Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dog Days- Canine TPLO Surgery

For the parents of pooches who have received the kick in the gut news about a torn ACL, we've been there and back- THREE times! We hope this post helps you get through this miserable experience with assurance that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can do this!

A few years ago, our Rottweiler/Black Lab mix, Kaine, was out playing in the yard when I heard a freakish yelp. I was sure something serious had happened, and when our usually strong and agile dog limped into the house with his tail curled in, my fear was confirmed.
Dog torn ACL
Kaine's torn ACL would continue to cause problems if left uncorrected. Read more about canine ACL injuries here.
After a visit to our vet, we learned that Kaine had torn his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and that excruciatingly expensive orthopedic surgery was strongly recommended. The four month intensive recovery would be arduous at best.
Dog torn ACL
Kaine's stitches after his first surgery
Because of Kaine's large size, our doctors recommended TPLO (tibial-plateau-leveling-osteotomy) surgery, but they were straight with us. There was a good chance that the other ACL could tear now that our dog had ripped through one. Without this corrective operation, Kaine would likely live in chronic pain with crippling arthritis in his later years.

Was there really a choice? Oh, the news was painful, but we love our beastly mongrel to bits and knew we 'd have to go ahead with the surgery.
Dog torn ACL
Strict confinement is mandatory for the first 4 months after surgery. This was Kaine's "home" while he recovered.
So we stormed through the difficult process...and proving Murphy's Law does, in fact, exist- exactly one year after his first operation, deja vu poo poo. Kaine blew out his other ACL. Ugh!

We repeated the entire miserable experience again with the other leg, thinking this HAD to be it. He had no more ACLs to tear! But alas...
Dog torn ACL
Just when we thought the nightmare had ended...
Another year passed after Kaine's 2nd surgery when the limping and whining began again. We learned that the angle cut in the bone during the 2nd operation (we took Kaine to a different surgeon the second time...BAD idea) was at an improper angle. The surgery would need to be repeated to be corrected. We could barely stomach the news. 
Dog torn ACL
Actual titanium parts from inside Kaine's leg. After his botched surgery, my husband asked to keep the "parts" from the failed operation. The circle is a quarter- used only to show scale. 
Three surgeries, 4 months of recovery each, over $10,000 in orthopedic surgical bills, seemed almost too much to fathom. But what was our alternative? Put our guy to sleep? Watch him suffer every day of his life? We had to do it. One. Last. Time. 
Dog torn ACL
Stitches after third surgery
While Kaine was in surgery, we spent time preparing our home for the recovery period. For four months, he had to stay STRICTLY confined to a very small space so that he could not jump up on anything, attempt any stairs, run, slip or jostle his recovering leg in any way. Crating is strongly recommended for the first few weeks. We used the side of an old baby crib and tied it to his crate to create a fenced-in area where he would have enough room to stretch out but could not break any of the "rules" for recovery. 
Dog torn ACL
Side of old baby crib tied to Kaine's crate"
Next, we added lots of padding for Kaine's comfort. When the dog initially comes home after surgery, compresses are needed, and the wound tends to get a bit weepy. We added old sheets to the top of his area so that we could easily remove and wash them frequently.
Dog torn ACL
Kaine's "Zen" space. His food and water were elevated next to the fireplace so he wouldn't knock them over with his cone. An Elizabethan collar (cone) was required for the first two weeks until the stitches were removed. 
For the first few weeks, a sling is required to support the dog and to prevent slipping on the bad leg. Because he could not attempt any stairs as part of the recovery, we set up a ramp to get him in and out of the house for bathroom trips.
Dog torn ACL

Homemade ramp with old carpet on top to prevent slipping
We had to make a calendar to help us keep track of Kaine's medication schedule. The prescribed tranquilizers made our dog very wacky, so we gave him only the smallest doses when absolutely necessary.
Dog torn ACL
The tranquilizers made Kaine way too loopy for our comfort. In this photo, he wasn't even aware that his FACE was smushed against the crate. We didn't like giving him this medication. 
Dog torn ACL
After only HALF the recommended dose of tranquilizers, look at Kaine's EYES! We refused to give him these pills again after this experience. He could barely stand up to eat or go to the bathroom. Not fun. 
After Kaine's follow up appointment, about two weeks after the procedure, compresses could be stopped, the stitches were removed and the uncomfortable cone was finally removed from his poor head. Through all three surgeries, we were strict about keeping it on (only removing it so that he could eat and drink) so that Kaine couldn't gnaw at his stitches and irritate the wound. Ditching the cone is relieving. 
Dog torn ACL
And from there, we took it one day at a time. In Kaine's third month of recovery, although still confined indoors, he was allowed and encouraged to exercise outdoors on a leash. He went out for two walks a day, increasing in length and speed, so that he could begin to build up muscle in the wounded leg. We started taking him on hikes with steeper inclines, as our surgeon recommended, to get him using all the different muscles that had deteriorated from the injury. 
Dog torn ACL
Gradually increase activity on leash
The muscle in the recovering leg was severely atrophied, so it was imperative that we continued exercising him to build muscle mass in order to prevent future injuries. Physical therapy was strongly recommended. 

