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Anyone's dog had cruciate surgery?

(21 Posts)
Bubble2bubble Wed 10-Aug-16 19:03:41

Ddog4 has been looking stiff after walks, doesn't want to 'sit' and struggles to get et up from a lying position. The vet thinks both his knees feel quite bad.
He's going for an xray tomorrow before we make any decision, to rule out everything else.
He's only three, and just lives to run, I am so gutted for him. I could do with some success stories please.

Ddog2 (a rescue Labrador-pointer cross) ruptured both cruciates, at the end of 2014, and had them operated on in 2015.

The first knee was done by a surgeon who favoured the Tightrope procedure (where a braided rope is passed through holes drilled through the top of the tibia and the bottom of the femur. This stabilises the joint for 6 weeks, whilst scar tissue forms, to support the joint, and prevent the movement which is causing the pain.

She needed 6 weeks cage rest afterwards - and in fact, we kept her on modified cage rest until her second operation, which was 9 weeks after the first.

Her second operation was a TPLO - tibial plateau levelling osteotomy, where a wedge of bone is taken out of the tibia, to make the slope of the top of the tibia less acute, so the femur doesn't slip on it, causing the pain.

She had another 6 weeks cage rest after the second operation, and, by the summer, she was starting to get back to normal - her knees were fine, but the extended cage rest had decreased her stamina and muscle mass, so she did have to work her way back to full fitness.

Sadly, just as she was getting back to normal, she dislocated her knee cap (a very rare side effect of the knee surgeries), and needed a third operation, involving moving a bit of bone, called the tibial tuberosity. She took longer to heal from this one, and was on cage rest, then modified cage rest until Christmas (complicated by getting a gastric ulcer from the anti-inflammatory so she was given following the dislocation).

So last year was pretty hard on her and on us (and on PetPlan - it was not cheap), but she is now 100% back to normal, running like the wind, walking beautifully, and in no pain.

The first couple of weeks of cage rest is the worst - they have to be in the Cone of Shame, which makes everything that bit more time consuming, and they need to be taken out to do their business, on a very short lead, with a sling under their tummy, to support them if they slip.

I made a sling with a spare lead, with a towel wrapped around it, and tacked together - the vet hospital did offer us a Proper one, but it was £60, and there was no guarantee that the insurance would cover it - so I got crafty and did it for free!

If you have any other questions I can help with, I am happy to try. Ddog2 and I will keep our fingers/paws crossed that your dog recovers as fast and well as ddog2 did.

Bubble2bubble Wed 10-Aug-16 19:32:54

Gosh.Thanks for the quick reply. Sounds horrendous. sad
From a quick google there do seem to be a few different surgical options, though I will go into more detail with the vet tomorrow.
Of all my dogs he is the one with the greatest need for off lead runs ( he's a retriever x ) .
Does cage rest absolutely have to mean crated, or can it be confined to the house with no jumping around?
We have no insurance and until now have been so lucky to have a pack of healthy mongrels,

Shizzlestix Wed 10-Aug-16 21:01:35

One of mine had two TPLOs, was back to full fitness very soon afterwards. Unfortunately, it is very common for both to go within a short space of time.

I would explore options and not allow a bog standard vet to perform any operation of this nature. Like GPS, they're not specialists. We decided to get an orthopaedic specialist to do our dog. It was expensive, but worth it.

MadisonMontgomery Wed 10-Aug-16 21:07:27

Mine had cruciate ligament surgery 3 weeks ago - he had 2 weeks back garden only, then he's had a week of 2 X 15min walks, he's got another week of that then I think 2 weeks of a little more exercise. So far things seem really good - his wound has healed really well, and he is walking well with just a little limp, so hoping in a few more weeks he'll be back to normal.

Bubble2bubble Wed 10-Aug-16 21:08:00

That's good news Shizzle, thank you
I have a lot of questions for the vet already, and whether we need a specialist referral was one of them.
I wondered also if both knees can be done at once as there seems a strong chance of both rupturing sooner rather than later.

