Jump to section

What is Orthopedic Surgery?

Orthopedic surgery is a broad term for surgical repair of the bone or joint. A canine that has broken or fractured a bone due to trauma, or one that is suffering from a congenital condition that affects the joint, may require orthopedic surgery. In order to make surgical corrections to the bone, the dog will be referred to a veterinary specialist with training and the appropriate tools. Orthopedic Surgery is the most effective procedure for correcting an affected bone or joint and returning the patient to a normal state of health. Orthopedic surgery requires a great deal of recovery and rehabilitation time, plus the cost of surgery itself can be high.

Orthopedic Surgery Procedure in Dogs

Orthopedic surgery, in general, uses surgical procedures that will bring the canine limb back to a normal or near normal state. The orthopedic veterinary surgeon may require the use of bone plates, pins or screws, nylon, casts or an artificial joint to achieve such a goal in orthopedic surgery. A dog that is scheduled to undergo orthopedic surgery will require heavy sedation and supplementary oxygen, as the procedure may take several hours for completion. With that being said, it is crucial for pre-surgical blood work and an overall analysis of the canine to take place. Dogs in a good quality of health are perfect candidates for an surgical orthopedic procedure. Orthopedic surgery includes a number of bone and joint correction surgery types, such as: 

  • Cruciate ligament repair 
  • Arthroscopic joint surgery
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia repair
  • Ligament and tendon reconstruction
  • Limb deformity correction 
  • Minimally-invasive fracture surgery
  • Total elbow replacement
  • Total hip replacement
  • Total knee replacement
arrow-up-icon

Top

Efficacy of Orthopedic Surgery in Dogs

Orthopedic surgery is the most effective form of surgery to correct a canine with a bone injury or joint condition. Completed by an experienced veterinary orthopedic surgeon, a canine’s limb or joint will return to a near normal state. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Orthopedic Surgery Recovery in Dogs

Orthopedic surgery requires a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation period following surgery. A dog that has undergone orthopedic surgery will require at least two weeks of exercise restrictions. The canine will not be allowed to walk around or engage in any other types of physical activity, which requires constant monitoring from the pet owner. After the initial two weeks, activity limitation will continue for four months after that and physical therapy may be recommended for the canine.  

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cost of Orthopedic Surgery in Dogs

Orthopedic surgery in dogs is costly and can cost pet owners from $100 to $3,000 to have performed. The total cost depends on the type of procedure your veterinarian is performing and the specific condition your dog is suffering from. For an accurate estimate of how much orthopedic surgery will cost for a specific condition, consult the veterinarian. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Dog Orthopedic Surgery Considerations

Orthopedic surgery can be pricey and requires several months of recovery time for the canine. If a pet owner is not financially or practically prepared for the time it takes for the canine to recover, these may be issues a pet owner may need to consider. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

Orthopedic Surgery Prevention in Dogs

Preventing the need for orthopedic surgery can be challenging for pet owners, as many causes for bone surgery are related to unexpected injury or hereditary joint conditions. To prevent possible fracture or bone breaks, it is important to practice basic canine safety precautions such as providing a fenced-in yard and using a leash outside the home. Hereditary or congenital causes for a dog to need orthopedic surgery can only be prevented through halting all reproductive practices of canines known to have the condition(s). For canines that are diagnosed with hereditary joint complications, such as hip or elbow dysplasia, orthopedic surgery is the most effective form of treatment for that dog. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Orthopedic Surgery Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Jack

dog-breed-icon

Bischon

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Discomfort
Back Left Leg

I have a 91/2 year old rescue mutt, (bischon and pug they say). He hurt his leg and after many doctor visits, xrays, it has been determined he has a ruptured knee/ACL. My doctor wants to do the TPLO, but others are suggesting a fiber surgery to replace the tendons (?) is suffecient for a dog under 30 lbs. Conflicting advise- but I also can not afford the TPLO which starts around $4500. The other is $1600. Jack still gets around, just doesn't put much weight on his hind leg and I give him Rx-metacam O-sus 1.5 Mg/ml 32 M every other day. Does the lower surgery sound ok to do?

Aug. 19, 2018

Jack's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

The choice of surgical technique is down to your Veterinarian, their determination of the best procedure and their own surgical skill; you should discuss any concerns with your Veterinarian as well will be able to discuss this in more detail. The article below goes over some factors involved when choosing a surgical technique. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarycalendar.dvm360.com/choosing-cruciate-rupture-repair-methods-proceedings

Aug. 20, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Cote

dog-breed-icon

Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Kneecap Slips

Our Vet says our Pom has Kneecap Dislocation. What surgery is needed and what will it cost? Where can we get the surgery done? Morehead City, NC. Cote's kneecap will not stay in place and she will not put weight on leg.

