Pet Owners Information
Ridge Referrals is a small animal orthopaedic referral service specialising in arthroscopy (key hole joint surgery).
We accept veterinary referrals (cases sent from other vets only) in all aspects of orthopaedics in cats and dogs including fractures, joint disease and medical orthopaedics (such as certain causes of arthritis similar to Rheumatoid arthritis and muscle diseases).
All cases must have been sent with the consent of your primary care vet with whom we liaise closely for follow up care.
Arthroscopy is the inspection of the inside of a joint using a very small camera through very small “keyhole” incisions. Surgery can then be performed through equally small incisions to address the underlying cause or any secondary problems associated with the lameness.
The major advantage of arthroscopy over traditional arthrotomy (open procedure) is the reduced morbidity associated with the surgery (less pain and faster recovery). For certain conditions such as shoulder ligament injury there is no other way of making the diagnosis other than through arthroscopy.
Conditions in dogs in which this may be of particular benefit include:
Sports / Working Dogs
Dogs competing in agility, fly ball, field trials and working dogs (gun dogs, security dogs and police dogs) are all susceptible to certain injuries both through the repetitive strain of competition, work and training and through the strenuous physical activity of the lifestyle by comparison with a pet dog.
Working and athletic dogs pose an additional challenge in that our ultimate aim is to return the individual dog to the pre injury level or higher and this requires considerable work on diagnostics, treatment and post operative rehabilitation. Our facilities and the “on- site” physiotherapy gives us the best chance of a full return to function for any dog whether it is a pet, an athlete, a working gun dog, assistance or security dog.
We also have a full set of agility equipment and sand training area so that we can appreciate some of the more subtle problems seen with agility dogs and we have free access to both fields and ponds to assess working gun dog activity. Our diagnostic facilities include radiography (x ray), musculoskeletal ultrasound, on site cytology and arthroscopy.
PennHIP - The key to reducing canine hip dysplasia. In the 1980's, researchers at the university of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine pioneered a better diagnostic method to assess hip laxity - the key factor in the development of Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD).
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, with the ball of the femur (femoral head) fitting into the hip socket (acetabulum). Hip laxity refers to the degree of "looseness" of the ball in the hip socket.
Studies have shown that dogs with looser hips (excessive hip laxity) are at higher risk to develop hip dysplasia than dogs with tighter hips (minimal hip laxity).
The PennHIP screening procedure has proven to be the most accurate and precise method to measure hip laxity. It can identify (as early as 16 weeks) dogs that are susceptible to developing hip dysplasia.
The PennHIP Procedure
There are two principal innovations in the PennHIP method. First the dog is positioned on the x ray table with the hips in a neutral orientation, and in the second, a custom distraction device is applied to reveal the maximum amount of hip laxity. To achieve this, complete relaxation of the muscles is required and so the dog would be placed under general anaesthesia during the procedure.
PennHIP screening includes three separate radiographs (x rays) that are submitted to the PennHIP Analysis Centre for specialised evaluation. You (and your veterinary surgeon) will receive a confidential report comprised of the following three key parts:
Distraction Index (DI)
The DI is a measure of hip laxity - the inherent distance the ball can be displaced (distracted) from the hip socket - and this is expressed as a number between zero and one. A DI closer to 1.0 indicates a high degree of laxity (very loose hips). Dogs with the tighter hips are less likely to develop hip dysplasia than dogs with loose hips. A threshold level of 0.30 has been identified, below which hip dysplasia is very unlikely to occur.
Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
The PennHIP report also includes an evaluation of the hip-extended radiograph for evidence of DJD (arthritis), confirming a diagnosis of hip dysplasia.
Breed Laxity Profile Ranking
Based on the DI, your dog is ranked within its breed.
As a breeder this ranking helps in the selection of breeding candidates - dogs in the tighter half of the population are recommended for breeding.
By selecting dogs with tight hips (lower DI), meaningful progress toward better hips can be made within a few generations.
FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION VISIT THE PennHIP WEBSITE