Orthopedic Surgery at Laveen Veterinary Center

The veterinarians at Laveen Veterinary Center know which "bones to pick."  Dr. Evan Ware has developed a special interest in veterinary orthopedics and is experienced in treating patients' orthopedic problems surgically and medically.

Dr. Ware's experiences cover a broad spectrum of orthopedic problems that include degenerative joint disease (arthritis), complicated fracture repair and Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) for craniate cruciate ligament injury (it's the equivalent to a torn ACL in people). 

Degenerative Joint Disease (arthritis)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in dogs, affecting approximately a quarter of the population. It is a chronic joint disease characterized by loss of joint cartilage, thickening of the joint capsule and new bone formation around the joint (osteophytosis) and ultimately leading to pain and limb dysfunction. 


  • Activity impairment: reluctance to exercise, decrease in overall activity, stiffness, lameness, inability to jump, changes in gait such as ‘bunny-hopping.’

  • Pain on manipulation: behavioral changes such as aggression or signs of discomfort.

Talk with Dr. Ware about surgical management if you notice these symptoms in your pet. If surgery is performed, the recovery of these dogs is usually very good, especially with total joint replacement surgery, as the diseased joint is completely removed and replaced.

Complicated Fracture Repair

The long bones of dogs and cats are almost identical to the bones of the legs and arms of people, and just like people, dogs and cats can break these bones due to vehicular trauma, a fight with other animals and some sporting injuries to name a few causes.

Signs and Symptoms: 

  • Typically, severe lameness is noted and the affected limb is obvious. Most pets with fractured limbs will hold up the affected limb. Some pets are able to bear some weight on the limb, depending on the location and nature of the break. Pets that have sustained major trauma, such as being struck by a motor vehicle or falling from a height, may have more than one broken limb, and may be unwilling or unable to walk. You may notice swelling, pain, or abnormal movement at the affected site.

  • With trauma being involved, it is very important to note that other systemic signs may be possible. Abdominal trauma can result in hemorrhage (bleeding) and rupture organs (such as urinary bladder). Thoracic trauma can result in pulmonary contusions (bruising and hemorrhage within the lungs), hemorrhage around the lungs and air around the lungs cause by a tear in the lung. All of these can be very critical injuries and may delay the definitive treatment of the fracture.

Talk with Dr. Ware about surgical management if you notice these symptoms in your pet. Your active participation in this decision-making process will improve the overall outcome of your pet’s medical condition.

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)

One of the most common injuries to the knee of dogs is tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). When the CCL is torn or injured, the shin bone (tibia) slides forward with respect to the thigh bone (femur), which is known as a positive drawer sign. Most dogs with this injury cannot walk normally and experience pain. The resulting instability damages the cartilage and surrounding bones and leads to osteoarthritis (OA).

When the cranial cruciate ligament is torn, surgical stabilization of the knee joint is often required, especially in larger or more active dogs. Surgery is generally recommended as quickly as possible to reduce permanent, irreversible joint damage and relieve pain. Talk with Dr. Ware about surgical management.