(310) 546-5731

1401 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266


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Orthopedic Surgery

Mittens attempted the great leap from the top of the fridge to the kitchen stool but fell short fracturing her leg. Her owner, Steven, brought her to our practice where we diagnosed a displaced fracture requiring orthopedic surgery.

Orthopedic surgery concerns the bones, joints, muscles and ligaments. When your pet may have a condition or injury best resolved with orthopedic surgery, our practice will first diagnose the condition. We review all medical history and may use diagnostic imaging, like an x-ray (or CT scan). We then discuss with you the possible benefits and drawbacks of surgery.

Sometimes we resolve minor orthopedic conditions using non-invasive therapies, medication or rest. However, more complicated or advanced conditions may require surgery. Often, congenital conditions like hip dysplasia require orthopedic surgery for correction. Other times we surgically repair an injury or fracture.

A “fracture” is the medical term for a broken bone. Sometimes a fracture can occur where the bone or its fragments are not displaced. A cast or splint may best repair these types of fractures. However, more complicated fractures that include displaced bones or bone fragments usually require surgery.

During orthopedic surgery, we stabilize broken bones and may retrieve fragments from the body. Occasionally we use pins, plates or screws to correctly hold the bones or joint together and we place these during surgery. A fracture may take anywhere from one to three months to heal. 

Anesthesia often concerns pet owners. For most orthopedic surgeries our practice uses general anesthesia. For this reason, among others, we perform a full physical exam along with blood work to ensure that your pet is fit to handle general anesthesia and able to properly metabolize the medications.

Next we usually administer a sedative and pain medication, either by injection or intravenously to your pet.  We insert an IV catheter into a peripheral vein which we then use to induce general anesthesia for your pet.  We induce anesthesia by injecting propofol, a short acting anesthetic, and place an endotracheal tube into their airway.  The gas anesthesia and oxygen are then delivered through this tube to maintain anesthesia.  Gas anesthesia is always used to maintain anesthesia after induction with intravenous medicine.  For gas anesthesia, we offer both isoflurane and sevoflurane.  Sevoflurane allows us to adjust levels of anesthesia more rapidly than isoflurane.  Your pets blood pressure will improve more rapidly with sevoflurane. Sevoflurane is slightly more expensive, but we prefer its superior safety margins.  
We closely monitor your pet during the entire process keeping an eye on oxygen saturation and carbon dioxide levels in the blood along with their blood pressure, heart rate and temperature.
If you think that your pet may have orthopedic issues and require surgery, contact our practice immediately.

Signs may include:

  • Favoring a leg consistently or occasionally
  • Difficulty getting up from a laying or seated position
  • Difficulty sitting or lying down normally
  • Slowing down of normal activity levels
  • Sudden limping or pain
  • Appearance of swelling or the abnormal appearance of a leg or joint