Kaine now takes a glucosamine with chondroitin supplement and a prescribed doxycycline antibiotic daily, both used to slow the progression of severe arthritis. He does get a little stiff every now and then, so we're sure to keep up with his daily supplements.

After ALL this...Kaine is one happy dog, I tell ya. He's back to his crazy, barkin' sprintin' pouncin' stinkin' self, that's for sure. He has no problem hightailing it after a squirrel or clearing the deck stairs in one giant leap in an attempt to check out who has pulled into the driveway. Should he be doing that? But try to stop a stubborn old man from doing his will.

Kaine is still always down for an adventure, leaping into the car as soon as any door opens. He's an active dude, and we are confident that we made the right choices in going ahead with these surgeries every time we see his face while he's on the go.
Smilin' in the back seat- heading out for a hike.
It was a rough ride for all of us, but it was worth it. Every day that we watch him frolic and play, we know we made the right moves. We've given Kaine a much better quality of life. Yup, I'd say that, after forking out college tuition costs on this dude, he's definitely spoiled. 
King Kaine, in all his glory
Three cheers for happy mongrels! If you have any questions about TPLO surgery and or recovery, please feel free to ask. We're happy to help. Again, after three runs, we've got this down to a science. Remember that you can and will get through it, and that your pooch will love you for it. Hang in there through the dog days- there's sunshine on the other side!

Has your pet ever undergone surgery? What was the experience like, and what tricks did you learn to get through the recovery?


Shazberry said...

Oh goodness, the pictures were eye-opening. That had to been excruciating. Anyone with big dogs prone to hip and knee issues should invest in pet insurance. Which reminds me, I think we need to renew ours. As you know, our dog had the same issue, but I have a feeling it may not have been as bad as Kaine's rupture. We hesitatingly went against the vet's recommendation and canceled the surgery the day before it was scheduled. It was tough seeing Arnold in pain, but after 12 weeks of laser therapy on both legs, taking it easy and a steady regime of supplements, he's been fantastic. Even though he's gotten loose and trampled through the woods a few times, he hasn't had any issues in almost a year. I know you're happy with your decision, but I have to say we're really happy we didn't go the surgery route. We'll see how things turn out for Arnold in the long run, but either way there's always two sides to every coin. You have to do what's best for you.

kateisaredhead said...

Pet insurance, pet insurance, pet insurance...can i say it again? They didn't really have pet insurance when I was growing up and I didn't know anyone that had it when I had my first dog. It just didn't occur to me until someone at the dog park mentioned it. I immediately purchased it, then 7 days later...torn ACL..7 days into the waiting period. It's crucial

Unknown said...

SUCH an important part of this post that I neglected to include, so thank you so much for mentioning insurance!

Unfortunately, once Kaine tore his ACL, we were told that no one would insure him- since the likelihood of him tearing the other was so high.

MAJOR oversight on our part to not have had our dog insured. We will definitely insure our next pet after this ordeal, so thank you for bringing this to light.

Meredith Adler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

Our 2 year old lab has had his TPLO surgery 2 days ago, it is horrendous. We've never crated him so were confining him to the lounge and have made the whole floor into one huge bed for him. We just can't seem to keep him still and it's awful, I'm so worried that he's not resting it enough. It's such early days we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet. Thank you for posting your experiences, it makes me realise that it won't be like this forever.

Cally said...

I'm so sorry to hear this news, Lauren. As much as we HATED it, we had to use those tranquilizers from time to time to keep our dog calm when company was coming over. Our docs said it's especially critical to keep the leg as still as possible for the first few weeks. We hated those tranqs so we'd only give him like 1/4 of the recommended dosage, just enough to keep him extra calm. Our old pooch, after THREE surgeries, is still an agile runner, so we know we made the right choice for him. You're a great mama to your dog as well. Sending you and your pooch lots of love and sunshine!

