Rottweiler Oakey was suffering from a severe case of osteochondrosis of the talus, which was making him lame in his right hind leg and severely affected his quality of life. However, the two-year-old now has a spring back in his step after pioneering ankle surgery.
Oakey was 18 months old when was referred to Linnaeus small animal hospital Wear Referrals, in Bradbury, County Durham. He was quickly found a perfect candidate for groundbreaking ankle replacement surgery.
Neil Burton, an RCVS-recognised specialist in small animal surgery and head of orthopaedics at Wear, together with colleague Maciej Krukowski, a certificate holder in small animal surgery, were the first surgeons in the UK to perform a BioMedtrix canine ankle replacement in 2019.
Neil said, “This kind of operation is very uncommon at the moment, and it is only available at a select number of hospitals worldwide.
“We are one of only three hospitals in the UK trialing this joint replacement system as part of a worldwide phase two clinical trial to collect more information on outcomes following this procedure.
“The operation involves opening the ankle joint and using prototype instrumentation to remove the damaged cartilage from the joint after which the ankle replacement cartridge is placed into the joint to resurface it.
“Having a new joint surface makes the joint more comfortable and improves the lameness that was associated with the osteoarthritis that was present.”
After performing the intricate and pioneering operation, Oakey stayed at the surgery for a few nights – and even made a TV appearance, as BBC TV show Night Force just so happened to be filming there!
Owner Gemma Peck went above and beyond to give Oakey the best possible care. She said, “In the first instance, our vets in Essex had sent Oakey to specialists near Cambridge for treatment. They told us Wear Referrals was the best hospital in the country to perform this type of ankle replacement surgery.
“Wear is nearly a five-hour drive from Chelmsford, and a 500-mile round trip, but having tragically lost three rottweilers in the last eight years, we were feeling very low and disheartened and only wanted the very best treatment for Oakey.”
After six months of rehabilitation, Okaey is once again enjoying life to the fullest.
Images by Wear Referrals