Treating injuries and diseases that impact your pet's daily mobility

Our orthopedics service provides diagnosis and management of orthopedic problems including traumatic injuries, degenerative joint conditions and developmental abnormalities for cats and dogs.

Diagnostics and treatment options available through this service include:

  • Total artificial hip replacement
  • TPLO
  • All forms of fracture fixation
  • Arthroscopic diagnosis and treatment
  • C-arm intraoperative fluoroscopy
  • CT scan diagnostics and bone scan diagnostics
  • 3T MRI and ultrasound

Frequently Asked Orthopedic Questions

What can I do to help my pet until our appointment?

You should follow the instructions provided by your referring veterinarian. Unfortunately, we cannot prescribe pain medications for your pet until we physically see them. Should you need medications prior to your appointment with us, please contact your referring veterinarian (RDVM). Please note, it would be ideal if you do not give your pet any medications the morning of the appointment unless they are critical medications needed for the survival of your pet, such as insulin. If you have questions about what medications should or should not be given the morning of your pet’s appointment, please contact our client care coordinators.

Why can't I present my pet during an emergency?

We completely understand that seeing your pet uncomfortable is difficult and you want what’s best for them. However, we are unable to facilitate elective surgeries on an emergency basis. As long as your pet is stable (eating, drinking, urinating, defecating, normal body temperature, no infection, etc.), we ask that you present your pet during a standard orthopedics referral appointment. If you are unsure whether your pet needs to come in through our emergency service, please do not hesitate to call our client care staff at 706.542.3221.

Why can't my pet have breakfast before the appointment?

During your pet’s visit, it is likely that it will require sedation, or rarely anesthesia, in order to obtain radiographs, perform diagnostics, change bandages, or perform surgical procedures. Sedation or anesthesia can elicit vomiting on occasion, so it is best that there is no food in the stomach that can be vomited up.

I had radiographs (x-rays) performed at my referring veterinarian's office. Does my pet have to have radiographs done at UGA?

We often, but not always, acquire additional radiographs to what your veterinarian has already made. We advise that you bring with you your pet’s existing radiographs or confirm that they have been received at UGA prior to your appointment. However, please be prepared for us to take additional radiographs as well.

What do I need to bring with me if my dog is staying overnight?

You are more than welcome to bring your pet’s food and we encourage you to do so if your pet is on a special and specific diet. However, we do have a vast selection of foods here for dogs including numerous diets from Purina, Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canine, and others. We ask that you not bring your pet’s bedding or toys with you unless absolutely necessary. These items can get lost or damaged when your pet is moved throughout the hospital. We do provide a comfortable place with bedding for your pet during their stay.

When will my pet have surgery?

If your pet is coming in for an elective surgery, such as surgical treatment for a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament, we will typically hospitalize your pet overnight following its referral appointment and will perform the surgery the following day. However, there are several situations in which this will not be possible. First, if there are emergency orthopedic procedures that take priority over elective procedures, such as pets that suffer fractures and come in through the emergency room, your pet’s surgery may need to be delayed. Second, if your pet has evidence of an infection, such as a urinary tract infection or skin infection, we may recommend that surgery be delayed while this infection is treated and resolved. Third, if your dog is coming for an evaluation for a total hip replacement, we frequently, but not always, schedule those patients for surgery at a later date.

If I want to have surgery performed on my pet but I do not want to have it done the day following my appointment, can I schedule the surgery for a later date?

In this case you will be scheduled for the next available appointment. If that is longer than desired you will also be added to a cancellation list so that if appointments or operating rooms become available sooner your pet can have surgery sooner than the next available appointment. However, it is valuable to understand that this is not always easy to orchestrate and it is typically easier from a logistical standpoint to be prepared to have surgery the day following the referral appointment.

How can I prepare for an upcoming surgery?

Keep in mind that most surgical procedures will require your pet to have limited physical activity for 6 to 8 weeks following surgery. It is advised that you have a proper crate or small room for your pet to stay in. If your pet has not been crate-trained, we strongly advise that you start training them before their appointment so that you and they will be prepared for recovery after surgery.

How long will my pet stay at the hospital after surgery?

For most elective surgeries, we keep our patients 1 to 3 nights following surgery, depending upon the surgical procedure performed and how quickly your pet recovers from the surgery. We do offer weekend pickups for patients that are ready to be discharged over the weekend at specific times on Saturday and Sunday mornings. We are not available to discharge patients 24 hours a day.

Are there any additional things that I can do to prepare for my visit to the UGA Orthopedics Service?

There are several things that you can do to help optimize your pet’s visit and care:

  • If at all possible, please bathe your pet the day before his/her surgery appointment.
  • Please bring all medications, nutraceuticals, and supplements that you give your dog with you to the appointment.
  • If you are bringing food for your pet, please bring enough for 3 to 4 days.
  • Have a small room or crate ready for when you bring your pet home from surgery.
  • Do not feed your dog food after 10:00 pm the night before your pet’s appointment. In the morning it is ok to give a little bit of water. It is also ok to give a small bite of food to assist in giving necessary medications.

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