MadisonMontgomery Wed 10-Aug-16 21:13:16

Oh, and I was really worried how he would cope with the lack of exercise - he was used to 2 long walks per day, but tbh it hasn't been an issue at all. First week especially he hardly walked at all, really didn't want to move about more than he had to, and even now when he's more himself he's happy with the little walks - you can see it tires his leg out & he's happy to come home rather than wanting to keep going.

Ddog2 is a very active dog, so for her, cage rest meant staying in the cage almost all the time, at first, apart from meals and two or three trips to the garden, and occasional short periods on the hearth rug with dh or me - on the lead, so she couldn't take off anywhere. From about 4 weeks post-op, we started letting her come on the couch for a cuddle, but only if someone was there to lift her on and off, and we kept her on the lead.

If I recall correctly, the guidance we were given was that cage rest didn't have to mean strictly cage rest, if the dog could be confined in a small area where there was no risk of them slipping or jumping, and too small for them to run.

It is vital that they don't run or jump at all, and that they don't slip (we have a lot of hard and slippy floors). We knew she would try to jump,onto the couch, or would leap up to run and bark if anyone came to the door, so it was not safe to have her out of the cage. I did consider having her in my library/office, which is small and has carpet, so no risk of slipping and not enough space for her to run, but she always gets very over excited when the doorbell goes or the postman comes, and I didn't want to take the risk of her leaping up and bounding to jump at the door.

After 2 weeks, and her first check-up, she started on gentle, on-lead walking - 2x10 mins each day for the first week, going up by 5 minutes each walk in each subsequent week. At 6 weeks, she was allowed to have longer walks, and we gradually increased her time off the lead.

I was worried that she would hate the cage rest, because she is such an active dog, but she coped really well - after the first couple of nights, when she was rather unsettled, and dh had to go down and sleep on the couch in the front room (where the cage was) - and didn't fret or get upset.

We did our best to put the cage somewhere central - it was in the lounge, so the only time she couldn't see me was when I was in the kitchen, and I did my best to spend as much time with her as possible - even if I was just reading quietly or watching TV.

Shizzlestix Wed 10-Aug-16 22:23:29

Bubble, they are unlikely to do the other knee if it is currently functioning ok. If the vet says both feel bad, then maybe ask to have the other one done sooner rather than later. You can't get them done together, how would the poor dog walk?! Most cope admirably on three legs, two would be torturous.

Jayne266 Wed 10-Aug-16 22:29:24

They shouldn't do them both at the same time. If you are worried about costs you can get this done at your vets (1st opinion vets) but you can ask them to seek advice from a orthopaedic specialist if they are not experienced with this procedure.

Bubble2bubble Wed 10-Aug-16 22:31:40

Shizzle well yes...duhhh, I could have thought of that! blush

madison that sounds very positive for your ddog smile

Ddog2 was weight bearing on the leg very quickly after each op - she was walking on it when we brought her home. She needed the sling support under her tummy in case she slipped, and so we could help her up the two steps to the lawn to do her business, but she was weight bearing.

I did some googling before her op, and did find an account from an American dog owner whose dog had had both knees done at the same time - which amazed and baffled me at the time, but I can see how it might be possible.

I think doing the knees one at a time is the norm, though - the U.S. Owner was definitely the exception.

Cguk81 Wed 10-Aug-16 22:42:39

Our dog has had tplo surgery on both her knees. She would toe point on and off over a year and we suspected that's what the problem was but it was intermittent and not too bad until one day her knee properly went on a walk and she was obviously in a hell of a lot of pain and couldn't bear weight. She got in for her surgery quickly and we went to a specialist (we are in Scotland if you need any info). I slept with her downstairs in the living room for about 10 nights to keep an eye on her as she kept pulling the neck bucket off so I wanted to stay with her. She had the second knee done about 6 weeks after the first. Both times she was prescribed tramadol to keep her quiet and sedated for first few days of recovery.
Thankfully we had insurance ...the total cost for both knees was over £4500!! The ops were done 4 years ago (i remember sitting with her downstairs for several days watching the London Olympics - fond memories now) and you would never know she had dodgy knees...bounds about like a puppy and doing great.
Hope your dog is's awful seeing them in pain.

tabulahrasa Thu 11-Aug-16 12:09:30

Cage rest does pretty much mean actual cage rest btw, my dog had elbow surgery so obviously different, but there was a period of cage rest, then house they're not the same thing.

