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Orthopaedic Referrals

We are delighted to be able to offer our patients specialised orthopaedic consultations, radiographic reviews and surgery at our Hersham hospital, avoiding the need to be referred to a seperate practice.

Orthopaedic sugeryChristoph Stork aka Orthovet, is a RCVS Recognised and European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Surgery.

He visits Beech House regularly providing expert advice on numerous orthopaedic related problems and performs surgery repairing fractures, ruptured cruciate ligaments, patella luxations, and carrying out arthroscopy and total hip replacements using the most up to date, advanced techniques.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Beech House Veterinary Surgery has performed its first Total Hip replacement on a 13 month old chocolate Labrador called Shaka. The surgery performed by specialist orthopaedic surgeon Christoph Stork, went extremely well and Shaka is recovering brilliantly!

Shaka orthopaedic sugeryShaka has severe hip dysplasia which means that the ball of the hip joint does not sit well in the socket, and causes him to be painful and lame.

Hip dysplasia is a common inherited orthopaedic problem caused by abnormal development of the structures that make up the hip joint and subsequently leading to joint deformity. ‘Dysplasia’ means abnormal growth. The developmental changes first appear because of abnormal growth, this results in excessive wear and tear of the joint, which in turn causes the secondary changes such as arthritis.

It is thought that dogs are not born with hip dysplasia (unlike humans) but that faults in development particularly during the rapid growth phase from 14-26 weeks will escalate the disease process until the puppy is skeletally mature. Wear and tear of the deformed joint then results in inflammation and degeneration, in turn leading to more deformity.

Hip dysplasia is more common in large breed dogs. Some dogs may treble their size and body weight in just 3 months of adolescence and so it is not surprising that there are many critical factors for a puppy at this age. All nutritional requirements for skeletal growth must be available in the right proportions and at the right time. The environment in which the dog is raised, including type and intensity of exercise are significant influences. However inheritance is a major factor and this is something which we are able to influence with the selection of breeding animals.

Breeding animals should undergo BVA Kennel Club ‘Hip Scoring’. This involves taking radiographs of the animal’s hip joints which are then given a score according to the level of abnormality in the joints. Scoring ranges from 0-53 for each hip with zero being no signs and 53 being a severely affected joint. If you are looking to buy a large breed puppy please ask the breeder about its parent’s hip scores.

Treatment options for hip dysplasia and the associated arthritis vary from conservative management including weight control, pain relief, and joint supplements to more advanced surgical options.

hip orthopaedic sugeryIn Shaka's case his owners had noticed that he had a a particular swaying hind limb gait since a young age and he was frequently sitting down and appeared stiff at rising.  When Shaka ran he often 'bunny hopped' and he was painful when he was examined with a decreased range of movement in both of his hips. Shaka had radiographs (X-rays) of his hips taken which confirmed hip dysplasia (see left).

Shaka is a young dog and therefore the option of a Total Hip replacement was deemed to be the best long term treatment. The surgery involves removing the head of the femur (ball), deepening the acetabulum (socket) and replacing them with a prosthesis which will act as a functioning joint for the rest of Shaka's life. This is a specialised surgery only performed by a small number of veterinary surgeons in the country and usually at a specialist hospital.

At Beech House Veterinary Centre we were able to offer this surgery at our own hospital with the help of European Specialist Orthopaedic Veterinary Surgeon Christoph Stork. This meant that Shaka did not have a long drive to a specialist hospital and his owners were reassured that he would be well looked after by vets and nurses who have know him since he was a small puppy.

orthopaedic sugery

Radiographs show Shaka's new hip joint following his Total Hip Replacement.

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