Teresa Powell said...

Our boxer mix just had this procedure done 4 days ago. I have her in a pen area with an orthopedic bed and her dog and water stand. She has probably 2 feet of room length wise from the bed to the gate and the width I'm going to guess Is 5 feet. She has a bladder the size of a nickel. She is on the thin side and she's done well but today is day four and she seems restless. (She is a very hyper dog). I've been sleeping down here with her and doing the massages, cold and heat packs and watching her. The cone is a "huge" issue. I've done bought 2. The soft cone and the pillow cone that is filled with air. When it's on, she freezes in a sit position which I imagine isn't good for too long. (Literally just freezes like a statue) So in order to avoid the licking that can cause infection I've just been down here sleeping and basically living on the bottom floor of our house. (We have steps, 14 on the other floors) also I have 2 other dogs inside that I'm having to keep upstairs on the middle floor. Potty breaks are done in rotations. I'm completely exhausted and this is only day 4. Her stitches look pretty good. No oozing but you can tell they've loosened up just a bit from where the swelling has went down. Her leg bruised also.
She's showing no interest in her kongs, stimulation toys or other bones I've bought her. I've done a lot if research before and after this procedure and if you wouldn't mind I have a couple of questions that you might be able to answer. My email is
Thanks so much. :)

Worried mama said...

My dog Oscar just had this surgery done on Halloween 4 days ago. This is day 3 being at home. He's so doped up on medication and is completely out of it. I'm struggling with taking him out to the bathroom. I'm paranoid about him slipping, putting too much pressure on his knee, falling over or something bad happening to reinjure the leg. Sny tips for me on how to make bathroom breaks easier and what exactly should I do? Just take him outside, let go of him and let him do his thing, or should I be hovering over him not taking my grip of his harness?

Cally said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. I know how difficult this is for both family and pooch, so we're sending lots of love and strength your way for Oscar's speedy recovery.

We did NOT like how whacked our dog got from the tranquilizers, and we found that it was harder for him to walk/balance while he was SO doped up.

We decided to only give him slivers of the tranquilizers, so we'd cut his meds in half or into thirds to keep him sedated, but not SO looped.

It's important to keep them calm so they don't jump around if someone comes to the door or something, so we kept our dog crated/confined as much as possible during recovery. (So sad!)

For us, we found that by cutting back on the sedatives, our dog was able to concentrate more on carefully getting out to go to the bathroom.

We ALWAYS used a sling to support his belly for the first few weeks and took it very very slowly when going outside. We'd only remove the sling when it was time for him to actually GO to the bathroom. And then, of course, we'd put it right back on to help support/guide him back to his recovery area indoors.

You're currently in the hardest, most critical stage of recovery...but don't stress too much. It will get better every day as your dog gets stronger.

BUT...don't let him off leash at all! Our docs and surgeons couldn't stress more that your dog needs to move as little as possible over the next few months so that the bone can heal properly.

You don't want to slip up on following recovery rules at all or you risk having a repeat surgery or complications.

Since we've had 3 TPLO surgeries out here, trust us on this, as I'm sure you know, you NEVER wanna do this again.

We will be thinking of you and Oscar! Let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

Obviously, you love love love your pooch to go through all this with him. You're a great pooch mama!

Sending you tons of support and high-fives! You've got this!


Ruby Laureus said...

Orthopedic dog beds for large dogs
for large dogs and small pets in USA

Ruby USA said...

Orthopedic dog beds for large dogs
and small pets in USA

Tine said...

Hi, I'm curious how your dog is doing now? Our puppy also had to have 2 procedures on the same leg. The entire process was heartbreaking and still is. Does your dog have a normal gait now? I ask since my dog's foot is always roasted slightly outward when she is walking now. It's been 4 months since her second round of tplo. Did your dog experience this at all?

Cally said...

Hi Tine!
Sorry about your sweetie's double round of surgery. And a toast to you for lovin' that pup so much. We feel you.

Kaine's gait is normal (his third and final surgery was almost two years ago) but he is definitely arthritic now, which our docs told us to expect.

Our surgeon strongly recommended regular water therapy for our dog after his procedures, but the cost, travel time and balancing the schedule with our two children was too cumbersome. In hindsight, we probably should have tried to do some recovery therapy with him, as it looks like the muscles in his upper hind are wearing thin (he is also an older, large dog so maybe this is just a part of aging?).

