NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Cataract surgery, hip replacements, pace makers, these medical breakthroughs have all changed thousands of lives for the better – and not just for humans.
CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports that nearly every medical procedure for people, is now being performed on pets.
“She’s a smiley girl,” Stephanie Halesworth said about her pet.
At just two years-old, Stephanie and Connor Halesworth’s beloved golden retriever Montana was diagnosed with hip dysplasia.
“We love our dog so much,” she said.
Despite taking anti-inflammatory medication, Montana was in constant pain, so the couple opted to have both her hips replaced.
“There’s not a week that goes by that we’re not doing a total hip replacement in a dog or even a cat,” dr. Robert Hart said.
Dr. Hart is the director of orthopedic and joint replacement surgery at Manhattan’s Animal Medical Center.
His operating room could easily be mistaken for that of a human hospital and hip replacements aren’t the only procedure he does there.
“Knee replacements are up and coming. There’s probably been about a dozen ankle replacements done,” Hart explained.
Not to mention ligament and tendon reconstruction, like ACL surgeries as well.
“I meet these dogs, they are in pain… within weeks they’re out of pain and having a great quality of life.”
That greater quality of life also extends to animals at the Bronx Zoo, where vets recently implanted cutting edge cardiac devices designed for humans into monkeys.
Other procedures, once reserved for humans, that are now common in animals:
- Lens implants for cataracts
- Root canal therapy
- Cartilage cell transplants
- Interventional radiology for kidney and bladder stones
“Both my parents actually had their hips replaced… you could say it runs in the family,” Connor Halesworth joked.
Montana is recovering nicely after having the artificial components – which are smaller versions of what’s used for humans – implanted in her bad hips.
“Quickly they are out of pain and using these legs… dogs can play frisbee again, they get into high level police work, they do all kinds of things they may not have been able to do before and their quality of life is dramatically improved,” Dr. Hart explained.
These procedures can be pricey. The hip replacement runs about $5,000 per hip, but some pet insurance policies will cover some of these costs.