A six‐year‐old black Labrador from Devon became the first dog in the UK to benefit from a meniscal cartilage transplant after suffering severe injury to her knee joint in a road traffic accident.
A six‐year‐old black Labrador from Devon has become the first dog in the UK to benefit from a meniscal cartilage transplant, after suffering severe injury to her knee joint in a road traffic accident.
Tia was referred to veterinary orthopaedic expert Patrick Ridge at Ridge Referrals, who diagnosed cruciate ligament injury together with serious damage to one of the cartilages of the knee (the lateral meniscus).
Rather than committing Tia to a lifetime of pain, lameness and arthritis, Mr Ridge realised that Tia was a good candidate for a meniscal transplant and contacted Veterinary Tissue Bank (near Wrexham) which, through its ethical pet donor programme, was able to size‐match and process a suitable tissue transplant.
The meniscus was dispatched to Ridge Referrals by courier and, after painstaking surgery, Tia made an excellent recovery.
Now, at four months post‐operatively, she is back on her four legs and doing very well.
Mr Ridge said: “I would really like to thank the owner of the donor dog. Without their generosity and thoughtfulness at a difficult time of loss for them, Tia would not have received this pioneering treatment. I believe this is the first meniscal transplant in a dog in the UK, and probably Europe.”
A spokesman for Veterinary Tissue Bank said: “It is exactly for this type of need that we set up the tissue bank in 2009. Although bone is currently the most transplanted veterinary connective tissue, other tissues such as tendon, and now meniscus, are increasingly transplanted by vets.
“Removal of a damaged meniscus induces arthritis in the joint, so transplantation makes sense in terms of preserving joint function. We hope Tia, and other future patients, will enjoy a long and mobile life thanks to donated tissue.”