Sun Valley Veterinarian Pioneers New Ankle Replacement System For Dogs

By DeSiree Fawn

Sun Valley, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) – Remember the old song, heads, shoulders, knees and toes? Well, it seems to be all hips, knees, elbows, and now ankles in Sun Valley.

Over the years, joint replacements are increasingly popular for people… and their pets.

A local veterinarian recently performed one of the first successful ankle replacement surgeries on a dog.

Dr. Randy Acker, a beloved veterinarian at the Sun Valley Animal Center, had already completed numerous successful hip replacements when his dog at the time, Tate, needed a new elbow.

He worked with Wood River Valley native, Greg Van Der Meulen, an engineering student at the time, to invent an elbow replacement system called the TATE Elbow.

Now, a dozen years later, and keeping with the namesake of Acker’s favorite dog, they are introducing the TATE Ankle.

“Joint replacement evolves over the years. That’s the hip we started with. This is the newer types of hips for dogs. And joint replacement for people evolved over the years. There’s been some joints that are hard to replace. The dog ankle has been very hard. The human ankle has been hard,” said Dr. Randy Acker, Veterinarian at the Sun Valley Animal Center.

Acker performed his first successful hip replacement surgery to a German Shephard back in 1991. Now the Sun Valley Animal Center does around 50 similar procedures a year. Because the ankle joint is so much more difficult to replace, these two recent ankle replacement surgeries are ground breaking.


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