By Dr. Becker
Earlier this year, the small animal surgery staff at University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine performed its first total knee replacement in a dog, and in October, the procedure was deemed a success.
Mica, a 9-year-old Labrador Retriever and skilled hunting dog, was brought to U of F's veterinary hospital in February for progressive osteoarthritis. Mica was injured as a puppy and over the years her condition worsened, with a rapid deterioration over the preceding year and a half.
Both the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments in her left rear leg were seriously damaged and the cartilage in the knee was almost completely disintegrated. Due to the severity of her condition, Mica's only hope to regain mobility was total knee replacement.
Mica Returns to Field Trials
The two-hour operation was performed by two U of F assistant professors of small animal surgery and an associate professor from The Ohio State University with expertise in canine total knee replacement procedures.
Following the surgery, Mica went through months of physical rehabilitation, including underwater treadmill therapy, stretches, and daily walks. In the fall she ran her first hunt test since her knee replacement and passed with flying colors.
Mica's surgeons are pleased with her progress to date and plan to see her annually to insure she continues to have full use of her leg.
"Total knee replacement is a new treatment option for dogs with severe osteoarthritis," says Dr. Stanley Kim, one of the surgeons. "Due to the equipment and surgical expertise required, the procedure can only be performed at a small number of institutions in North America. We now have the ability at University of Florida to restore excellent function to dogs' knees that are affected by a variety of disorders."
As of the end of October, the university's small animal hospital is seeking dogs for a clinical study on total knee replacement. Dogs with severe osteoarthritis may be eligible for participation. More information about the study can be obtained by contacting the university staff at (352) 392-2235.
Here's Mica at work after her knee replacement and rehab: