Walter Renberg, DVM, MS, DACVS
Dr. Walter Renberg helps with what may be the Holy Grail of veterinary medicine.
Cranial cruciate ligament injuries are some of the most common orthopedic conditions seen in small animal practice. Even so, the optimal treatment modality is hotly debated within the profession. Each new surgery is introduced with great fanfare but, in most clinical studies, the fabellar suture technique in one iteration or another has been found to be superior or equal to other methods.
A variety of approaches have been proposed to assist in making decisions regarding fracture management. At the most basic level, the task is to evaluate what is needed and then assess one's own capabilities. In so doing, fractures that one is properly able to manage can be dealt with appropriately and mistakes can be avoided that would prove detrimental to the patient.
Canine hip dysplasia is a very common orthopedic condition and every small- or mixed-animal practitioner will see cases. Despite this, the management of this syndrome can be frustrating and confusing to the clinician as well as the client. Questions about prognosis, what surgery to recommend (and when), various aspects of medical management and more are difficult to answer definitively.
A number of fractures can be managed conservatively or with external coaptation. Still others can be dealt with using combinations of pins and wire. It is only when clinicians are able to utilize bone plating or external fixators that the number of manageable fractures truly expands.
Just as in the human population, the incidence of osteoarthritis in veterinary patients is very high. Many of the developmental diseases as well as traumatic injuries ultimately become cases of osteoarthritis management. As with any chronic progressive (and largely incurable) disease, the treatment can be frustrating. In fact, treatment of arthritis is easy when the client is patient, willing, and has a lot of money.
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