A trick knee requiring tricky surgery
Billy's Knee
Billy & His Mum

Beautiful boy Billy presented to us a few weeks ago with acute onset hind limb lameness.

Considering his symptoms and size (a sturdy 75kg), the most likely diagnosis was a "cranial cruciate ligament rupture". This condition involves damage to the cross-shaped ligaments within the knee joint, preventing the lower leg bone from moving forward and often dislocating from the knee joint. Digital radiography and assessment of the limb under sedation confirmed our suspicions.

We offered Billy’s family a specialist surgeon referral to tackle his complicated case but a few factors made this an unrealistic option. Billy is a guarded boy around strangers, and by this point our team had built a strong relationship with him - starting from scratch with a new care team wouldn't be ideal. Furthermore, transporting a 75kg dog to the big city is no easy task! Billy's Mum asked us to find a solution that we could achieve with our existing care team, and we set to work.

It took some strategizing on our part and hard work on Billy's, following a weight-management plan to get him down nearly 15kg in preparation for surgery. The chosen procedure was specifically tailored to accommodate Billy’s large size and demand for a strong fix that would support his weight. As we had not previously offered this surgery in our clinic our team prepared thoroughly for Billy's big day. Under the experienced guidance of Dr Mark, Dr Ethan spent the weeks preceding the surgery honing his anatomical and biomechanical understanding of the stifle joint and further developing his orthopaedic skills.

This week Billy visited for his operation (Tibial Tubersity Advancement Rapid - quite the tongue twister) which went exactly to plan. Billy walked out of the hospital comfortable and with a thorough pain-management plan, ready to start his recovery.

One of the fundamental aspects of our profession is trust. Going through treatment for your sick or injured pet can be a frightening ordeal, and an owner entrusting their care to us during that time is never something we take for granted. In turn, we repay that trust by following treatment through to the fullest extent of our skills. Thank you to Billy and his family for putting their trust in our team, allowing us to push ourselves and our skills as vets further in the process.