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Common Orthopaedic Treatments

Cruciate Ligament Tear

The cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL), often referred to in humans as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), stabilizes the knee joint and allows for proper joint movement. When the CrCL is torn, stretched, or degenerating, the knee joint becomes uncomfortable as a result of instability, abnormal movement, and inflammation. Our team is internationally known ​for its expertise in the surgical treatment of CrCL tears and these are among the most frequently performed procedures in our operating rooms.

We offer an array of surgical options for treating cruciate ligament injury, and after examining the patient, discussion with the pet owner, and review of X-rays (if necessary), we provide our best treatment recommendation for the individual patient and pet owner. For more information about treatment of the cruciate ligament, visit Syn​thes Vet.

Patellar Luxation

In this condition, also called "dislocating knee cap," the patella (knee-cap) dislocates or moves out of its normal location. In most early cases of luxating patella, a pet will suddenly yelp and lift its leg off the ground for a short period of time followed by a return to relatively normal limb use as the patella returns to its normal position. These episodes of sudden lameness often increase in frequency over time. The patella may remain dislocated as the condition becomes more advanced. In these instances, the lameness or reluctance to jump may be more persistent, though it may be milder. Our doctors are nationally and internationally recognized for their innovations in the surgical treatment of this condition.

We strive to tailor our treatment recommendations to the individual patient, rather than seeking a one-size-fits-all approach. Most small- and medium-sized breeds of dogs can be treated using conventional surgical methods. Close scrutiny of the bone structure of larger-size dogs sometimes reveals the need for more complex surgical procedures. After meeting you and your pet, we will advise you of the treatment options for your pet or the diagnostic steps necessary to make our very best recommendation.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is an abnormal development of the ball-in-socket structure of the hip joint. It begins as an excessive "looseness" in the joint that causes pain as the surrounding muscles and tissues are stretched, and progresses to an arthritic condition. Accurate understanding of the stage of progression of the disease is essential to making the best treatment recommendation. After a thorough physical examination and consultation with the pet owner, we often will recommend repeat examination and X-rays while the pet is sedated.

We offer several options for treating adult hip dysplasia and juvenile hip dysplasia, from non-surgical medical management to total hip replacement. Our specialists can work with you to determine the best option for your pet.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is an abnormal development of the elbow joint that results in lameness and discomfort. There are many different forms and possible causes for the condition. While we do not have a cure for this condition, a detailed understanding in the individual patient helps us determine that pet's best treatment. While X-rays are often a useful screening test, we make frequent our of our rapid CT scanner to make detailed 1mm slice images of each elbow using a reversible sedative for the outpatient diagnostic procedure. If surgery is appropriate, we often use minimally invasive arthroscopy to thoroughly evaluate the joint. Surgical treatment is then performed arthroscopically or through a mini-arthrotomy depending upon the therapy needed.

Bone Fractures

Trauma is the most common cause of bone fractures. In most instances, we take X-rays to determine the severity and location of the break as well as to assess for other internal injuries. Once we are satisfied that a pet is stable enough to undergo general anesthesia, we can use surgical or non-surgical means to immobilize the fracture. Most fractures in dogs and cats require surgery since they walk on all four limbs. Our surgical team is internationally recognized for its expertise in fracture management and will advise the pet owner of treatment recommendations.

Our state-of-the-art, intraoperative C-arm X-Ray Imaging System allows us to use minimally invasive treatment methods for fractures that, only a few years ago, required extensive tissue dissection and manipulation.

Osteoarthritis Management

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic joint condition that includes deterioration of the cartilage, bone, and surrounding tissues. This condition affects as many as 20 percent of dogs in the United States. Pets often slow down, gain weight, and slowly lose interest in activities that were formerly enjoyable. This discomfort and reduced life quality often causes pet owners to seek veterinary care.

While OA cannot be cured, your primary care veterinarian is likely to recommend a comprehensive combination of weight loss (to a lean or almost skinny body conformation), a lifestyle of regular activity that is moderated away from extremes of activity or exercises to which your pet is not conditioned, a high-quality joint health supplement, and possibly, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). This comprehensive approach to OA management should always be seen as the first line of therapy. If this approach does not succeed, we may advise newer more investigational therapies, but only after the first-line therapy has been accomplished and proven ineffective. In some cases, joint replacement or surgical treatment for the underlying cause is recommended.

Contact Us:
Colorado State University
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
300 West Drake Road
Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523

(970) 297-4477

(970) 297-1205

(970) 297-4477
Veterinarian Consult Line:
(970) 297-4265