The bionic dog, sounds pretty cool, well it’s not just a fluffy plot for a TV show. Total hip and elbow joint replacements are definitely a reality and available for dogs.
Is your dog a candidate for a bionic hip or elbow?
Dr. Randy Acker helped develop the cutting-edge technology, which was first introduced in 2008. It is a real advance for dogs in pain from elbow dysplasia who haven't been helped by arthroscopic surgery, pain medication, physical rehab or nutraceuticals such as glucosamine-chondroitin supplements.
Dr. Marty Becker DVM writes: “What Is Elbow Dysplasia?
The elbow is a complex joint. It's basically a hinge, but one with a twist: it can rotate about its long axis. A dog's elbow joint gets much more of a workout than a person's because the front legs bear about 60 percent of a dog's body weight. When a dog's elbow isn't formed correctly, the result is a condition called elbow dysplasia. It's seen most often in large and giant breeds.
The term elbow dysplasia is used to describe several different conditions: ununited anconeal process (UAP), osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) and fragmented medial coronoid process (FMCP). In UAP and FMCP, the bones of the elbow joint don't fit together well and place abnormal pressure on the foreleg bone, or ulna.
The most common form elbow dysplasia takes is FMCP. It occurs when a little piece of bone called the coronoid process breaks off from the ulna, causing pain and swelling. We see it most often in young male Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundland's, German Shepherd Dogs and Rottweilers.
With UAP, the anconeal process, a small piece of bone that sticks out from the ulna, fails to attach to it or breaks off from it. The cartilage — tough, flexible connective tissue that protects bones by preventing them from rubbing against each other — becomes swollen and painful and is eventually destroyed.
In OCD, the bone that supports the cartilage within the elbow joint (or other joints) matures improperly. The cartilage thickens and cracks, exposing the underlying bone and causing swelling and pain.
For all of these conditions, the eventual result is painful and crippling chronic osteoarthritis, often at a young age. Dogs with elbow dysplasia may tire quickly from activity, spend a lot of time lying down, and limp or be unwilling to walk even short distances. A physical exam that includes palpating the elbow joint, plus radiographs and sometimes a CT scan or arthroscopy — a minimally invasive procedure that allows the veterinarian to see inside the joint and even make repairs — can diagnose the problem.
If your dog has FMCP or OCD, arthroscopic surgery is usually the best way to proceed. Removing the broken fragment or damaged cartilage usually improves the condition. Sometimes elbow dysplasia can be managed medically with weight loss, limiting the dog's activity, pain medication, shockwave therapy, and nutraceuticals such as glucosamine and chondroitin to help protect and rebuild cartilage.
When should you consider elbow replacement? Ask your Vet about it if arthritis is severe and the condition can't be managed effectively with the above methods. The procedure has been performed in more than 200 young and middle-aged dogs with good results.”
Jst4Dogs Hip & Joint Supplements are an excellent inexpensive nutraceutical supplement option for the treatment and pain relief in dogs suffering from hip or elbow dysplasia.
A Word of Caution: Hip and joint repair or replacements are not an inexpensive option and can cost many thousands of dollars per joint. They are also not a guaranteed solution and so it is recommended that other less invasive options are all thoroughly explored before going down this road. That said it can be the only solution for your pet and give them a new lease on life and bounce in their step!