They told us it might be 6 months for the body to heal after each surgery, so I wonder if maybe your pup is still breaking in her newly modified leg?

Sending you lots of luck and support!

Violey100 said...

Hi! My dog is having TPLO surgery next week and its causing me severe anxiety for a couple of reasons. 1. I really don't want to see her have to go through such an invasive surgery. Ugh. I just love her to pieces and it pains me to have to do this. 2. I am scared I wont be able to keep her still enough. She crates just fine when I am home, but she has separation anxiety and knows how to break out if her crate when I am not home. I cant stay home non-stop for months to prevent this from happening. Any advice? As much as I love her, I am wondering if I can do this, or if I should say goodbye. Ugh, makes me cry just thinking about that.

Cally said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you and your girl are going through this. We know how stressful it is.

Not sure how old your pooch is, but ours was about 5 when he had his first surgery, so we decided that we'd go through with it to provide him with the best quality of life for a strong future.

Then came the second and third surgeries. Ugh.
As awful as it all was, he gets around well now (as an older dude) and we know we made the right decision when we see him happily sprinting across the property. He never would have been able to do that if we hadn't gone through with the surgeries.

You will be able to contain your pup after the surgery for two reasons.
1. Your surgeon will prescribe your dog tranquilizers to keep her sedated for the beginning stages of recovery. DO use caution, however, as I wrote in this post that those tranqs made our dog SUPER LOOPY, so we would cut off slivers and give him fractions of the recommended dosage just to keep him sleepy and quiet.

2. Your darlin' will be hurting, so she (hopefully) won't want to break out of her crate. If you keep her mildly sedated, she'll want to sleep and move as little as possible. She will also have an Elizabethan collar on her head for the first 2 weeks (which SUCKS) so it will be extremely difficult for her to move inside her crate.

Once the collar comes off and you wean her off the sedatives, perhaps you can reinforce her crate with some carabiner clips to ensure that she won't sneak out. It would be a disaster to have her injure herself further by getting out and putting strain on her healing knee. You definitely want to ensure that she is safely contained so that her knee can heal properly.

If your sweet darling is in her younger or middle years, I'd say go for the surgery (if you can afford it financially- what a bill, huh? ugh!) because it will give her the means to enjoy the rest of her life (but there will be arthritis as she ages).

I won't lie to you. The recovery period is difficult- for you and your dog. You will need to baby her big time, help her walk, eat, tend to her wounds, etc. It's stressful, especially since it's so critical that you follow the "rules" to prevent problems. And we DID follow the rules perfectly and STILL had to go through two more surgeries.

BUT...we have no regrets. These were choices we made for love, and we know that, for our family and our mutt, they were good choices and gave our Kaine dog a chance to enjoy his natural athleticism for much longer.

We are here for you if you have ANY other questions or concerns.
Everyone has to do what is right for them, and we know how hard this situation is for you. We're sending you extra love and support while you get over this hurdle.

Hang in there and keep us posted!
All the best to you and your pooch!

Violey100 said...

Thank you for replying, and the honesty in that it will be difficult recovery.

I am going through with the surgery. The cost does suck, but my dogs are family. I don't have kids, so they are like my kids and she needs this surgery so we are going to do it. I argue - even with this surgery - she is cheaper than a human child. :)

She is 8. She is a 75 lbs mutt (per a DNA test boxer x st. bernard x unknown breeds). I ask the family vet (not the specialist) if it was appropriate to do this surgery on a dog Violet's age. She said yes because Violet is active, fit and otherwise healthy. The vet said that if she were overweight and in poor health, she wouldn't recommend it on a dog her age.

When we initially went to the vet, Violet was just limping. The specialist said that its not urgent. Well, of course last weekend, she did something to it so that now she can no longer put any weight on it (I am guessing she completely tore it). So, I call the specialist and asked to get in "as soon as possible". Now she is scheduled for January 2nd.

Whew. Wish us luck! I am super stressed.

Thanks for this post. I appreciate the pictures and and the step by step progress so that I know what I am in for. )

And, Kaine is totally cute. I am glad he is better!!!!! He looks super happy. :)

Cally said...

It sounds like you're making the right decision.

We were exactly where you are- Kaine was initially a little uncomfortable, and then he exasperated the injury and was clearly in agony. We knew we had to move fast to get him on the road to recovery.

