Your family veterinarian can handle many of your pet’s surgical needs, but difficult cases may require expertise and equipment that only a specialty surgery center can offer. VetMED Emergency and Specialty Care has three board-certified veterinary surgeons who will work with your family veterinarian to handle any challenging surgical procedures your pet may need. Our surgery department is proud to offer a number of advanced surgical services, including laparoscopic and arthroscopic surgeries, shock-wave therapy, stem-cell therapy, PennHIP hip dysplasia screening, total hip replacement, tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), and brachycephalic airway surgery. 

Shock-wave therapy for pets

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms. The use of sound waves to promote healing and the technology in therapeutic lasers and ultrasounds are similar, but the sound waves that ESWT units create are higher in intensity and penetrate tissues more deeply. The sound waves interact with cells and tissues to cause new blood-vessel development, collagen formation, calcium buildup dissolution, and chronic inflammation reversal. Health conditions that may benefit from shock-wave therapy include:

  • Arthritis
  • Delayed bone healing
  • Chronic wounds
  • Chronic pain
  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Achilles tendon injuries

Treatments last less than three minutes each, and are administered approximately two weeks apart to help speed healing after surgery or to treat chronic conditions. 

Veterinary Surgeries

Stem-cell therapy for dogs and cats

Stem cells can differentiate into several cell types, such as cartilage, bone, or muscle cells. In animals, stem cells are typically derived from a pet’s own adipose (i.e., fat) tissue, and can be injected into a problem area, such as directly into an arthritic joint, near damaged tendons or ligaments, or intravenously to treat systemic conditions. Since a pet’s own cells are used, reaction risk is low, and their use involves no ethical or legal issues. 

PennHIP hip dysplasia screening for dogs

PennHIP is a screening procedure that can be performed as early as 16 weeks of age to identify dogs at high risk of developing hip dysplasia, a common disease that causes chronic joint degeneration and lameness. Early detection allows veterinarians to counsel pet owners on lifestyle adjustments and preventive strategies to minimize disease progression from a young age. PennHIP screening is preferred over Orthopedic Foundation of America screening radiographs, which are limited by a more subjective screening method, and cannot be used until a dog is older than 2 years of age. 

Xrays for Dogs and Cats

Total hip replacement for pets

Canine hip dysplasia causes hip joint laxity (i.e., looseness) that eventually leads to arthritis, lameness, and pain. When non-surgical therapies no longer control a pet’s discomfort, a total hip replacement can restore normal function and alleviate pain. The procedure involves replacing a patient’s diseased joint with a prosthetic joint designed to function exactly like a normal, healthy hip. Total hip replacement is curative, and more more than 95% of pets who undergo the procedure have a functional hip joint for the remainder of their lives.

Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) for dogs

Your dog’s cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) helps support his knee joint, similar to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans. CCL rupture, which is the most common orthopedic injury in dogs, occurs when chronic ligament degeneration causes either acute rupture or progressive ligament breakdown. Many surgical treatment options exist for CCL rupture, but tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) provides better long-term outcomes compared with other procedures. 

TPLO involves cutting the proximal portion of the tibia to reconstruct the knee joint in a way that alters joint forces and eliminates the need for the CCL. Previously, TPLO was limited to medium and large dogs, but the production of smaller bone plates and screws has made TPLO an option for small dogs, such as Chihuahuas and shih tzus, as well. 

Brachycephalic airway surgery for pets

Brachycephalic breeds, such as bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers, are afflicted with a combination of anatomic abnormalities that cause breathing problems, including:

  • Stenotic, or narrowed, airways
  • Elongated soft palate
  • Everted laryngeal saccules
  • Hypoplastic, or small, trachea
  • Laryngeal collapse

This grouping of conformational abnormalities causes narrowed airways and upper airway obstruction. Surgical corrective procedures should be considered if severe breathing problems cause serious complications, such as noisy breathing or snoring that interferes with daily activity or sleeping, exercise intolerance, coughing, gagging, gastroesophageal reflux, regurgitation, collapse, or inadequate blood oxygen levels. VetMED offers surgical procedures that can correct brachycephalic airway syndrome, including:

  • Wedge resection to widen stenotic nares
  • Partial resection of the elongated soft palate
  • Removal of everted laryngeal saccules

Surgical correction significantly widens narrowed airways to improve breathing, and secondary problems, such as reflux and regurgitation, typically resolve shortly after.

If you would like to consult with our surgery department about the advanced surgical services we offer your pet, contact us. We will work with your family veterinarian to manage your pet’s complex surgical needs, and be available to answer questions after the procedure once your pet returns to your veterinarian’s care.