The Comparative Orthopaedics Program is focused on improving the fundamental understanding and treatment of several important orthopaedic diseases of dogs and horses. As part of the campus comparative studies, our research benefits both animals and humans through a "one medication" philosophy. Studies conducted by the Comparative Orthopaedics program occur in collaboration with faculty from the UW Medical School Sports Medicine Program.
|Figure: Dogs with bilateral degenerative cruciate rupture (ACL) are severely lame and most of their weight is placed on their front legs.|
Cranial Cruciate Rupture in Dogs.
Cruciate rupture (ACL) causes 20% of all lameness in dogs. Surgery for cruciate ruptuer treats the end-stage disease, and dogs continue to have a mild but persistant lameness even after surgery.
Our laboratory has determined teh degenerative cruciate ruptuer is a type of rhematic disease resulting in inflammatory knee arthritis. We are currently testing new medical therapy for dogs with cruciate rupture. We have recently been able to start offering this therapy in our hospital. Because our therapy targets not only dogs that currently suffer from torn cruciates, but also dogs that are suspectable to cruciate rupture, we are helping to prevent animals from suffering as a resutl of this condition.
Our long term goal is to develop more effective medical therapy that blocks the progressive joint degradation and prevents the need for surgery.
Stress fractures are an important medical condition that effects race horses, racing grayhounds, military recruits, human athletes and individuals who suffer from osteoporosis. Our lab has been shown that stress fractures are likely the cause of race horses breaking their legs on the racetrack; it has also been shown that stress fractures are often the cause of hip fractures that occur in the elderly.
Our lab focuses on racing grayhounds and Throughbred race horses to help gain an understanding of how stress fractures heal, with the hope of eventually generating more effective therapys to help prevent and promote the healing of stress fractures.
|Figure: An increase in the volume of joint fluid within the knee or stifle and the development of arthritis precedes the development of degenerative cruciate rupture|
Teaching in the Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory
The members of the Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory are directly involved in teaching veterinary medical students the fundamentals of orthopaedic clinical medicine and surgery. In addition to filling this obligation, the laboratory employs many veterinary students who are interested in developing their skills in both orthopaedics and research. The laboratory also supports graduate and PhD candidates.
In addition to veterinary and graduate students, the members of the orthopaedic laboratory train surgery residents to successfully become the board certified veterinary surgical specialists of the future, and also provide updates on the new developments in orthopaedics to veterinarians already established in private practice.
The Care of Orthopaedic Patients in the Clinic
Diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment, and follow-up care is accomplished through a team effort of board certified small animal and large animal surgeons. Every patient seen at the university veterinary hospital are evaluated by a board-certified veterinary surgeon, a surgical resident and a forth year veterinary student. The members of the orthopaedic team also have continuous access to board certified veterinarians in numerous other fields of veterinary medicine. This level of expertise, when combined with an enviroment focused on teaching and learning, provides the best possible care for our orthopaedic patients and clients.
For more information about the Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory and team, visit our website!