Just as human patients have specialized surgeons and physicians to help repair and set broken bones, so do dogs. Today’s Love Your Pet is about orthopedic surgery for dogs. Dr. Richard Fujie from the King Street Pet Hospital is here and our pet guest today is “Bullet Cripps.”
His owners are Kelly and Shiloh Cripps of Kahaluu. He is a three year old rescued Chihuahua mix and he is neutered.
He was a warehouse dog and the Cripps were planning to adopt him. Before the adoption went through, Bullet fractured his left hind leg just above the knee. This was a difficult surgery, says Dr. Fujie, because “the distal bone to the fracture was just a small piece which made the repair difficult.”
Despite this, the Cripps still adopted him. He is doing fine now and has healed to near-normal.
Dr. Fujie says orthopedic surgery has become more expensive because it has become more specialized in veterinary medicine. “As technology in human surgery improves, there is a spill-over into veterinary medicine. The surgical implants in human medicine are expensive and it is the same for veterinary medicine since it is usually the same implants used.”
He explains that, for a small dog or cat, the metal implant used to repair the fractured bone may be the same that is used for a finger fracture in a person. The plate Dr. Fujie brought on air to show us costs more than $300 and each of the six screws are about $50, and he clarified, this is the cost the veterinarians pay. “So when we have to use multiple plates and screws, the cost can be high. The veterinary surgeon we use for the more difficult surgeries went to college for four years, plus another four years veterinary school and an additional few more years to become boarded in surgery,” explains Dr. Fujie.
Bullet has a rod and pins attached to his femur; the leg bone that goes from his hip joint to the knee joint. “Because the fragment of the distal femur was so small, the surgeon had to add additional stability to repair,” Dr. Fujie adds, to emphasize the complication of this particular case.