It's good that you have some time to prep your home for when Violet comes home from the procedure. You'll have time to secure her crate, add extra pillows to the places she'll rest (get some old blankets, towels and sheets- as the wounds will be weepy and gross for the first few days. Then you can easily wash/replace), create a ramp (if you need one for stairs) and get everything ready for her.

Think about how you're going to, most effectively/easily, get her out to go to the bathroom, as that's the trickiest part for the beginning stages of recovery.

I know you and Violet will do great and that you'll get through this!
We will be thinking of you! A
Again, keep us posted! We're here for ya!
You've got this!

Casey Gleichman said...

Violey100 - My two year old Carin terrier mix had TPLO surgery in August. After following the post opp instructions ( no off-leash walks, no stairs, no jumping) her final check up went perfectly. Maggie has extreme separation anxiety but the surgeon I encouraged her to walk around the house while I was home.
When I picked Maggie up the day after her surgery I thought to myself "what did I do to my little angle?" But sure enough, 4 months later she is 90% back to normal. She still favors her other leg from time to time but I was told this is due to the muscle mass she lost.
Overall, this was the absolute best decision I could have ever made for my little girl. I did not realize how much pain she was in until she started bouncing and playing again about a month ago. My surgeon accepts credit care so I was able to stretch the payments over a 6 month period.

Violey100 said...

Hi Casey,

Thanks for the reassurance that it is a the best thing you did for Maggie. The sheer invasviness is the reason I am so stressed. I cannot believe I am about to do this to my dog. Its the anticipation that is the worst. I always work myself up. I know we will get through it.

My surgeon suggested that she does not follow me around in the first weeks. Also, I have a second dog who tries to engage Violet in play. So, I will definitely need to crate her. I am extremely lucky that I work from home. I will be home a lot, and she does fine in the crate when I am home.

So, the surgeon gave me some sedatives to "test" before the surgery so that I know which works best before the surgery. I don't think this is standard practice, but I spent the whole consult appt discussing my concerns in keeping her quiet, so he agreed to let me try different ones. I have been testing (that sounds terrible, but I need to know what works). The Xanax does not work - it barely affects her. So, last night I tested the Acepromazine (against my better judgement - because boxers and boxer mixes should not be given this medication. But the vet said that if given in smaller than usual doses, it should be fine. And that its the best sedative they have). So, it did knock her out,, but not enough to over take the separation anxiety. She was completely knocked out in her crate when I took the trash out. I came back in and she had busted out of her crate and was standing there wobbling when I walked in the door less than one minute later.

I don't know how I will keep her still. Should I put her in the bathroom? I don't have any small rooms that do not have furniture. And my house has an open floor plan, so it would be nearly impossible to gate off an area.... And she can jump gates. I would rather her roam and climbs on furniture than jump a baby gate. The bathroom is the only thing I can think of.

Honestly, the anticipation is the worst. I just want to get the surgery under my belt. I can drive myself nuts trying to prepare.

Sorry so long. I need to learn to make my posts shorter.


Casey Gleichman said...

My surgeon gave Maggie tramedal and a liquid anti-inflammatory for the first week. Honestly, she had no interest in walking around or even standing for the first week or so. Maggie is only two so she was still very playful but I had no problems convincing her to stay in be
Good luck with Violet! I'm sure she will be fine.

Cally said...

The bathroom might work for you (especially if it's small), but you'll need to put something safe over the floor if you have tile- to prevent slipping. Maybe you can purchase some cheap carpet to toss down throughout recovery. They're supposed to move as little as possible at first- really only to eat and go to the bathroom. You don't want her pacing around in there.

I think it's wise that you're testing the sedatives to determine how your baby will react once it's go time. You really want her to rest and recover during the critical period following surgery.

We're here for you!
Hang in there!

Violey100 said...

Thank you!!! I will definitely back when we are on the other side of the surgery to let you know how she is doing. Thank you so so much for the advice,, and for listening. :)

Violey100 said...

Well, she is home! This is excruciating heartbreaking. Shes's only been home for about 1.5 hours and is resting in her crate. But she seems terribly uncomfortable. She is whining really bad. The vet told she will.

I broken down crying several times. i dont know how I am going to do this.... I guess take it moment by moment, but I cant stand seeing her like this.

Cally said...

Oh, hang in there, friend. The hardest part is getting adjusted to all this. Once you and Violet get into your routine, and you go through the motions of taking her out and feeding her with that awful cone on her head, you'll feel more confident.