Though having said that, I don't think they actually have to be in a cage, just confined to a small area to keep them still, there are other ways to do it.

Bubble2bubble Thu 11-Aug-16 13:40:18

£4500 shock .....weeps
Dh needs cruciate surgery as well, he suggested the vet might do him a deal unhelpful
Nice to hear of positive results though, thanks all.

Do you have pet insurance, Bubble?

And how do you think your dh is going to cope with being in the Cone of Shame, and having six weeks cage rest? winkgrin

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 11-Aug-16 14:02:27

There are a variety of different surgical techniques though a study found no difference in long term out come between any of the techniques. Very large dogs do benefit from techniques such as the TPLO as they weight bear on the bad leg sooner.
I do lateral fabella tie surgeries on dogs mostly less than 25kg ( I have done a few over where money is an issue). I do about 20 of these procedures a year and dogs do very after them. Once they have had the initially recovery my patients go for hydrotherapy on the floating treadmill and this really AIDS their recovery.
We are in the South East a lateral fabella tie is in the region of £850 and we can get a TPLO locally with an experienced surgeon for £2K.

Is a lateral fabella tie similar to the Tightrope procedure, Lonecat?

We chose to have the Tightrope for ddog2's first op, partly because we weren't sure how quiet she would stay during the recovery, and we didn't want to take the risk of having bones to heal, if she was going to be fretty and restless.

As it was, she was very good, and so we chose the TPLO for the second knee - and to be honest, you can't tell which knee had which op - she's fine on both of them, running like the wind!

I think, in all, her treatment cost us (well, PetPlan) £10,000 - but that did include the tibial transfer osteotomy for the dislocated knee cap, and the admission and treatment for the gastric ulcer - so hopefully BubbleDog's surgery will not come anywhere near that cost.

I should say that PetPlan were amazing - I can't recommend them highly enough. They didn't quibble about any of the costs, and paid the Vet hospital (in Glasgow) directly. If we'd had to find the money, and claim it back afterwards, we would have done, but it made a huge difference that we didn't have to.

And despite the huge claims from last year, ddog2's premiums have not soared hugely, as we feared they might - they've gone up a bit, but frankly the premiums are never going to cost us what PetPlan have paid out - and she is worth every penny anyway!

Glasgow Small Animal Hospital were amazing too - she couldn't have had better care.

SistersOfPercy Thu 11-Aug-16 16:21:45

My Mum had a shih tzu who had cruciate surgery. He jumped out of the window ledge when he saw a car he thought was mine. It was about 15 years ago now, he was 1 at the time. It cost her around £2k then but he was insured.

He lived a long, happy, relatively normal life up until he was about 14. He'd developed arthritis in the leg and was on metacam. Eventually the leg was withering a bit and he could no longer weight bear. His quality of life was poor and he was clearly in pain. Mum took the decision to have him PTS just before his 15th birthday.

No reason your boy can't live a normal, full life.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 11-Aug-16 16:32:33

Lateral fabella tie is different to tightrope. It is joked that there are nearly as many techniques for cruciate repair as there are surgeons who repair cruciates. This is a reflection of the fact that no one techniques has emerged as truly superior to all the others.

Bubble2bubble Thu 11-Aug-16 16:54:59

Well on the basis of the xrays today our vet doesn't want to rush in surgery just yet and will give ddog 10 days on anti-inflammatories and restricted exercise to see if things settle down. smile
He will need surgery, and one knee is noticeably worse than the other but at least we have a bit more time to prepare and persuade him to stop jumping around like a loon
He said lateral fabella about £750 and TPLO about £1700......
Good news is his hip xray is actually pretty good, which for a half golden retriever is fairly surprising!

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