Charles Barnard, BVSc, M.Med.Vet (Surgery)
Registered Specialist in Small Animal Surgery – one of only eight in private practice in New Zealand.
Charles qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon in 1977. After 3 years in general practice he was employed as a Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer at the Veterinary School in Pretoria, South Africa. During this 6 year period he completed a Masters Degree in Small Animal Surgery and graduated as a Small Animal Specialist Surgeon from the University of Pretoria in 1986. From 1985 to 1999 he ran a Referral and General Practice in Durban.
In August 1999 Charles and Jacquie emigrated to New Zealand and established Highway Vets and Specialist Surgical Referral Centre providing full medical and surgical care for small animals.
In August 2000 he was registered by the NZ Veterinary Council as a Specialist in Small Animal Surgery.
Charles is interested in all aspects of surgery especially orthopaedics and is a popular choice of specialist for many, regularly taking on referrals from other Veterinary Surgeons from all over New Zealand. He has performed surgery on small animals from as far afield as Christchurch and Taranaki.
Recently Highway Vets was sold to David Dowd allowing Charles and Jacquie to focus on the Specialist Surgical component and will operate as Northland Referral Centre.
Charles and Jacquie have 4 cats, Mr Google a domestic short haired tabby, Twossell, Mouse and Bumble, 3 very naughty Cornish Rex kitties.
They have 2 grown-up daughters residing in the UK.
Veterinary Specialist Surgeon
What is a Vet Specialist?
Veterinary specialists undertake long post graduate study to gain in-depth practical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and soft tissue.
Registration requires the meeting of rigorous and stringent criteria in terms of clinical expertise, training programmes, publishing of original material and examinations.
Charles is a registered specialist in small animal orthopaedics and soft tissue.
Why refer to a Specialist?
Your Vet will refer if the animals condition is more complicated than can be undertaken in a general practice surgery.
We have modern imaging X-Ray and surgery facilities staffed by a trained and experienced team.
The Northland Referral Centre
Northland Referral Centre is well equipped to take high quality Radiographs (X rays) and perform a large variety of complex surgical procedures.
Spinal Assessment and Myelograms (spinal injections of dye injected into neck or back) are performed for evaluation of compression lesions in the spine. Where indicated surgical decompression or occasionally fusion surgeries are undertaken.
Complex and simple fracture repairs are routine, with plate and screw repairs most common. Repairs with plates and screws allow for very stable, exact repair of fractures.After care is easier as the patients are allowed to walk on their repaired leg and long term splinting is not required. The plates are usually left in situ except in young animals when they can be removed after the fracture heals.
Joint repairs of which knee (stifle) surgery is the most common are routinely performed.
Cruciate ligament tears are extremely common in the dog and can be considered a lifestyle injury of the modern dog. Unlike human ACL injuries where there is usually an acute tear during a sporting activity, companion dogs usually have a progressive process where they have numerous stages of partial tears of the fibres of the ligament over many months eventually leading to a full tear and subsequent meniscal or cartilage damage.
Working dogs on the other hand often tear their cruciate ligaments acutely when they get their legs caught in a fence or the rail on the Quad bike or get kicked in the leg by a large beast.
Most dogs are repaired with a closing wedge TPLO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy) or a TTA (Tibial tuberosity advancement) depending on the Tibial plateau angle and stifle alignment. Some dogs have a flat tibial plateau angle with a hyper extended hind leg (meaning a knee that is too straight). The TPLO straightens the leg by between 14 and 22 degrees. These dogs will be better to have a TTA which does not straighten the leg at all. In contrast many breeds like Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Rottweiler’s have a steep tibial plateau angle and an inability to straighten the knee to a comfortable angle. These dogs do really well with a TPLO as the surgery straightens the leg more. The TPLO and TTA are the gold standard for large dogs as the procedures alter the bio mechanics of the joint so that the cranial cruciate ligament is not required, therefore is a long term solution for the knee.
Other procedures like intra articular grafts and nylon tie back procedures are good in the short term but become unstable after about 6 months and lead to more aggressive arthritic changes than with the TPLO and TTA.
Small dogs are repaired with an intra articular graft or a nylon tie back, unless they have a severe tibial plateau angle then a TPLO becomes the procedure of choice.
Luxating patellas (medial) are the most common procedure of toy breeds where the knee cap dislocates off the ridge to the inside of the knee joint. Repair consists of 3 components. The tibial crest is rotated outwards and pinned to realign the muscle pull on the knee cap, the groove for the patella is deepened and cartilage replaced and the outside ligaments shortened. This is a long term solution and the patients do well.
In the front legs, elbow dysplasia repairs are common.
Deviated legs due to early closure of growth plates need corrective osteotomies (bone cuts) to straighten their legs to prevent significant injuries to joints leading to arthritis.
Hip dysplasia is a common problem in large dogs and triple pelvic osteotomies are performed in dogs usually under a year of age before arthritic changes develop.
In late cases where arthritis is advanced femoral head resections (arthroplasty) are performed as salvage procedures to relieve pain and are a cost effective option to total hip replacements which are not performed at the clinic.
Joint fusions of which the hock (ankle) and carpal (wrist) are the most common joints fused. Multiple ligament ruptures around these joints make it impossible to repair individual ligaments and joint fusion is the only option. Custom made plates are used and bone grafts are removed from the shoulder bone (proximal humerus).
Chest surgery for the removal of tumours, foreign bodies, lung lobes etc and the placement of chest drains for removal of fluid (pus, chyle, transudates) or air are performed.
Abdominal surgeries involving bowel, bladder, liver, kidney, spleen are regularly performed.
Cancer surgeries are common procedures in small animal practice, but some cases need radical resections and skin flaps and grafts become necessary and these are usually referred to a Specialist.