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3 year old lab - bilateral cruciate rupture, WWYD?

(33 Posts)
KinkyAfro Thu 05-Nov-15 10:45:04

I have a 3 year old lab, she has elbow dysplasia but luckily not showing any symptoms at the moment. To cut a long story short she's been in and out of our own vets/emergency vets over the last couple of days and they are 99.9% sure she has bilateral cruciate rupture in both back legs. The vet is doing some more xrays today to confirm (already ruled out back/hip problems) and if it is the case she will be referred to an orthapaedic vet. She can't be managed medically and I've got to think about the impact of surgery especially with the front leg problems. I know it hasn't been confirmed yet but I need to think about what needs to happen if it is.

Up until Tuesday evening she was her happy normal self, no showing any symptoms at all but within half hour of me picking her up she was obviously in pain hence the vet visits.


SunshineAndShadows Thu 05-Nov-15 10:51:05

What is her weight like OP?

She'll need surgery on both legs and it will be expensive - is she insured? Most cruciate surgeries are successful if done by an experienced orthopaedic surgeon

Sorry to be blunt but I'm not sure what options you're considering - are you considering euthanasia as an alternative to surgery? Or just leaving her without surgery?

I'd go for surgery and weight management in a 3 year old dog if her elbow issues are currently painful.

She will get arthritis in the longterm but that can mostly be managed with meds

KinkyAfro Thu 05-Nov-15 10:57:37

She's a big, tall lab and weighs 34kg currently after we've got her down from almost 40kg, vet would like her to be 30 which we're working on. We are insured.

Yes euthansia or the op Sunshine, only considering the former as the vet said it might be the best thing because of her other issues. Obviously I wouldn't want to do that but I've got to do what is best for her long term.

MitchellMummy Thu 05-Nov-15 11:10:43

Poor you. We had TPLO on a five year old dog - then on his other leg when he was seven. He had a new lease of life and went on to live to 13+ years. He also had a spinal op. We followed after care advice to the letter, seems harsh to keep them restrained for three months at a time but it was worth it. Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick (before he became famous!) did the ops.

Shriek Thu 05-Nov-15 12:38:32

so sad for you OP and your poor girly sad

I can't remember the name of a highly recommended orthapeadic surgeon if you are going to go that route, as with a good one they have every chance of a good outcome, especially once the weight is down, better underweight than over, especially now fully grown, it will be healthy to be able to see the end of the ribcage and waist.

With the dysplaysia and cruciates am assuming vet already advised about activity restriction!

Good luck

tabulahrasa Thu 05-Nov-15 12:41:21

If her elbows are currently pain free - I don't even understand why your vet has put forward having her PTS as an option.

Shriek Thu 05-Nov-15 13:09:10

i wondered about this also TR is the elbow dysplaysia very pronounced that you know about it without any signs of pain or has he been routinely BVAC x'rayed and got a poor score for elbows, but good hips (as you mentioned that).

Shriek Thu 05-Nov-15 13:12:51

he ... sorry.. she !

SunshineAndShadows Thu 05-Nov-15 13:28:36

I'm also confused about PTS if her elbows are currently pain-free?

Definitely ask for a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon - its a shame your vet has already done xrays, it would have been better to do everything with the specialist so that they can get the views that they need (specialist radigraphs are often a bit different to general practice ones), assess her elbows at the same time and advise you on the best plan for her.

KinkyAfro Thu 05-Nov-15 13:44:24

Her elbows are currently pain free but she does have fairly large swellings on them with come and go depending on how much exercise she's had. I'm saying she's pain free but I can't say for sure, but she doesn't limp or show any other signs. She's not been to vet about this since she was put on long term meds at 9 months.

I think the vet is concerned because of the potential extra pressure on her front legs whilst she's recovering from the surgery. I don't know the ins and outs of the surgery for her cruciate so don't know what it involves exactly, will no more when we see the orthapaedic surgeon - we've just got the appointment through for 16th Nov.

I just don't want her to be in pain and want to do the best for her but I've never dealt with this. All advice is welcome but I want you to know that it would kill me if I had to PTS, I wouldn't have thought about it until he mentioned it

SunshineAndShadows Thu 05-Nov-15 13:50:14

Definitely don't make any decisions until you've spoken to the ortho and ask him to evaluate her elbows also

You can only make a decision when you have all of the info.

On a different note, if you bought her from a breeder then you should definitely feedback on these health issues bilateral cruciate rupture and elbow dysplasia at such a you age are not good - the breeder needs to be aware that they're producing problem puppies

Shriek Thu 05-Nov-15 13:53:16

As i haven't personally experienced [for any of my ddogs] i think its your own judgement call. I guess the long-terms meds were then for these elbows, they sound very bad sad poor love, both of you because its so sad too for you to see her going through this from a 9 month old!

and at 9 months thats too young for standard bvac health scheme checks, so i guess they looked like this then [the elbows].

Is there something available to support her back legs whilst waiting for this op, and are you near to swimming which will allow her to use her muscles (and mostly swimming being something that labs love so fun for her) and would vet advise this kind of exercise over any other? or simply none at all sad As this is going to help her get through it all so much the better/fitter and psychologically.

Shriek Thu 05-Nov-15 13:54:24

i hope you have a responsible breeder behind you who's already done all the health checks possible to rule out these probs, and this is just a very unfortunate emmergence.