For the first couple of days, after I fed him, walked him carefully and administered medications, I'd go into the confinement area with Kaine and would get him to lay down with his wounded leg up. As per our doc's instructions, I'd give him a wet (I think it was cool, but double check to see if warm is needed at first) compress on the wound site.

He'd wiggle at first, but I used that time to pet him, massage his neck and back etc. and would try to get him to stay calm and comfortable.

Be strong and know that every day will get a little better, a little easier and a little closer to Violet's recovery.

You're a good mama! You've got this!

Violey100 said...

Thank you!!!

cocoaruiz said...

My dog had tplo surgery 3 weeks ago and also has separation anxiety. I don't have much advice on the recovery since it's only been a few weeks, however, what I wanted to comment on was your fear of the dog doing damage to itself due to her separation anxiety. What I have learned recently is that dogs feed off of humans emotions and what i realized was that my anxiety about leaving my dog home alone was exacerbating her separation anxiety. Now when I leave I take on a confident attitude like "I'm leaving, you're staying, and that's that". I believe my confidence has really helped, and she hasn't done anything to injure herself or damage the house since. (She used to chew doors, door knobs, window frames and blinds!) Hope this helps a bit.

Ladyinred1923 said...

Our Kratos had his TPLO surgery back in November and our check up is in February. How long after that did it take for you to let you Kaine free? Kratos is a mastiff so he isn't always hyper but when he has a sudden burst of energy he's got lots of weight to throw around ;)))

Cally said...

Ain't it the pits?

I checked with my husband and we agreed that we kept Kaine leashed outside for a full 6 months before letting him have free reign, and even then, we strictly monitored him.

A good thing, too, since he sprints like a jaguar- and thanks to the surgeries, he's still athletic as all get out!

We'd recommend checking w your surgeon and strictly adhering to his/her "rules" for recovery- as each case is unique...and you've got a big boy out there (I LOVE mastiffs and have always wanted one!). The LAST thing you want is to have Kratos blow out the other ACL, so take it slowly.

It's probably wise to try to increase exercise daily ON lead to help build up strength gradually. Our doc recommended physical therapy (which we foolishly skipped bc of cost and time commitment) but now Kaine's legs are definitely atrophied, the muscles just aren't as strong. Though like I said, he still bursts into sprints- he'll just be sore the next day and have a hard time with arthritis.

Best wishes for a strong recovery and let us know if you have any questions along the way. Give Kratos a scratch from us! :)


mary said...

Thank you for this information. I was wondering if a TPLO could be repeated if failed and you have answered my question when all of the 'vet' sites did not. Many happy returns Kaine!

Cally said...

Thank you Mary!
We sure hope a pooch you love won't need a repeat TPLO—because what a DRAG!
The good news is that the corrective surgery was a great success and our Kaine-dog is getting around like a jaguar in his older years. So cheers to that!
All the best to you and yours…

stc1402 said...

Thank you so much for your story! Our little girl just had the surgery on 3/6. She's already showing signs of boredom. What did you do to ease the tension of being confined??

Cally said...

We'd get in the confinement area and just snuggle snuggle snuggle our pooch- we'd give him massages, rawhide treats, new chew toys. The recovery period is long and arduous, but you'll get through it. Hang in there. Best wishes to you and your pup!

Violey100 said...

Hi, I just wanted to drop by and tell you that Violet is now 9.5 weeks post TPLO surgery and seems to be doing well. This whole process has been extremely stressful, but I think we may be emerging on the other side. She still limps as bad as she did before the surgery, but my anxiety is getting a little better the further out we get. Thanks for responding to my totally crazy posts and talking me off the ledge.

Cally said...

Your posts were, in no way, crazy. Dealing with the recovery from TPLO is incredibly stressful. We had to balance THREE recoveries with TWO kids, so we know how hard it is. You go from having a healthy, independent dog to having to provide full-time care through the healing process. It's rough!

I'm so happy to hear that you and Violet are coming out of the thicket!
Make sure you go to your follow up appointments to check on that limping. She might have taught herself to compensate w the other leg after the initial injury.

I know the last thing you want to hear right now is that she might require physical therapy (we CRINGED when we heard this, saw the expense and factored the time consumption in) but it might really help her.

Because we decided not to do water therapy, we did make an effort to increase light walking every day- trying to do our own version of physical therapy at home.

