in Dogs

Preventing accidents and spinal wounds from bites from other animals will reduce the likelihood of vertebral damage requiring vertebral stabilization with Lubra plates. Ensure that dogs are kept fenced or on leashes outside to reduce likelihood of motor vehicle accidents and fights with other dogs.