PuckyMup Thu 05-Nov-15 13:56:21

If your options are surgery or PTS then surely surgery is the only way forward? If it doesn't work, then you PTS (although that sounds extreme?) If you can get referred to place with good physiotherapy/hydrotherapy care then you could potentially also keep up the weight loss AND do the necessary excercise/rest for the cruciate op

You CAN manage cruciate problems with no surgery, strict rest and careful physiotherapy but its usually more successful in smaller dogs (under 10kg) generally.

I can outline what happens in surgery and recovery if you need a bit more info smile

If you do decide to go for the op, stock up on the activity bowls and kongs to make meal times longer and to act as brain training to supplement the missing exercise smile

KinkyAfro Thu 05-Nov-15 14:01:25

We didn't get her from a breeder, she was a rescue so we don't really know much about her background apart from the fact that she was dumped. We took her on knowing about the elbows but I'm guessing she was probably dumped for the same reason.

I'll speak to the vet when I pick her up later and will make it clear that PTS will be a last resort, if all else fails or she's in constant pain AFTER the op. We used to take her to hydrotherapy when she was younger but she just didn't enjoy it, used to fight to get out of the pool, yet walk her near any water and she's in. Might try a different hydro place, see if that makes a difference.

I'm just hoping that she's comfortable later with the pain meds they are sending her home with, they are going to try another med that isn't tramadol. 16th Nov is a long way off so I don't want her in pain until then

spanky2 Thu 05-Nov-15 14:03:13

My cat tore his cruciate ligament and had arthritis. Don't pts, give your dog a chance. My vet said pts was an option as the op was expensive, but I couldn't do it as I wanted him to have a chance. He lived until he was 15 and didn't tear the other ligament. I think your dog needs a chance.

spanky2 Thu 05-Nov-15 14:05:16

Sorry just read your update. My friend had a Labrador with arthritis and used a hydrotherapy pool and it worked wonders.

KinkyAfro Thu 05-Nov-15 16:08:03

Just had a call from the vet, dog has been fine all day, no crying, no panting. She had been on Tramadol and I've read that some dogs can have reactions which could cause this. She's not had any Tram since I dosed her last night, so fingers crossed the whinging (some if not all) has been caused by the tabs and not from pain. She's been walking fine, he said she practically dragged the nurse out when she went out for a wee and she's showing no trouble walking.

Have got to give her 2 Pardale 3 times a day and keep her on her usual dose of Onsior once a day.

Just hoping she's OK when we get home

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Thu 05-Nov-15 16:21:17

Fingers crossed for you. flowers

KinkyAfro Thu 05-Nov-15 17:18:47

Thank you smile

Cheerfulmarybrown Thu 05-Nov-15 18:18:17

I have been involved with dogs that have had Cruciate surgery - they have all done extremely well and it should put little strain on the shoulder. Many dogs come out of surgery and stand on the operated leg to wee! so there will be no extra strain on the shoulder joints.

Rehablitation obviously takes time and does require commitment from the owners but well worth it.

I am surprised by your vets comments especially in such a young dog - I would wait for the specialists before making any decisions

cressetmama Thu 05-Nov-15 20:23:29

Our young lab bitch, only 17 months now, has had bilateral elbow dysplasia, caused by congenital issues. She was showing early arthritic tendencies when we went to the vet at about a year. Referred to ortho after elbow X ray, and he then asked for CT scans (in Somerset) which revealed she had unnatural protrusions on the coronoid process, which connects radius and ulna into the elbow. He then operated to remove said protrusions (warned us to expect £800 per elbow with small discount for doing two and charged us £1200). A month of very controlled exercise, plus weekly hydrotherapy, and five months on she is fine. She is small as Labs go, but I am instructed to keep her light and to work her hard. She currently weighs about 20kg, but it is all muscle and bone. She is a bit too thin visually, people keep asking if she's a lurcher cross, but astonishingly strong and fit. It has cost a fortune: about £2,500 so far, and we are not insured. I have never believed in insurance. However, I am told that by doing all this, she should expect to have the same quality of life as any other Lab.

Wolfiefan Thu 05-Nov-15 20:29:22

No expert here.
I do walk a much older and small dog who had a cruciate ligament repair on one leg. I couldnt get there every day so I'm not sure what effect that had on his recovery.
But with short walks, physio done at home and hydrotherapy done through the vet he's made a remarkable recovery.
Hoping the experts can give you good news.

KinkyAfro Fri 06-Nov-15 08:33:03

Thanks everyone for your advice and stories. We brought her home last night, vet & nurses said she was good as gold all day, no crying or whinging. Got her home and the crying and whinging starting again, it only stopped when she was asleep. She didn't eat her food last night but did eat a bit of plain chicken, and again this morning she didn't eat her food but I've left it out for her. I expressed concern re the Tramadol and the fact that it can affect dogs in different ways so she's not on that now, she's on 2 Pardale 3 times a time, and her usual anti inflam. Mum has her whist I'm at work so will get an update from her later

tabulahrasa Fri 06-Nov-15 09:41:11

I have awkward pets, tramadol is no use to them, it sends my cat completely wired to the moon and does nothing at all to the dog, including not working for his pain - he's on pardale too because he can't have NSAIDs (see awkward, lol)

With respect to her elbows and recovery from surgery...she'll already be compensating for the back leg pain by relying on her front a bit more, that should actually be eased a bit by the cruciate repair as they're often (IME, I'm not a vet or medical person though) improved immediately. Then the first recovery period will be crate rest with literally a minute walking on lead for toiletting, so it really shouldn't cause her elbows much stress.

After that when you start to build up gradual exercise, you just know to take it extra easy because of her elbows too.

You will need to think about food though, because it's dead easy for them to pile on weight when they're resting and of course that's the last thing a dog with leg issues needs.

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