Aug. 17, 2018

Cote's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If the patellar is luxating and is this severe, it would require surgical correction; as for the type and approach of surgery it would depend on what the specific issue is and the best course of action the Surgeon decides as there are a few different surgeries which may be done depending on various factors. Price would vary depending on the type of surgery and your Veterinarian, the nearest Specialist I can find is around Wilmington, NC (second link) but some local Veterinarians may do the surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/patellar-luxations www.ccvss.org/services

Aug. 17, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Steele

dog-breed-icon

mixed golden and shepard

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Will Not Use Leg After Fho

My dog (4 years old) had FHO surgery at the end of May. He was losing muscle tone, not using right hind leg and this was what was recommended by our Vet for 15 years. He did discovery during the surgery that there was bone that needed to be shaved down (thinking that was the sources of the pain after the fact) but the FHO was completed. Even after rehab he still will not put complete pressure on the effected leg. I am thinking that this is a issue with the actual surgery. What can be done? Can total hip be completed after FHO has failed? My dog runs but it a hop with the rear and I am afraid that if the other leg (left) ever needs work he will never be able to support recovery because of the current situation on his right side.

July 30, 2018

Steele's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Total hip replacement may be carried out after femoral head ostectomy in some cases but many times this depends on the health of the acetabulum (the socket of the joint); your Veterinarian or Orthopaedic Surgeon will be able to tell you more depending on the overall health of the articular surface of the acetabulum. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367144/

July 31, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Octone

dog-breed-icon

Boston Terrier

dog-age-icon

12 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pain
Broken Femur

My 12 week old Boston was diagnosed with a femur fracture today. He jumped off a couch a few weeks ago and was examined but no fractures were found then. Is it possible for something to no show until now? He had no trauma to cause a fracture in the last day. He was asleep in his kennel and we all woke up to him yelping. I rushed him to the emergency vet and x-ray revealed a femur fracture that they said can only be resolved through surgery. What are the long term outcomes for a puppy who undergoes this type of surgery? This is in his hind leg.

July 22, 2018

Octone's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is difficult to say, however there are many different types of fractures and it is possible for a small transverse incomplete fracture to become a more complicated fracture with time (but we would normally see pain regardless). Without knowing the specific type of fracture I cannot say whether surgery would be required or not but if there is a complete fracture or a comminuted fracture then surgery would be indicated. The femur (only found in the hind leg) carries a lot of weight especially when running and jumping so it is important to get it fixed properly especially in a young growing pup. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.acvs.org/small-animal/fractured-limbs

July 23, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Wes

dog-breed-icon

Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Leg Shaking

My 6 month old Pomeranian puppy had orthopaedic surgery yesterday to fix a broken leg. He's back home now, wearing a cone/resting but when he walking to go for a pee- he lifts up and shakes the leg that just had surgery on. Is this normal or is this a sign he's uncomfortable with how the surgery went? Also is it bad for him to be getting up and laying down every 10 minutes or so?

July 19, 2018

Wes' Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is not unusual for pain or discomfort to be felt after surgery and Wes may just require a few days to be more comfortable with the leg; try to keep him rested but he may have difficulty getting comfortable due to some pain from the surgery. Keep an eye on him but if this continues you should visit your Veterinarian for a check. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 19, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Blackie

dog-breed-icon

Cocker spaniel mix

dog-age-icon

Five Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Mild Osteoarthris

I took my dog to the vet because he is lame from both of his legs. The radiology report found that he has "moderate effusion within the left and right stifles along with mild osteoarthritis. I was wondering what options I have for my dog considering I do not have a lot of money right now for surgery.

dog-name-icon

King "Gunner"

dog-breed-icon

German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

14 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pain

Our puppy Gunner, long hair German Shepard puppy, 33 LBS or slightly more, was injured in a vehicle accident at 14 weeks old. Hi was in his crate in the back of our truck and another person was driving. He vared off and hit a tree. The driver is doing good, Gunners hip became disconnected from his growth plate. He is healing now from bruised lung and is supposed to have surgery tomorrow. Recommended pins for only 70-80 % success and if problems he will need surgery again. or FHO - total cost now is $6,200 we can't afford two surgeries and we are opting FHO. But we are really besides ourselves. What are you thoughts?

dog-name-icon

Luigi

dog-breed-icon

Dachshund

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Limping
Pain When Lifted

My Dog wont use his back right leg, he whines or cries out when I try to pick him up, and when he gets up from laying down he cries. Also just laying there he will whine every now and then. The Vet sees nothing on Xrays but no medication seems to be working what do you think this is and should he have surgery if required since he is 12 years old

dog-name-icon

Brownie

dog-breed-icon

Shih-Poo, Maltese

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

Hi, I just wanted to comment that my dog is having the same problem! On and off limping of the right front paw for the past month now. He got xrays done and everything was fine. He was recommended bed rest for 2 weeks and pain meds. Still limping. Vet suggested a joint tap where they examine the fluids in his joint. So now I'm getting a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon to see if that's how I should proceed just to be safe. Any suggestions? Or ideas on what could be going on?

dog-name-icon

willie

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Limp

looking for a good orthopedic for my 9 year old lab hip issues NY area .. don't just want any surgeon. i live in rockland county , but will travel ...........................................................................................................................................................................................................