The common orthopaedic issues your dog may experience

We know you don’t want to see your best friend in pain. Whilst orthopaedic issues are something we hope your pet never experiences, there are a number of common problems that you should be aware of. If you know the causes and the symptoms to look for, you will be able to take immediate steps toward treating your dog and helping them on the road to recovery. These are the three most common orthopaedic problems that we see in dogs.

Anterior cruciate ligament tears

Just like in humans, simple activities like running and jumping can sometimes go wrong. They can cause cruciate ligament ruptures in many dogs, with larger breeds more commonly affected but smaller breeds have also been known to suffer from tears. One of the most obvious signs of an ACL tear is your pet holding the affected leg off from the ground. This condition is caused by poor conformation in the limb (where the alignment of the lower leg and upper thigh is improperly aligned) and excess pressure placed on the limb and knee. Cruciate injuries, such as ACL tears, require surgery to re-adjust the alignment of the tibia and femur.

Patellar luxation

Also known as Displacement of the Patella, this is a typical knee problem associated with purpose-bred toy dog breeds such as Pomeranians and Chihuahuas. The patella (or kneecap) will fall out of position because the groove that is meant to hold the kneecap in place is much shallower than in other breeds. Symptoms can include a lack of desire to run or to jump onto the couch, an inability to bend at the knee, and swelling in the affected area. We can recommend several surgical procedures to treat the condition, such as reinforcing the ligaments supporting the kneecap.


One of the most common orthopaedic issues in older adult dogs is arthritis. This is a painful, gradual deterioration of the joint caused by bone rubbing against bone. It may have been caused by a past injury or improper alignment of the joint may have caused the inflammation, leaving it unstable and unable to lubricate itself properly. No matter what caused the arthritis, it will continue to worsen, and it is critical that you, as the owner, take your pet for an evaluation as soon as you notice any symptoms. Signs to watch for include limping, pain, difficulty using stairs and difficulty laying down and getting back up.

If your dog has suffered an injury and is having trouble moving around your property, they may have developed an orthopaedic problem. Contact the team at Brisbane Pet Surgery today – we're proud to offer affordable procedures and high-quality service.