We're here for you if you have any other questions/concerns along the way.

All the best for a happy spring!

Buddy said...

Hi, my baby is a 6 year old yellow lab. He ruptured his right acl last month. We had to wait 4 weeks for an available surgery day. Just 6 days before surgery, he ruptured his left acl just by trying to stand up. This has been really horrible. He is at the vet's office right now after having tplo on the left. The vet wanted to do that one first since it hurts him the most. I just wanted to say that it helps gratly to read how other people have dealt with recovery.He's 110 pounds so that's alot of dog to deal with that has 2 bad legs!

Cally said...

Aw, Buddy! I thought 3 surgeries was a nightmare, but MAN…both knees at the same time?!? Major bummer!
I'm really sorry you all have to go through such a rough ride here, but know that we're all here to support you if you have any questions or just need to vent.
You're obviously a GREAT pooch parent, so we're sending you lots of high fives and sunshine while your dude recovers. Cheers to you all! Hang in there!

Yael Lelchuk said...

Hello :)

I have a 9 years old Rotti, she blow out her knee cap about a year ago. my vet wanted to do the surgery right away. I told him i need time to do my research & think about how i can come up with a large sum of money . the surgery looks really invasive & painful!! my heart is torn as to whether i want to put my rottie in a really painful surgery where the recovery time is much longer since she is 9 years old. or do I keep her on glucosamine & pain medication for the rest of of her life? I'm dreading the moment she gets home & she'll cry's herself to sleep & i'll be helpless- I've read enough about the surgery to know what they will do to her, but I'd like to know exactly what i'll be putting my ratti through from the moment they get home to after recovery.
if she was younger i wouldn't even think 2x about going through with the procedure. but she is 9 years old. what kind of life am i giving her where the recovery time is 2-6 months? we all know rotties don't live that long. my fear is, if i go through the surgery & she'll only live to be 10 or 11 if not more- she'll spend most of that time recovering from the surgery & that's if she she doesn't blow out her other knee.
has anyone had experience with a TPLO surgery on an older dog? any information would be GREATLY APPRECIATE it!!! Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

Cally said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about this predicament. Isn't this news a bummer?!?

The financial burden is intense, and it's no wonder why so many pooch parents just can't afford this kind of treatment…especially since it's highly likely that the other ACL will blow out as a result of the first one tearing.

The recovery is very difficult for the first week, but after you and your girl get into the new routine, you'll adjust and it won't be so arduous.

She (and you) will need lots of extra time and patience for the first month- extra time to use a sling to help her get outside to go to the bathroom, to remove her Elizabethan collar to eat and drink water for the first week, to apply compresses on her wound, to administer medication, to keep her strictly confined. But again, once you get over the initial shock of the adjustment, you and your dog will settle into a groove and you'll be ok. The recovery time passes quickly once you get into that routine.

The age issue is a tough call. If our dog (now 10) HAD any ACLS left :::sigh::: and tore one, we would have a very hard time deciding what to do.

There are many advocates for alternate treatment instead of the surgery. I have two friends who opted NOT to do it- one family did physical therapy (I think laser treatments as well) and the other used a brace for many months instead (the other ACL DID tear on this dog after one year), but both dogs are hanging tough!

Here's the thing though…

Our dog has been through THREE TPLO surgeries, and although it was incredibly difficult each and every time, at 10-years-old, this ol' Rottweiler/Lab mix still gets around like a pup! He sprints like a jaguar, can clear four stairs in a single bound, jumps, chases, plays like a young dog now. We honestly don't believe he'd have this ability if he hadn't had the surgery because of his large size.

He's an incredible athlete, and these surgeries have enabled him to continue to enjoy a high quality of life.

Perhaps he might have been ok without them, but our feeling is that he would have had a very hard time moving as nimbly without the adjustments.

Unfortunately, you're right. It's likely your girl might blow to that other knee after your surgery. In the cases within my close group, 3 out of 5 dogs who tore one ACL tore the other soon after. But that means 2 did not, so there is hope!

We never know how long we'll have with our beloved pups, so whatever you choose for your girl, know that the love you have given (and will continue to give) means everything to her. It's obvious that you're a wonderful pet-parent, so take your time, do your research and rest assured that your girl KNOWS she is loved.

We're here if you ever have other questions or if you just need to vent.
Best wishes to you and your pup.

Violey100 said...

