The use of arthroscopy in small animals was first reported in the late 1970’s and concentrated on the diagnosis and treatment of disease in canine knee joints. Due to the high level of surgical expertise required and veterinarian’s relative lack of understanding of complex orthopedic conditions at that time, arthroscopy has been slow to gain popularity in veterinary medicine. With the recent advent of new and more complex techniques to treat canine and feline orthopedic disease, the advantages of arthroscopy have become increasingly more apparent and now arthroscopy is the method of choice for the diagnosis and treatment of most joint disorders.
Significant advantages of arthroscopy over a traditional "open-approach" (arthrotomy) include superior visualization of structures and pathology within the joint, increased precision with the use of specifically manufactured arthroscopic instruments, and reduced patient morbidity. All of these factors translate to an ability to provide an improved level of care for our patients with less post-operative pain, increased post-operative limb use, and a quicker and improved recovery.