Latest innovations in AO VET


Mike Kowaleski

Advancements in veterinary medicine have been crucial in improving the quality of care and treatment options available for animals. In the field of veterinary orthopedic surgery, AO VET surgeons have been at the forefront of innovation, continually developing new techniques and products to address the evolving clinical needs of veterinarians worldwide. Mike Kowaleski, (chairperson of the AO Technical Commission’s Veterinary Global Expert Committee) sheds light on the innovative projects and products that have been developed to address critical clinical problems.

Veterinary Screw Targeting Clamp (STC)


This innovative tool was developed by the AO Technical Commission’s Foot & Ankle Expert Group. It was modified for veterinary use by the Large Animal Expert Group, and it can apply compression and guide drill bit trajectory for the placement of screws. This is a unique feature of this clamp, which has a variety of drill guides and sleeves that allow drilling, measuring, tapping and screw placement, all while holding the fracture in compression.

Watch the Meet the Experts session delivered by Fabrice Rossignol (FR), Kati Glass (USA), and Janik Gasiorowski (USA), introducing the Veterinary Screw Targeting Clamp during the AO Davos Courses 2023.

3.5 mm LCP Distal Femoral Osteotomy Plates

Blog Kowalexki LCP

Patella luxation is a common cause of pelvic limb lameness in dogs. Although it can occur as a result of trauma, it’s more commonly associated with femoral deformity, and it’s a growing problem in large breed dogs.

Traditional surgical correction, such as sulcoplasty and tibial tuberosity transposition, often fail in more complex and severe cases of patellar luxation. Distal femoral osteotomy/ostectomy (DFO) has led to markedly improved clinical outcomes and lower rates of recurrence of patellar luxation.

While current implants for canine DFO are not anatomically specific, this DFO plate is anatomically pre-contoured, with specified screw trajectories that target the strongest part of the bone but avoid the joint surfaces. The development process involved extensive prototyping and clinical case studies, resulting in an implant that provides compression and offers optimal outcomes.

"The feedback that we've received is that it fits perfectly every single time, and that's exactly what we were shooting for." – Mike Kowaleski

Watch the Meet the Experts session delivered by Mike Kowaleski (USA) and Erik Asimus (FR), introducing the 3.5 mm LCP Distal Femoral Osteotomy Plates in 2020.

1.3 Locking System for veterinary use

Locking System

This is a remarkable innovation, which leverages advancements in human orthopedics to provide state-of-the-art treatments for small animals. One common problem with small dogs, for example, is that they can jump out of their owner’s arms and break their front leg. Because their bones are so tiny, very small implants are needed.

The 1.3 LCP implant system was originally designed to repair human hands, and some of the plates designed for human fingers are a good fit for the radius and ulna of small breed dogs too.

The Small Animal Expert Group has repurposed the human hand implant system to treat fractures in smaller breed canines and felines.

The implant system includes stainless steel 1.3mm screws, locking plates, instruments and an implant module set. The plates can be cut to length for convenience, and both plates and screws have a low profile to minimize soft tissue irritation.


Indication extension – 1.3 mm locking and cortex screws are compatible with the 1.5 mm LCP

Treating small pets presents a unique challenge due to their relatively large body weight compared to their small bone size. Consequently, it is important to be able to adapt by using bigger plates with smaller screws. Researchers made a notable discovery that the smallest screw, the 1.3 mm, actually fits the 1.5 plate. This plate is thicker and stronger, so where the bone is small but the body weight is high, a combined system can be used.

Again, this valuable advancement originates in the human field of medicine.

Watch the Meet the Experts session delivered by Mike Kowaleski (USA) and Erik Asimus (FR), introducing the 1.3 Locking System for veterinary use during the AO Davos Courses 2021.

Plate holding forceps


Tiny implants such as the T-plate, Phalangeal base plate and Y-plate require special instruments for accurate placement. The Plate Holding Forceps - also designed for the human hand - fits extremely well on the toy breed dog radius and ulna. The forceps hold the implant in position while the screws are placed, making the procedure much easier.



Veterinary medicine has also welcomed great advances in power tools alongside plates. The UNIUM, developed by The Foot & Ankle Expert Group, was recently approved for use in veterinary procedures. Like most modern electronics, the tools are progressing to become smaller and lighter, but more powerful. The UNIUM is a very lightweight device, with greatly improved battery power, and it’s reaching a big community of surgeons because it’s very versatile and ergonomic to handle. Simple design details, such as the flat base to prevent it from tipping over, makes you wonder why someone didn’t think of this a long time ago.

The process of innovation within AO VET

The innovation process begins by identifying clinical needs through a collaborative effort. The Experts Group, comprised of experienced clinicians, utilizes their knowledge and expertise to identify these needs. Additionally, surveys are conducted within the AO VET community, where veterinarians rank a list of clinical problems or diseases that require attention. This comprehensive approach ensures that the identified needs are representative of the global veterinary community's challenges.

The input received from veterinarians practicing in the field is of paramount importance. Kowaleski emphasized the significance of their insights, as the perspective of surgeons at the forefront of clinical practice may differ from that of the expert group. By incorporating the feedback and experiences of veterinarians worldwide, AO VET ensures that their innovations address the most pressing needs of the entire veterinary community.

Together, they are able to build a picture of the most crucial products and projects on the horizon in veterinary medicine.