Back to Top

Pet Orthopaedic & Cruciate Surgery


Orthopaedic & Cruciate Surgeries | Surgical Procedures


Orthopaedic surgery corrects problems involving the bones, joints and ligaments of the body. This will be necessary in the case of accidents causing fractures, injuries causing rupture of ligaments, or developmental problems like patella luxations or hip dysplasia.

Radiographs are taken to determine the severity of the problem and to determine the best surgical approach. At Hilton Vet Hospital we make use of a digital X-ray processor to give us excellent quality radiographs. Two views are taken while the patient is under anaesthesia to make sure no movement will blur the image.


Trauma to any of the bones in the body can potentially cause a fracture. This is treated as an emergency and needs immediate pain relief. The body might also go into a state of shock and the patient needs to be stabilised with the use of intravenous fluid drip. The fracture is stabilised with the use of a splint till the time that radiographs can be taken and surgery performed. Surgery might be postponed for a day or two till the patient is stable and strong enough to handle the anaesthesia and surgery. Most of the time metal implants like pins, wire or plate and screws are used to fix the fracture.


Ligaments hold bones together and can facilitate movement between bones. Trauma like car accidents or “sport” injuries can cause injury and even rupture of ligaments. As ligaments do not repair themselves, surgery is often necessary. The most common ligament injury is the rupture of the Cranial Cruciate ligament in dogs. 

Patella Luxation

This happens when the kneecap (patella) is dislocated from its normal position in the groove of the femur. It is usually a genetic problem that the patient was born with. It is most common in small dog breeds. It can vary from a low to high grade luxation. This problem can be very successfully corrected with surgery.

Hip luxation

Dislocation of the hip joint is usually associated with trauma to the hip. In car accidents the femoral head ligament and hip joint capsule is usually torn causing the femur head to dislocate. In mild acute cases, the dislocation can be corrected without surgery if it is attended to straight away. In severe cases, orthopaedic surgery is needed to repair the damage.

Hip Dysplasia

HD is another genetic problem that can leads to arthritis in the hips joints. The acetabulum or hip joint socket in these patients are underdeveloped and very shallow. This causes the hip joint to be unstable, leading to early wear and tear. The symptoms are hip pain, difficulty walking and reluctance to jump. Conservative treatment like anti-inflammatories and joint modification drugs are used in early and mild cases. Surgery is often needed when conservative treatment is unsuccessful. Femur head amputation or total hip replacement are the surgical techniques of choice.

Pet Cruciate Surgery

Cruciate ligament injuries are the most common injury of the back leg in dogs. Unlike humans, dogs need surgery to repair the damage. On the image below the two cruciate ligaments are indicated by the red and orange lines.

It’s the Cranial Cruciate ligament that ruptures most of the time and when this happen, all stability in the knee is lost. This can happen as an acute sudden tear or a slow degeneration of the ligament.

Acute or sudden tear can happen with an inward rotation of the knee while jumping or turning. It commonly happens after jumping to catch a ball or frisbee. Can also happen with traumatic incident like a car accident.

Slow degeneration of the CCL can happen after a series of minor injuries to the ligament. This often leads to a partial tear that is more challenging to diagnose.

At Hilton Vet Hospital, we offer two surgical repair techniques to restore stability in the knee:

1. LFS = Lateral Fabella Suture technique
2. MMP = Modified Maquet Procedure (modern version of TTA)

The first technique (LFS) is used in small and medium animals and the second (MMP) in large dogs.

Cruciate Ligament Injury. Animal Health Tip No. 19

Posted by Hilton Vet Hospital on Sunday, 23 July 2017

Owners Guide PDF