Educational Articles

Surgical Conditions

  • The patella connects the femur and the tibia and is normally located in a groove called the trochlear groove found at the end of the femur. A luxating patella is a kneecap that 'pops out' or moves out of its normal location. The patella will luxate or slip out of the groove during extension of the leg if the trochlear groove is too shallow, if the cat is bow-legged or cow-hocked, or if the point of attachment on the tibia is off-center. There are 4 grades of patellar luxation, and a higher grade means that the condition is more severe. Your veterinarian will diagnose a luxating patella by feeling the displaced kneecap during palpation of the leg. A luxating patella can be corrected surgically, especially if the patella luxates frequently. If your veterinarian performs surgery before arthritis or other knee injury occurs, the prognosis is excellent.

  • The patella, or kneecap, is normally located in a groove on the end of the femur (thigh bone) just above the stifle (knee). The term luxating means out of place or dislocated. Therefore, a luxating patella is a kneecap that moves out of its normal location. Pet owners may notice a skip in their dog's step or see their dog run on three legs. Then suddenly they will be back on all four legs as if nothing happened. Many toy or small breed dogs, including Maltese, Chihuahua, French Poodles, and Bichon Frise dogs, have a genetic predisposition for a luxating patella. Surgery should be performed if your dog has recurrent or persistent lameness or if other knee injuries occur secondary to the luxating patella.

  • If the nerves to the colon do not function normally, the muscles of the colonic wall will not contract properly. The muscles then become stretched and the colon enlarges in diameter. Rather than being pushed into the rectum in a normal manner, fecal material accumulates in the distended colon, resulting in severe constipation called obstipation. This massive enlargement of the colon and the resulting constipation is called megacolon. Megacolon is often treatable using a medical approach but some cases require surgical intervention called subtotal colectomy.

  • Muscle tears are direct or indirect traumatic injuries that cause damage to the architecture of the muscle tissue. The most common cause is an indirect injury, or strain, caused by overstretching during athletic activities, such as running or jumping. Clinical signs of muscle tears include pain on palpation of the injured area, lameness or limping, swelling of the muscle, and/or bruising. Muscle tears are treated immediately with rest, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. In the most severe cases, surgery is likely required.

  • Muscle tears are direct or indirect traumatic injuries that cause damage to the architecture of the muscle tissue. The most common cause is an indirect injury, or strain, caused by overstretching during athletic activities, such as running or jumping. Clinical signs of muscle tears include pain on palpation of the injured area, lameness or limping, swelling of the muscle, and/or bruising. Muscle tears are treated immediately with rest, cold compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. In the most severe cases, surgery is likely required.

  • Nasopharyngeal polyps are benign idiopathic masses originating from the middle ear that extend either down the eustachian tube or into the external ear. They can cause stertor, nasal discharge, otitis, otic discharge and head tilt. Diagnosis may involve visualization through otoscopic exam or behind the soft palate, but usually needs radiographic evidence or more advanced imaging such as CT or MRI. Treatment involves debulking the mass through traction which has a high rate of recurrence, or more advanced surgery into the bulla to remove the source of the polyp.

  • Neuter is also referred to as orchidectomy or castration. It is a surgical procedure in which the testicles are removed in order to sterilize or render infertile, a male animal.

  • Neutering is also referred to as orchidectomy or castration. It is a surgical procedure in which the testicles are removed in order to sterilize or render a male animal infertile.

  • Osteochondritis dissecans is an inflammatory condition that occurs when diseased cartilage separates from the underlying bone. It most commonly affects the shoulder joint but the elbow, hip, or knee (stifle) may also be involved. This is a developmental disease that occurs in rapidly growing large breed dogs typically between 6 and 9 months of age and tends to occur more often in male dogs. Dogs that are affected with OCD typically limp or are lame in the affected leg or legs. Several radiographs of each affected leg are necessary in order to get an accurate assessment of various bones and joints. Treatment may involve conservative medical management or surgical intervention.

  • Ovarian remnant syndrome is a condition that occurs when ovarian tissue remains inside the body after a female dog is spayed. This tissue can produce estrogen, triggering signs of heat in the dog.