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ACL Surgery: pros and cons?

 
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Rollick
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Joined: 27 Dec 2002
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Location: Maryland

PostPosted: 07/27/06, 9:42 am    Post subject: ACL Surgery: pros and cons? Reply with quote

Hello,
My 5 y/o LARGE male was seen by a specialist yesterday who told me my boy needs surgery in his left knee. He slightly tore the ACL this past April, but it looks to be a conformation problem that caused it in the first place in that the bones aren't lined up correctly which is causing undue pressure and stress. Even I could see what he meant by looking at the X-rays, and I'm no Vet. He proposes sawing off part of the bone to better align the joint, and putting in a stabilizing plate; he sez recovery will be 16 weeks, but that my dog should be recovered 95% thereafter. He said without the operation things will only continue to degenerate, which I'm tempted to believe based on having watched a neighbor's pitbull cross who tore her ACL last November--her owners never got it fixed, and I have watched over the intervening months as she has slowly lost all use of that hind leg. He also said that after a certain point, an operation won't work (like I bet it wouldn't work on the poor pitbull by now). Do any of you have any experience with this injury (it's not a complete rupture, but no matter how quiet I keep him, it just seems to be getting worse, and he's standing off that leg more and more, although if you saw him trot, you'd never know) and with the subsequent surgery? I'll have to take out a loan to pay for it, but if it's going to allow my dog to run and be happy again, I'll gladly go into debt. Any advise is welcome--and many thanks in advance to all of you.
Cheers,
Rollick
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hartwick
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Joined: 18 Feb 2005
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: 07/27/06, 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know if you saw my post about my GWP's sore leg.

I had a std schnauzer that tore his ACL when he was young and had to have surgery. Fortunately no bone work as you described. He recovered fully. When he was about 10, he tore the other one. The vet said that due to his advanced age, the arthritis in the knee would not make the operation a success. We left it and the dog was able to use his leg for the rest of his life. He lived until he was over 14.

If the dog can't use it's leg and you want to hunt, then it's something that needs to be fixed. Might want to get another vet opinion.
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Jon
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Joined: 04 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: 07/27/06, 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ACL problems are suspected to have a strong genetic component. The newest methods use synthetic ligaments that are inserted to tighten the joint. If properly done, the dog will be very close to normal. Improtant is the 8 weeks after the surgery when you must closely monitir activity and return to normal routine. You can expect some arthritis in older age which can easily be managed with anti-inflammatory medications. Find a surgeon that has done 1000's of these procedures-not the local vet who has done a few dozen. Corrections of the original surgery usually aren't as successful.
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Wickwire
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PostPosted: 07/28/06, 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are different types of surgery that can be used to repair cruciate ligament injuries. The one you are describing is the TPLO. It has been regarded as the most effective type of repair, but recently this high standing is being questioned. I would ask the orthepedic vet. to discuss other options with you. I have a Bullmastiff that I did have the TPLO performed on and she recovered beautifully! We also did follow up physical therapy with her (underwater tread mill.)

Sandra Wickwire, DVM
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Leadhead
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Joined: 14 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: 08/03/06, 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have experience with the TPOL (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy). My female GPW came up lame after hunting on the eastern shore of Maryland. After resting for a week she came up lame again, and again, and again. She was two years old when she came up with a cranial cruciate ligament rupture. My Vet referred me to a Veterinary Surgeon. Well to make a long story short she had the TPOL and recovered without compilations. She will be 6 this May and you or I would never know he had the procedure. She hunts all day (about 5-6 hours) with no problems. I will say it did cost me but well worth the monies. I see that you are in Maryland the surgeon I used is in Annapolis. If you would like more info on the surgeon let me know. Hope the helps.
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Rollick
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PostPosted: 08/04/06, 9:23 am    Post subject: ACL Surgery--thanks Reply with quote

Thanks to all of you for your responses. After further research, I've decided to go ahead and schedule surgery for the end of August. The hardest part (beyond paying for it!) will be the 16 week recovery period, trying to keep my goofy dog under wraps. Leadhead: the vet I'm using has done a ton of this kind of surgeries, including one just recently on his own dog; I know he divides his time between Baltimore County and Annapolis with another specialist, so we might be talking about the same guy, or at least the same practice. (Another Wire in Maryland?! Kewl! I've never seen another around here.) Hartwick: I hope you've reached some conclusions/diagnosis about your dog: good luck!
Thanks again. Cheers,
Rollick
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Illona
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Location: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 10/28/06, 10:52 am    Post subject: just a word of experience Reply with quote

Hi Rollick. i hope all is going well with your wire's recovery. my last dog (not a GWP) had the same surgery, and i know the recovery is not fun.

but please let me give you a word of warning....in case it's not too late.... my 4 1/2 yr old dog was finally diagnosed with an ACL tear (partial) after several months of vets trying to figure it out....so there were xrays and anaesthetics, anti-inflammatories, NSAIDS, etc....and finally the surgery.

SIX WEEKS after the surgery my vet told me he was due for his vaccinations....it didn't feel right at the time that this dog - still recovering - should be vaccinated....at the time i wasn't nearly as researched and savvy as i am today. even though i protested mildly, the vet gave my boy all his vaccines.

SIX WEEKS after the vaccinations he was dead....sudden and rapid lymphoma...at 4 1/2 yrs of age.

from all my research and discussions with more holistic (and traditional) vets, i've learned that it was almost definitely the vaccinations that caused his immune system to shut down.....already compromised from the long months for diagnosis and then the surgery and the difficult recovery.

i now titer my dogs' blood instead of having them vaccinated and their antibodies are up on all diseases....needing no more vaccines for at least 3 years (5 years with some diseases), at which point they will be tested again, NOT vaccinated (unless their antibodies are down).

so....in case it's not too late....please put off any vaccinations if you can. your dog will be recovering for some time....his immune system has been compromised and you can argue this with your vet....the vaccination packaging even indicates that no vaccines should be given to any dog that is sick....and your dog, while recovering, should be considered sick!

for what it's worth,
illona
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