Orthopedic Conditions

Most Common Orthopedic Issues for Dogs: Orthopedic problems in dogs are commonly seen in a busy animal practice. We are becoming a more active society and often include our dog friends in our athletic pursuits. Running, chasing a ball or catching a Frisbee are all good forms of exercise for dogs but can also result in injuries. We are also seeing more purebred dogs with all their great attributes but we see the less desirable traits that come with that breeding. Many breeds have now become genetically pre-disposed to muscular and skeletal problems. The four most common orthopedic problems found in dogs are hip displaysia, torn cruciate ligaments, patellar luxations, and disc problems. Here is a brief description of what these conditions are and how to tell if your pet may have this problem.

Hip Dysplasia: A genetic disease, hip dysplasia is influenced by a number of factors. It is a much more common in large breed dogs such as German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador and Golden Retrievers. Treatment often involves lifetime anti-inflammatory medications which can run $2 to $3 dollars a day. If the hips develop extensive arthritis, often titanium joint replacements need to be used. Preventative measures are the key and weight plays a huge role in the expression of hip dysplasia. It has been shown keeping your dog lean can decrease dysplasia by up to 30%. Weight reduction is the number one pain reliever in dogs and people.

Cruciate Ligament Tears: How many times do you read in the paper about your favorite football player out for the season with an ACL tear? ACL stands for anterior cranial cruciate and it is the ligament that keeps the knee in working order. Well, instead of a big linebacker taking out your dog’s knee it is more likely a squirrel or rabbit that your dog took chase (which he never catches!). The squirrel zigs, the dog zags and there goes the knee! Torn cruciate ligaments, just like in people need to be surgically repaired to prevent crippling arthritis. There are many different types of surgical procedures and the type used will vary depending on the dog.

Luxating Patellas: Knee cap problems are commonly seen in many breeds of dogs. The kneecap, or patella, rests in a groove. Smaller dog’s patella’s tend to slip out of the groove to the inside, and this is known as medial patellar luxation. Medial patellar luxation in small dogs can often be repaired successfully. In larger dogs, the patella, generally slips to the outside or laterally. These dogs often have other more involved problems with the bones of the leg as well and thus repair can be more complicated and is usually more costly.

Disc Disease: Just as with many of us, our dogs also can have disc problems in their neck and backs. Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Dachshunds and Lhasa Apsos are all breeds that can suffer from neck disc issues, whereas large breed dogs often have chronic lower back issues. Most of these cases can be treated conservatively with the same medications used to treat hip dysplasia. When discs become ruptured, they become surgical emergencies. The disc material can slip into the spinal canal or nerves causing intense pain or even paralysis. These surgeries need to be done often within hours in order to get good results so if you suspect a disc injury to your pet, call the vet immediately to have them seen. Cats can also experience the same orthopedic conditions that are listed above such as Arthritis, Luxating Patellas, Disc Disease, Ligament Tears, and they are also prone to injuries of the tail because of how their tails are used and the length of them. Treatment of these injuries is very different than in dogs and your vet is the best person to speak with if you have concerns that your cat may be suffering from an orthopedic condition.

Your First Visit is FREE

Sign up now

New clients receive a Free Exam with Coupon.

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule


8:00 am - 7:00 pm


8:00 am - 7:00 pm


8:00 am - 7:00 pm


8:00 am - 7:00 pm


8:00 am - 6:00 pm


8:00 am - 3:00 pm




Find us on the map


Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Thank you for being there for my little girl this past week. Had the chance to work will all 3 doctors throughout this week (and many techs/front desk girls) and even though I felt like a crazy dog mom calling every 5 minutes to check on her, this team took the time to be there for me and my little girl. Can't tell you how much you made these past couple days less stressful. Glad to have her home, and glad your team was on her side! Thank you, you'll never know what you gave me back."
    Lisa P. Lake Worth, FL

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • Lost Pets

    Has your pet wriggled their way through the fence or dashed out the front door? When searching for your lost pet, make sure you include these steps in your hunt. ...

    Read More
  • Should You Leave Your Cat Alone for a Long Weekend?

    So you have a trip planned for the weekend, but what should you do with your cat? Learn how to best care for your cat while you're away. ...

    Read More
  • Flea and Tick Season

    Want to protect your pet from fleas and ticks? These tips can help. ...

    Read More
  • Summer Grooming Tips

    Want to keep your pet cool and comfortable this summer? A few changes to your normal grooming routine can help. ...

    Read More
  • What to Do If Your Pet is Stung

    Don't get us wrong, we love the bees! But we don't love when our pets get stung. Follow our tips to treat and prevent bee stings on your furry best friend. ...

    Read More
  • Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

    Do you dread hitting the road with your pet? These tips may make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable for you both. ...

    Read More
  • 6 Questions to Ask At Your Senior Pet's Next Check Up

    Want to keep your senior pet healthy and happy? Ask these six questions at your pet's next check up. ...

    Read More
  • Why the Controversy About Pet Vaccinations?

    As with anything, pet vaccinations can be too much of a good thing. Similar to parents who are learning more about vaccinations for children, veterinarians and pet owners alike are beginning to question some of the standard wisdom when it comes to protecting pets. There are certain fatal diseases against ...

    Read More
  • Pet Clothes: A Fashion Statement or a Necessity?

    There is nothing cuter than a pet in a colorful sweater, but do our furry friends really need to wear clothing? Although clothing is not a necessity for every pet, some animals benefit from a little extra protection during cold or damp days. Others enjoy wearing festive clothing during holidays or other ...

    Read More
  • Introducing a New Pet to Your Current Ones

    Pet Proofing Your Home Introducing your new pet to your current one is only a single part of the equation relating to taking a new pet home. You also have to make sure your new pet is comfortable in your home, which is a foreign environment to the animal. Like humans, animals can experience high levels ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles