Dr. Andrew Sams
Over the last ten years, the advancements in orthopedics for small animals have been significant. In fact, many of the more innovative techniques in human orthopaedics were modeled on procedures now available for dogs and cats. Dr. Sams uses both these newer procedures and more traditional approaches, depending on which technique offers the best solution, as our goal is always to further the comfort of and improve the outcome for every patient.
The following are some of the surgical and regenerative medicine services offered at The Sams Clinic:
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a very small telescope attached to a bright light source and camera to transmit images from inside a joint to a monitor , where the surgeon views magnified images. When exploring a joint in this manner, subtle lesions can be found that otherwise may go undetected. The surgeon then manipulates small instruments within the joint and treats the problem. After the procedure, the surgeon uses a suture to close the small portals where the arthroscope and instruments entered the joint.
The Sams Clinic offers optimal fracture repair utilizing bone plates, intramedullary pins, external fixators, and splints.
Dr. Sams uses bone plates to repair fractures and straighten limbs and to aid in other surgical procedures that involve cutting a bone and stabilizing it. He anchors the plate to the bone with surgical grade stainless steel screws.
Dr. Sams uses external fixators to repair fractures and straighten limbs and to aid in other surgical procedures that involve cutting a bone and stabilizing it. They are made of rods or rings that go on the outside of the leg and are attached to the bone with pins that enter the bone. External fixators generally cause minimal disruption to the soft tissue, muscle and blood supply and are removed after the surgery site has healed. A specific type of external fixator called a ring fixator is very useful in lengthening bones that are too short and with difficult or non-healing fracture repairs.
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) addresses the instability caused by the rupture of a dog’s cranial cruciate ligament. TPLOs yield excellent clinical results, in both partial and complete tears, with the vast majority of dogs returning to very active, comfortable lives. Dr. Sams has performed this surgery for over fifteen years, on over two thousand five hundred patients. Originally, available only for large dogs, new smaller plates make the procedure possible for dogs of all sizes.
A minimally invasive method of correcting the destabilized cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), the Tightrope CCL technique utilizes a very strong suture material called Fiber Tape and the isometric placement of small bone tunnels to provide stable bone-to-bone fixation. The technique counteracts cranial tibial thrust, drawer and internal rotation while providing optimal joint range of motion.
Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO)
A TPO is performed in young dogs with loose and painful hips (a manifestation of hip dysplasia). The hip is a ball and socket joint and this treatment changes the angle of the socket (acetabulum) to improve the coverage of the ball (femoral head). The best candidates for this treatment have zero or minimal arthritic changes in the hip joint prior to surgery, and are under one year of age. In the right patient, a TPO changes the geometry of the pelvis and diminishes discomfort with excellent results. For a dog that has too many arthritic changes before surgery, Dr. Sams may instead recommend a total hip replacement.
Total Hip Replacement (THR)
Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)
Stem Cell Therapy
The Sams Clinic offers Vet-Stem®, a procedure that isolates regenerative cells from a sample of an animal’s own fat for treatment of tendons, ligaments and joints. Stem Cell Therapy is NOT to be confused with the controversial use of stem cells derived from human embryos.
Recently, many advances have been made in the treatment of osteoarthritis in small animals. We favor an approach that combines medication therapy, natural supplements, weight management and physiotherapy. Our goal is to use as little medication as possible while increasing the activity and comfort levels of the patients as we slow the progression of the disease.
Immune Mediated Arthritis
For this type of arthritis, which is caused by the body’s immune system, we use medication to modulate the patient’s immune response. Diagnosis and monitoring of the condition often include testing the joint fluid. In some cases, medication may be tapered off completely or kept at a minimal level.
Removing tumors when they affect the bone or originate from the bone can be part of an optimal treatment plan, resulting in the best cure and pleasing cosmetic results. For some tumors, such as osteosarcoma (a tumor that originates in the bone), recent advances in chemotherapy have made it a more rewarding option that can help significantly.
Note: With our goal always being to achieve the best possible outcome for every patient, in some cases and with some tumors, removing a limb is the wisest treatment. Any amputation is done with the pet’s best interest in mind and as a medical necessity.
Wound Reconstruction & Skin Grafting
For health and cosmetic reasons, tumor removal as well as wounds that damage an area of skin that is too large to heal on its own may call for wound reconstructive techniques. We have excellent success with many techniques, including skin grafts, which involve moving a connected piece of healthy skin to cover and heal the are