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Torn Cruciate Ligament

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Torn Cruciate Ligament
  • My 9-year old cocker spaniel has been diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament. The vet said it can be easily corrected using the old conventional procedure but when I went online to know more about the condition, there were several ways to correct the problem such as a TPLO or TTA. Our vet said she is comfortable with the procedure and is sure that my pet can regain full use of the affected limb. Can you share your thoughts on this?Thanks...
  •  I thought my dog might have this and folks recommended a Yahoo group for folks dealing with this, orthodogs I believe is the group.  A wealth of information in the archives and on the various surgeries.

    Fortunately for Kota, he did not have a torn ACL, unfortunately we still don't know what it is and just manage his pain and limping.

  • Our Pixie tore her ACL a year ago, and we strongly considered and then opted out of surgery. Suggest you join 2 yahoo groups. The first is Orthodogs, mentioned above, and the other is Conservative Management, which focuses on a nonsurgical approach to recovery. Your dog is both mature enough and small enough that you should consider CM. Either way, you are looking at around 6 months of activity restriction. We kept Pixie on crate rest for about 8 weeks, and on leash when outside for 4 more months. She is now fine and as crazy as ever. Good luck.
  • One thing to consider is a brace to aid healing (with or without surgery), but they are not cheap.


    Sometimes you can find used braces for sale - e.g.

  • luv3dogs
    . Suggest you join 2 yahoo groups. The first is Orthodogs, mentioned above, and the other is Conservative Management, which focuses on a nonsurgical approach to recovery.

    I second the recommendation of those 2 groups. I am currently in the process of trying conservative management to heal a partial ccl tear on my 50 pound pit bull.

    We have seen a surgeon for a consult and I like him very much; he is very conservative for a surgeon. He is trained in TTA and traditional repair and his partner is trained in TPLO; but that said - he feels we may be able to avoid surgery and that is his preference. He did not sugar coat that none of the surgeries are a walk in the park - at least in his opinion and I tend to agree. However if necessary; my understanding is that there is a very high success rate assuming that post operative instuctions are followed explicitely.

  • Definitely check out the yahoo groups. My very active very large dog had a partial tear and no one would tell me that conservative management would work. It does for smaller and essentially inactive dogs, from what I have read anyway.

    Ligaments do not repair, period. The goal with CM and a partial tear is to keep it a partial tear, once it tears completely surgery is necessary.

    Although the idea of a brace is ok they only wind up allowing the afflicted leg to weaken so most don't recommend them.

    Sorry for sounding pessimistic but I searched for easy solutions only to find there aren't any. We did a tplo and it worked out very well.

    If your dog is fairly laid back you may be able to do CM with some luck, I wish you and your dog well

  • Also...and I'm not stating this as a fact; but as what I think I understand from my research...so it can be further discussed...

    The goal of CM is to allow scar tissue to build up (about 8 weeks) and then to harden (an additional 3 to 4 months; or longer depending upon the extent of the injury) and the scar tissue will stabilize the knee.

     This is not unlike a traditional (fishing line) repair; which uses a suture or filament to stabilize the knee; thus allowing scar tissue to build up around the suture and stabilize the knee.

     What I got from our surgeon - who is actually reluctant to do surgery - is that with a partial tear it's possible through CM to allow the scar tissue to build up and harden without surgery - especially when the knee is injured but not already unstable (so I am assuming it depends to a large extent upon the severity of the injury)

    Guess we'll see what happens...

  •  Yes I believe that scar tissue is supposed to develop and help stabilize the knee but the tear doesn't heal.  My understanding is that CM should take a minimum of 6 mos and up to a year.

    I also understand that it is most suitable to smaller dogs and laid back/inactive dogs.   Bugsy is neither so it was in no way an option, in fact having spoken to umpteen vets/surgeons and rehab vets, Bugsy was not a candidate for traditional surgery either.  He's 105lbs and very active and there is no way to prevent him from being insane.

    If he were smaller and less crazy I would have at least considered CM but to me, spending up to a year keeping him from being him, was too long a time in the span of his lifetime.  With the surgery (tplo) we had 8 wks of slow and limited but after the bones were healed we were good to go forward and build him up again.  I think it was about 4 mos post op when I felt he was pretty much back full activity and at 6 mos he was pretty much back to pre-surgical fitness.

    Due to his conformation we were told that his other knee would likely go too and it may have so we have an appointment with the previous surgeon to find out on June 8th.  I will not hesitate to do another tplo asap this time.

    Each dog is different so that is why researching your options is always best - good luck to you and Veronica

  • Thank you for sharing your experience. It is so hard to know what to do.

     The more I research; the less sure I am of anything lol!!

  • Veronica's Mom
     The more I research; the less sure I am of anything lol!!

    I'm fairly certain we all go through that!  Well I certainly did.  I am lucky to live near a vet school and we have oodles of vets and specialists so I literally called and gave the scenario and said what do you think.  It was a month from diagnosis until he had surgery, I spent 3 of those 4 weeks trying to decide

  • My cairn terrier tore his cruciate ligament as a 2 year old & had surgery to repair it.  Sure enough less than a year later he tore the other one & had another surgery.  He was so active then the "no activity" recovering time wasn't easy, but I feel it was worth all the effort.  Once he healed he was running around like nothing ever happened.  Though now as a 13 yr. old he has slowed down a lot. 

  • My dog tore his CCL when he was 11. He is a 35 lbs. mixed hound and was an active dog. I did a ton of research and it seemed to me that the no surgery option worked for dogs under 20 lbs. We went with the traditional 'fishing line' surgery from a local vet who specialized in knee surgeries and he has been fine ever since almost 4 yrs. The recovery was a pain in trying to keep him confined and moderate exercise. Hope everything works out for you. Sue
  • wow it's been almost a yaer now and just to update everyone on my dog's condition: we needed surgery done and we chose tplo. The recovery and therapy process was grueling (not to mention the costs of the surgery) but we managed to get through it. I'm happy to say that missy has fully recovered. three online resources that helped us are: 1. first ortho dogs yahoo groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/orthodogs 2. this home rehab guide written by a vet: http://www.tploguide.com 3. and various youtube videos recorded by other dog owners. its reassuring to know that others are going through the same thing and you also get to pick-up a thing or two from them. But i'm still keeping my fingers crossed because the vet says there's still a possibility that the other knee may buckle out and may need surgery as well.
  • Thanks for the update.  I'm glad the surgery and recovery went well.