At Erina Heights Vet Hospital, we offer an extensive range of orthopaedic services and where appropriate, rehabilitation with chiropractic and acupuncture.

Cruciate Ligament Surgery

Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture is one of the most common orthopedic problems in dogs. Just as in humans, a partial or complete rupture of this ligament is debilitating and extremely painful, resulting in lameness and joint instability. Diagnosis of CCL is usually made based on clinical signs, physical examination, and radiographs (x-rays), all of which can be done here at Erina Heights Vet Hospital.

Surgical treatment involves stabilising the joint in order to create more normal joint movement and reduce the severity of arthritis.

1. Extracapsular Repair (or Lateral Suture Stabilisation)

The simplest of the techniques relies on mimicking the action of the original ligament (which is deep within the joint) by placing a synthetic version on the outside of the joint capsule connecting the two bones. At Erina Heights Vet Hospital, Dr Jesse Hughes is able to perform the Ligafiba technique. This procedure is usually only recommended for patients <15kg.

2. Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)

This technique is a specialist procedure which relies on the principle of making the cruciate ligament redundant by reducing the angle of the tibial plateau by bone cutting procedures in the upper tibia. Plates and screws are then applied to fix the tibial plateau to its new and more horizontal position. These methods are more suited to medium to large breed dogs and we have a visiting orthopaedic specialist surgeon who can perform these surgeries at Erina Heights Vet Hospital.

Patellar Luxation Surgery

In some dogs, the kneecap can slip to either the inside (medial patellar luxation) or the outside (lateral patellar luxation) of the knee. With the patella dislocated (or luxated), the knee cannot extend properly, and can incite arthritis and erosions of the cartilage surface. It is not a good thing to have a knee cap out of place; the entire weight-bearing stress of the rear leg is altered which, in time, leads to changes in the hips, long bones, and ultimately arthritis. Surgery is the only definitive treatment and seeks to stabilise the patellar in its proper groove. At Erina Heights Vet Hospital, Dr Jesse Hughes is able to perform patellar luxation surgery. For more complex cases, we will generally recommend surgery with our visiting orthopaedic specialist surgeon.

Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis

Hip dysplasia is an inherited abnormality where the hips of affected dogs do not develop properly, resulting in poor fit of the round head of the femur in the hip socket. In severe cases, the joint can be completely dislocated. While hip scoring the parents prior to breeding can reduce the chance of the puppies getting hip dysplasia, it is no guarantee. For this reason we offer screening radiographs (with a distraction view) at 16 weeks for at risk breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and many other medium and large breeds.

If your puppy is at risk of developing hip dysplasia based on the distraction radiographs, our veterinarians may, in some cases, recommend a procedure called Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis. It involves encouraging early fusion of the pubic bone, so that as the pelvis grows, the cup part of the hip joint covers the head of the femur. JPS is an effective procedure for mild to moderate hip dysplasia. Some of our veterinarians have undergone further training to be able to offer this surgery at Erina Heights Vet Hospital. For more severe cases, we would recommend referral to an orthopaedic specialist surgeon.

Trauma Repairs

If in the unfortunate event your pet suffers trauma, our visiting orthopaedic specialist can perform procedures such as repair of hip luxations, fractures requiring internal fixation (plates, screws, pins) or external fixateur repair.