The femoral head is the ball part of the hip joint and if it develops necrosis or dies, it can no longer function properly. Necrosis is due to loss of the blood supply to the femoral head, which may be the result of a growth abnormality or trauma to the hip. It is a hereditary condition of small breed dogs. The most common clinical signs are slowly progressing hind limb lameness, with resulting inability to bear weight on the affected limb or both hind limbs. Diagnosis is made by radiographs of the hip joint. The treatment of choice is femoral head and neck ostectomy which results in a good prognosis.
The lens is the transparent structure within the eye that focuses light on the retina. The lens can fall backwards into the eye known as a posterior luxation, where it rarely causes discomfort, or it can fall forwards into the eye, called an anterior luxation. Anterior luxation blocks the drainage of fluid from the eye resulting in glaucoma or increased intra-ocular pressure (IOP). An anterior (forward) luxation is an emergency and can lead to further complications such as glaucoma and blindness. Surgery can help preserve vision if done promptly, but ultimately some cases may lead to removal of the entire eye. If the lens luxates posteriorly, or falls into the back of the eye, it causes little or no discomfort. These cases may not require any treatment.
Cauda equina syndrome or lumbosacral syndrome is a condition caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal and results in compression of the spinal nerve roots; pressure on the nerves that exit the spine cause the clinical signs. This pressure may be due to a narrowed spinal canal caused by arthritis, intervertebral disc herniation, an infection in the disc, trauma, congenital malformation, or a spinal tumor. Dogs with lumbosacral syndrome are in pain. If the clinical signs and radiographs are suggestive of cauda equina syndrome, a myelogram, is performed. Treatment of cauda equina involves either conservative medical treatment or surgical intervention. This is dependent upon the duration and severity of the signs, as well as the owner's finances.
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.
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.
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.
In recent years, veterinarians have made great progress in understanding how dogs feel pain and the best ways to manage that pain. Many dogs will instinctively hide their pain as a survival mechanism, which, in the past, lead to incorrect assumptions about the ability of dogs to feel pain.
Penetrating wounds such as sticks, arrows, or gunshots can be life-threatening though the outer appearance of a wound may not seem as severe. Take immediate steps to calm your pet, stabilize any foreign body that is present, and get your pet to your veterinarian. Surgery may be necessary after your pet is stabilized.
A Penrose drain is a latex tube that is placed into a wound with one or two ends exiting the skin, allowing fluids to drain from the wound. The Penrose drain is designed to passively remove unwanted fluid, usually when treating abscesses or open wounds. Drains should be removed as soon as possible, usually within 2-4 days. Larger wounds may take longer. Once the drain and all the sutures have been removed, your dog can return to normal activities unless directed otherwise by your veterinarian.