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Medical Management versus Total Knee Replacement in Dogs

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs recently diagnosed with advanced stifle osteoarthritis (severe arthritis in the knee) for a research trial.  This investigational trial is studying the function of the knee during daily activities after medical management and after total knee replacement surgery.

  • Inclusion Criteria: Dogs recently diagnosed with end-stage stifle osteoarthritis that are otherwise healthy and able to bear weight on the other legs.
  • Treatment: Participation involves extra visits to the Small Animal Hospital before and after surgery. Each dog will be trained to walk and trot on a treadmill and procedures to measure weight-bearing capabilities and joint movement will be performed.  These procedures include: complete physical and orthopedic exam, X-rays, and knee arthroscopy.  Your dog will be started on medical management of osteoarthritis for the first 6 weeks. After this study period, the knee will be examined for total knee replacement option or continued medical management.  You will be asked to return to the hospital for follow up visits at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months.
  • Cost: The study will pay the costs associated with these extra visits.  The cost of surgery remains the responsibility of the owner.
  • Contact:  Contact the Surgery Staff at the Small Animal Hospital 1-866-247-7950 or 352-392-2235 or the Clinical Trials Coordinator at 352-294-4639.


The purpose of the research is to study the functional outcome of total knee replacement (TKR) in dogs with end-stage stifle (knee) osteoarthritis (OA). Stifle osteoarthritis is a common source of pain in dogs.  It is characterized by the loss of cartilage that results in pain and disability during daily activities such as walking and climbing stairs.  Medical treatment can often reduce pain in many patients, but full function of the affected joint is rarely restored.  Previous studies have researched the outcome of medical treatment of osteoarthritis and the outcome following joint replacement, but currently there are no studies that have directly compared both strategies in the same dog.  The purpose of our study is to investigate the outcome of dogs with total knee replacement due to end-stage stifle osteoarthritis. We hope with the data collected that we will be able to provide guidelines for dogs regarding the selection of medical treatment versus joint replacement to alleviate pain.

In addition the regularly scheduled evaluations should ensure that your dog obtains optimal care and if problems arise those problems will likely be identified early.