Stella’s Knee Surgery

My name is Dr Anna Duffield and I’m one of the vets who works at AdelaideVet Trinity Gardens and Stirling. Recently my own beautiful, nine-year-old Labrador Stella was in need of vet attention herself.

Stella has suffered from knee and shoulder arthritis for some time so when Stella had a sore knee after her daily walk I initially thought she had just overexerted herself. Later that day Stella still seemed uncomfortable so I examined her more closely. I discovered she had more laxity (movement) in her left knee joint than usual. This is when I suspected she had in fact torn a cruciate ligament in her knee. The cruciate ligaments are important to help stabilise the knees.

I took Stella into our clinic to sedate her and perform knee X-rays. Stella had a check-up and blood test before her sedation so that I could ensure that she didn’t have any compromise in her important organs such as her heart, liver and kidneys. This made the procedure safer.

The sedation enabled a more thorough examination, even in a very compliant patient like Stella. This enabled me to confirm the diagnosis of cruciate rupture. The X-rays checked for other underlying problems so that knee surgery could be performed properly. 

Stella was kept strictly rested with pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication until her knee surgery. Stella had a surgical procedure that stabilises the knee and removes the need for the cruciate ligament. 

After her surgery, Stella had to undergo some careful rehabilitation to ensure she healed properly. She had to be kept confined, then we slowly built up controlled exercise over two months. We also iced and applied heat to her healing knee as appropriate with massage techniques. 

After two months Stella had follow up X-rays and examination under sedation which confirmed her knee was well healed and she was given the all-clear to return to regular exercise. 

Stella loves to run and swim and I am so pleased she is now feeling comfortable and able to resume her favourite activities. 

P.S. The cat in the photo is Stella’s sister Mittens. Even though they are different species they don’t like to be separated so when Stella had to go to the vet Mittens went too for support.

Written by Dr Anna Duffield, Veterinarian.


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