Veterinary Orthopedics: Unstable Needs The Table

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Given my openness to and embracing of proven alternative, natural healing modalities, I am not uncommonly presented with second opinion cases that frankly have alternative solution outside of surgery, hence the title of this post.  I can understand the desire for a pet owner to the save cost and the invasiveness of surgery for a pet, but it is not realistically possible to acupuncture, laser, or water treadmill our out way out of an ACL tear of the knee, displaced fracture, chronic knee cap dislocation, etc.

Once instability occurs, a joint, bone, muscle, tendon, ligament, etc., simple will not heal without returning stability to the mechanical region.  Once that is accomplished, THEN alternative medicine can be aggressively applied to hasten healing time, maximize the clinical outcome, and minimize any long term side effects.

What’s more, alternative medicine can be used intraoperatively to maximize surgical outcomes.  In the case of fracture or ACL repair, for example, upon surgical  stabilization of the joint/bone, we can add platelet rich plasma (PRP) to the repaired region.  As a concentrated source of blood plasma and autologous (derived from the same patient) conditioned plasma, PRP contains several different growth factors and other immune messenger molecules like cytokines that start speeding the healing process before the surgeon is even closing the incision.

Thus, I do perform surgery.  I perform a lot of surgery, primarily in my main area of interest, veterinary orthopedics, that is, disease and injury the affects the musculoskeletal system of dogs and cats.  Interestingly, dating back to 2010, my first introduction to therapy laser and my initial delving into class IV laser therapy as as an alternative treatment modality, was an entire day spent in lecture at a conference about laser and its benefits…put on my Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine department of surgery.

Surgery is not mutually exclusive of holistic medicine.  Can we avoid it sometimes by giving alternative medicine a chance?  Of course!  However, when surgery is necessary, let’s not be afraid of it but instead embrace it and maximize short and long term outcomes by augmenting treatment with alternative medicine.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.