Orthopedic Surgery FAQs
What can I expect at my first appointment?
Orthopedics accepts initial appointments on Tuesdays at 10:30 am, 11:00 am and 11:30 am and Thursdays at 9:00 am, 9:30 am and 10:00 am. Plan to be here for a good portion of the day. Your pet will receive a physical and orthopedic examination. Then we will suggest a diagnostic work up and give an estimate for that testing (usually x-rays). If you agree to testing, you leave your pet for diagnostics and return 2 to 4 hours later. At that time, we will discuss our findings and recommendations for treatment including surgical options. Surgery will not be scheduled the same day of the consultation unless it is deemed an emergency.
How do we prepare for our appointment?
Because in most cases we will use reversible sedation to get diagnostic quality X-rays, we ask that your pet be fasted for the appointment. That means NO FOOD after 10:00 pm the night before and no sedative type medications the morning of the appointment. Allow access to fresh drinking water at all times.
It is helpful if you bring along the medications your pet is currently taking. If your pet has a sensitive stomach or is on a special diet, you should bring that food with you as well. We have access to Purina and Hills pet food products at no extra charge.
If you have blood work results, X-rays and other information from your veterinarian, please bring them with you to the appointment.
When will my pet’s surgery be scheduled?
If your pet is a surgical candidate, the surgery and details of the hospital stay will be discussed the day of the consultation. Surgeries are typically performed the day following your appointment on Wednesdays or Fridays as our schedule allows. If you elect to leave your pet for surgery he/she can stay with us overnight and have surgery the next day. All animals must stay the night of the surgery and sometimes one more night depending on how they recover. We will call you every day while your pet is in the hospital to update you on their progress.
Will we have to come back?
Most orthopedic surgeries require recheck appointments here at about 6 & 12 weeks after surgery. You will know when you need to return at the time of your pet’s release. Your pet will need to be fasted for that appointment as well. That means NO FOOD after 10:00 pm the night before and no sedative type medications the morning of the appointment.
In most situations it is preferable for us to perform the recheck appointments.
Post-operative recheck appointments can be scheduled for Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays. There is no charge for the exam; you do pay for sedation and X-rays. (most routine rechecks run about $0-200, depending on the need to take X-rays). These appointments can be shorter but often still involve a few hours total time.
How much will it cost?
The typical cost of an examination, sedation and set of x-rays of 1-2 areas of interest is roughly $300 to 400. The surgical estimates listed below DO include the most common diagnostics for an uncomplicated case.
You will need to leave a deposit of payment of one half of the high end of the estimate when you leave your pet for care. The rest of the bill must be paid at the time of discharge.
Do you have weekend hours?
We do not see appointments on the weekend. However, it is not uncommon to release a patient after surgery on a Saturday or Sunday morning (typically between 8:30-9:30AM). If you will be coming to pick up on a weekend, you will be given an arrival time. You must make arrangements to arrive at that time because our doctors MUST be present for a post-operative release.
Do I have to have more X-rays taken?
We understand that taking more X-rays may seem redundant. However, in order to make an educated surgical plan, we need to look closely at certain things. Those things are not always visible in older X-rays or the X-rays your veterinarian took as a screening process. Our surgeons sometimes need different views, different positioning or more recent films. We will NOT take extra X-rays if we don’t need to. It is the surgeons’ discretion to make that decision.
Can’t you do the x-rays without sedation?
Positioning for some X-rays can be awkward and slightly uncomfortable. It is very rare that we can get the exact positioning we need to make a surgical plan without sedation. It is beneficial to your pet to be sedated and have some pain medication available for the type of positioning we need.
Can I board my pet there?
We do not have the staff or facilities to simply board a pet. However sometimes surgery requires a longer hospitalization or an extended stay for medical needs. If that becomes a concern, these decisions are approved by the surgeon on the case.
Do you offer physical rehabilitation?
Yes, 95% of all post-operative cases receive physical rehabilitation starting the day after surgery. If the surgeon deems physical rehabilitation beneficial to your pet, our rehabilitation specialist will work with your pet and design personalized home exercises for you to follow at home. Home exercises are included in most surgical estimates. We do not offer rehab treatments on Saturdays and Sundays.
Why aren’t you less expensive, you are a teaching hospital right?
Although we are a teaching hospital, our funding is less than 7% from the State of Illinois. This means we are like most businesses dependent upon our income to function. The U of I Veterinary Teaching Hospital is actually a specialty referral hospital. Every area of our hospital is staffed by graduate veterinarians who have received extra years of training in a specific field. Surgeons are graduate veterinarians who have completed four years of veterinary school, an internship and at least three years in a surgical residency. The type of surgery that we offer is performed by the boarded surgeons (www.acvs.org) or graduate veterinarians in their surgical residency with surgeon supervision. Simply put, these types of cases are treated by the experts in the field.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Call the main hospital number 217-333-5300 to schedule and “orthopedic surgery appointment.”
If you have further questions you can leave a message with our orthopedic clinical coordinator at 217-265-5533 or VTHorthopedics@vetmed.illinois.edu
Because we bill for each service rendered, you never pay for something your pet did not get. However, it can be difficult to give exact estimates for many procedures. An extra bandage, night in the hospital, or pain medication can make a difference in your final bill. Our surgery estimates are rough estimates only. The numbers reflect our best knowledge of the potential cost of your bill during your pet's hospital stay for the evaluation and surgery.
These estimates include the exam, routine diagnostic work up (x-rays, advanced imaging, blood work) surgery, anesthesia, the immediate post-operative care and post-operative medications. The surgeon will give you a more specific estimate the day you leave your pet for surgery. You will need to leave a deposit of payment of one half of the high end of estimate when you leave your pet for care. The remainder of the bill must be paid at the time of discharge. Payment options can be found on the about your visit page.
Estimates of commonly performed orthopedic surgeries
Please remember, the following estimates are rough only. They are not a guarantee of the actual cost of the procedure.
Cruciate ligament rupture surgeries:
- TPLO or TTA surgery (under 120 lbs).....$3800-4400 (up to $5700 + bilateral)
- TPLO or TTA surgery (over 120 lbs).....$4400-4700
- Lateral fabellar suture……...$2200-2600 (under 40 pounds)
- Lateral fabellar suture……...$2400-3000 (over 40 pounds)
- Total hip replacements………$6000-7000
- Femoral head ostectomy……$2000-2300
- Triple pelvic ostectomy………$2900-3500
- Patella luxation (knee cap).…$2200-3400
- Arthrodesis (joint fusion)….....$3000-3900
- Arthroscopy of one joint only…..$2400-3100
- Radius fractures……......$2700-3500
- Tibia fractures……...…...$2700-3500
- Femur fractures…….......$2800-4000
- Pelvis fractures……........$3000-4000+ (more if multiple sites need metal implants)
- Fracture close to the joint….$2800-3500+
- Hemilaminectomy (back surgery).…$3200-4200 (CT included; if MRI deemed necessary, additional costs apply)
- Cervical ventral slot (neck surgery)....$3500-4500
Note: all may include arthroscopy
Other common surgeries:
Fracture repair (for broken limbs):
Spinal cord surgery for a ruptured disc:
Any information dated before one year ago may be inaccurate.