Hey is us again! We are now 8 month post TPLO surgery and everything is ok now, but it got bad, really bad, there for a while. Around 14 weeks, Violet developed a really bad infection on her plate. Her leg got really fat and she was in pain like no other (the begining day after TPLO were nothing compared to this). After throwing all kinds of anitbiotics at it, we finally found one that seemed to control the infection. The surgeon needed remove the plate but would not do so until she was 26 weeks post TPLO. She had the plate removed around 6 weeks ago. Infection appears to be controlled. She is still pretty lame at this point. Not sure I would ever do TPLO surgery again - its been worse than I imagined in the beginning. You are a trooper for doing it 3 times!

Cally said...

Oh NO! That's TERRIBLE news! I'm so sorry to hear your girl got an infection. That must have been miserable for you all. Ugh.

I assume they put a different plate in there? I wonder why that was the solution? Was she allergic to the metal?

Sounds like a total nightmare!
We are sending you and Violet lots of love and support during her continued recovery. Hoping with all we've got that she'll be on the mend and continue to get stronger every day.

Extra sunshine being sent your way, friend!

Tina Wong said...

Thank you for posting you and your families experience with the surgery. My dog is having the surgery this Wednesday. I am scared for her. We need to go for the surgery because she is not walking on it at all. It will become worse than better at this point. I will keep you updated with her progress. Hopefully, you still check this blog. Thanks again. (Raven) half Chow and Schipperke.

Cally said...

Hi Tina! So sorry to hear your girl tore her ACL. Ain't it the pits?!?

As you can read in previous threads, our dog is strong as could be now, and the surgeries, although trying for everyone, have made such a difference in his quality of life.

We are sending you all so much love and support while you get through the surgery and recovery period, and we're here for you if you need to vent or have any questions along the way.

Smooches to Raven! Hang in there, pup!
All the best to you and your crew.

Karolina Padolskyte said...

My 4 year old westie has had her TPLO 22 days ago. Immediately after the surgery the recovery was good, in fact too good. She was fully weight bearing on the operated leg the very next day. On her return home we took the house apart, we dismantled beds in the bedrooms so that she can continue to sleep with us but unable to jump on and off high surfaces, we put stair gates to prevent her running up and down, we put blankets in EVERY room so that she can make herself comfortable wherever we are. We constricted her activity levels to a minimum, no excitement, no running, only couple of minutes leash walks outside etc... The recovery seemed to have been brilliant. Until last week... The very same day when the weather outside dropped to a minus temperatures - Lucky started to limp again. Yesterday it was particularly bad, she was only toe touching on that leg, minimal weight bearing what's so ever. The vet has only NOW, 3 weeks post surgery, prescribed tranquillisers and gave as a kennel. We are going to see the surgeon next week if her leg does not improve. I am sick worried, we have been nursing her for 3 weeks and been trying so hard to limit her activity, there we occasions when she would play with her toys around the house and would not stop irregardless of us telling her off. Would that have been enough for her to injure herself again??

Karolina Padolskyte said...

Oh, and take out an insurance for your pet. This has cost us over £3000 already and that's without medication, 6 week x-rays and vet appointment costs to follow.

Yael Lelchuk said...

Hello Cally :) i apologies for never responding!

i never did the surgery for her right foot. i thought i can save her from the crucial surgery but as of last week she had a full tear of her left knee:(so i did the surgery on the left knee, in the hopes that the first right knee will be ok.

tonight is her first night home & i do have some questions for you.

when you brought ur beautiful puppy home, how did the surgical area look? does it look like the pic you have above? b/c there is a lot of red & purple circle around her incision& I'm not sure if that/s normal or not. the sutures are dry, could it be an internal bleeding? she's calm & drugged up not showing any signs of pain.

also, shes not the biggest fan of cages- i had made a little corner for her with gates all around- my question is, is it ok for her to have a little room where she can sit/stand & twist? or does she need to be totally confined where shes unable to move? cuz right now shes able to move a little where she can twist & turn. would it be alright for her if she stands on both foot without a harness for few min? or will i have to move her every time she has to move?

did your pup release herself normally? was it hard for him to urinate ect?& most importantly when did you start see your puppy improve?

thanks so much Cally! you & this blog has been tremendously helpful! so THANK YOU!

Unknown said...

Dogs are extraordinary species and have a savvy feeling of a brain, so on the off chance that you realize the better method to prepare your dog for certain undertaking then you can them by utilizing the dog preparing administrations shape this