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Angel
Angel, Own/Op Natural Dog Care & Behavior
Category: Pet
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Experience:  25 yrs training exp. Large Breed Behavior Spec. Nutritional support for liver/special needs dogs
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Lab mix: Pit..8 1/2 yrs old, 70 lbs..cruciate ligament

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My dog, Zeus, is Pit/Lab mix, 8 1/2 yrs old, 70 lbs. Last November he tore his left rear cruciate ligament. I didn't have it repaired because of the long recovery period, I thought it would be too stressful for him. Plus, he was getting by very well with his leg and is a happy dog. He is not crate trained. Oh, he is spoiled and very sensitive and I am the only one in the household.
The first week of June he tore his right cruciate ligament. He is scheduled to have surgery this Thursday on the right leg, Extracapsular imbrication technique. I am still concerned about doing it for the above stated reasons. I understand the surgery is supposed to give him better use of his leg and ease the pain but he is getting around pretty good. He puts weight on the right leg but you can tell he is in pain when he sits down, very slowly. I have been giving him Rimadyl and that seems to help. He is not a real active dog, we go for short walks 1 to 2 times a day and he seems very happy.
My question is this, what happens if he doesn't have the surgery? I would rather do conservative treatment.
I have talked to the Vet/Surgeon about this but of coarse he recommends surgery.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Carol Weymouth [email protected]
You will see long term bad arthritis and increasing pain as he ages. I have had dogs that had the surgery done and others that did not and the ones that did have the best senior years!
Given the option I would do the surgery but I'm not sure the chosen surgery is the best one.
Check out this information
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_ruptured_anterior_cruciate_lig.html
and read about TIBIAL PLATEAU LEVELING OSTEOTOMY (TPLO)
http://www.lauriebryce.com/tplo/
Hope this helps you!
NancyH, Pet Health Care, Rescue,Train,Breed
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 31958
Experience: 30+yrs pet vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior & training, responsible breeding, small animal care
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Since your vet recommended the Extracapsular imbrication technique, I wanted to provide this excerpt and the weblink so you can see what each type of surgery entails.

I have a pitt/rottie mix who had the TPLO surgery performed since she was 96 pounds at the time of her FIRST surgery.   The option your vet mentioned was not offered to us for Xena.

So she got a TPLO. Once she recovered from the first surgery, while on rimadyl she 'felt good' enough to run down the hill, and promptly torn her other cruciate. So we went through it again.   Total recovery time 5 months. With LESS rimdayl she stayed quiet, had physical therapy to prevent atrophy of the muscles and is now getting along just fine.

It is easier for them to have ONE surgery at a time, but fixing only one leg will only be a stop gap measure. The other leg needs repair also.   The pooch will get 'along' fine, but eventually the arthritis will be unbearable.

If your dog is otherwise healthy, it has many good years left, and the surgery will make them pleasant years, not arthritic.


http://www.tbvs-inc.com/surgelib5.htm

Extracapsular Imbrication Technique:
A heavy suture(s) is placed across the joint, following the same direction as the CCL. This CCL replacement, however, is outside the joint capsule (containing the joint fluid). Over a period of several months, scar tissue forms around the suture(s) and the joint gradually becomes strong enough to support full weight.
Angel, Own/Op Natural Dog Care & Behavior
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 57
Experience: 25 yrs training exp. Large Breed Behavior Spec. Nutritional support for liver/special needs dogs
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Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Thank you Angel and Nancy. You both helped me make my decision - Zeus is going to have the surgery on Thursday.

I should have mentioned that I have done a lot of research on the Internet about cranial cruciate ligaments and am aware of the many different treatments. When Zeus tore the left ligament I contacted a couple of specialist in Seattle our vet referred us to and they both recommended the TPLO procedure. However, I just cannot afford it, I just bought a house about the same time this happened. When it rains, it pours!

The information about less rimdayl is very helpful - I guess he needs to know about that pain so he won't try to chase the squirrels, etc.
And I will consider having the other leg done as well, my only concern is that it has been 8 months now and he may already have a lot of degenerative decease. His left knee is more swollen then the right one, it may be too late. When I asked the surgeon about this the other day he said he would check both knees for this.

I will give you update in a couple of months.

Thank you,

Carol
You are most welcome.   You really should have both done. It's never too late.   I have know dogs that had this damage for YEARS and the owners finally got it fixed, and the dog was much better off.

Of course I doubt both will be done at the same time. Also, after the surgery, use a 'sleeve of a sweatshirt' to protect the injury instead of an elizabethan collar.   As long as they leave the 'surgery site' alone, they will be fine. The elizabethan collar can be quite stressful for a dog. We tried it on Xena and she kept walking into stuff (even with the 'clear one) and it really confused her.   Once I used the sweatshirt sleeve (over her bandage of course) she left the surgery site alone, and it healed much sooner!

Please give an update if you can. Good health to you and your pet!
Ah that is too bad that they charge that much more for the best surgery. There is a site www.carecredit.com that helps you finance vet care for pets.
The quality of the repair is highly dependent on the vet's skills. I suggest finding people who will give good references on the surgeon you choose.
Some vets do a surgery that essentially lets arthritis freeze the joints which is what is likely to happen anyhow which is not as good a repair to my mind.
You will probably need to do some therapy with the dog afterwards - swim therapy works well to restore full leg function. Once the stitches are out that and warm compresses can help mobilize the joint.
I would not use rimadyl at all - my preference is for similar meds with fewer side effect issues such as Metacam or Dermaxx.
Never use absorbant material to cover stitches it runs too much risk of getting damp and causing infections in the stitched area.
Its far better to have surgery sites open to the air where you can keep an eye on them. If the vet wants it bandaged and uses sterile bandaging that is one thing. If the vet leaves the area open do not cover it.

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