Knee Reconstruction

Food, Fitness and how to keep them healthy.

Postby mnp13 » September 11th, 2010, 5:21 pm

Who has had one? Well.. had a dog that has had one? (not that I don't care about you, but, well, I don't really at this moment. :wink: )

What surgery did you have done? How big is your dog? How old is your dog? Was the surgery successful? Where did you have it done? How much was it? Would you recommend it?

Basically... I'm looking for just about anything and everything you'd like to share. Connor's knee isn't getting any better and we're going to have to have it fixed in the immediate future. We're fortunate that Cornell is only an hour and a half from here, so we have one of the best schools in the country if we want to go there for it. There are plenty of local surgeons as well of course, so Rochester people, I'm all ears as well.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » September 11th, 2010, 5:27 pm

I have nothing constructive but Inara has asked that I pass along to you that she would be happy to be his nurse while he's recovering. She promises to try to keep humping to a minimum.
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Postby amazincc » September 11th, 2010, 6:04 pm

mnp13 wrote: Connor's knee isn't getting any better and we're going to have to have it fixed in the immediate future.


CRAP! :sad2:

Nothing constructive to add here either, but I really feel for him (and you guys). :hug3:
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Postby plebayo » September 11th, 2010, 7:32 pm

What do you mean "knee reconstruction"? Did he tear his ACL?
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Postby mnp13 » September 11th, 2010, 8:35 pm

plebayo wrote:What do you mean "knee reconstruction"? Did he tear his ACL?

Looks like it, likely a partial tear. The rehab exercises are not giving him much improvement, and though he doesn't act like he's in pain, you could chop his leg off while playing ball with him and he wouldn't notice. :rolleyes2:

He hops every few steps, and if we over do with walking or exercises, he walks completely three legged for a day.
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Postby airwalk » September 11th, 2010, 9:06 pm

If you're talking an ACL repair, had it done on my 140 lb Mastiff about 6 years ago. It was a bit of a bugger keeping one so large quiet long enough and we had to leash and sling for a few days and then leash and control for several weeks. He healed beautifully, never had another problem with it.
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Postby mnp13 » September 11th, 2010, 9:20 pm

So... I'm looking up stuff on knee surgery online and I find this:
i have an 8 year old boxer who has addisons and because of her prednisone gained alot of weight she weighs 110 pounds and the vet said she should only be around 60 however it was the reason she hurt her knee and im going to get the surgery but i guess im just worried will she recover good? i am just sick over this. mom going crazy with worry about what to do she cant walk either and i just want her 100% better is this possible?

Gee, I wonder why her knee went!! Will she recover? NO! Not when she is DOUBLE her healthy weight!! Holy crap! And I'm worried that Connor is about 5 pounds over weight right now, but that is rediculous!
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Postby mnp13 » September 11th, 2010, 9:20 pm

airwalk wrote:If you're talking an ACL repair, had it done on my 140 lb Mastiff about 6 years ago. It was a bit of a bugger keeping one so large quiet long enough and we had to leash and sling for a few days and then leash and control for several weeks. He healed beautifully, never had another problem with it.

Which surgery did you have done?

I have found info on TPLO, TTA and the one with the synthetic fibers to recreate the ligaments.
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Postby airwalk » September 11th, 2010, 9:57 pm

TPLO
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Postby airwalk » September 11th, 2010, 9:59 pm

Had to go look up TTA - that wasn't even available when we had the tplo.
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Postby Ino » September 11th, 2010, 11:44 pm

Ino luckily escaped needing reconstruction (atleast for now) somehow, but his lameness initially was on and off for quite a while and ended up shifting between both knees. I don't know how you feel about the holistic vet practices, but if you want the name of Ino's holistic vet in West Hurley (near the town of Woodstock), let me know. She does traditional and holistic. I took him there not because I believed it would work, but more or less because I did not want to opt for surgery on him at his young age without exhausting every possible option (especially since my vet did not do the surgery and I would have had to go to a vet I heard less than good things about). Ino's ACL injury started up at 6 mo of age and surgery was recommended at around the one year mark. He had been on restricted exercise and NSAIDS for a while and it kept getting reinjured, but (maybe it is coincidence) after he started taking the 3 meds she gave him, there was improvement and he now can run/jump without incident. I am not trying to push, just wanted to offer her clinic name/number if you want it. Best wishes for Connor!
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Postby mnp13 » September 12th, 2010, 12:06 am

Sure, I wouldn't mind it, but West Hurley is about 5 hours from me, so I'd probably be calling her to see if she could recommend anyone up here.
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Postby Malli » September 12th, 2010, 3:10 am

5 lbs on Connor's typical weight (from what I've seen in pictures) is definitely nothing to worry about ;)

I have no personal experience owning a dog who's had this surgery, but if you have questions about some of the medical aspects of recovering a dog immediately after surgery etc, I may be able to help.
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Postby iluvk9 » September 12th, 2010, 8:24 am

Louie, my Lab was 85 pounds and 6 years old. Had both knees done within a year of each other. ACL tears. My Vet doesn't do that type of surgery, so his associate from Cornell came down to do it. I think it was about $1,200 a knee and that was 12 years ago. Recovery was fine for him, and if I didn't baby him so much, it probably would have went better. :rolleyes2:

Darlene had both knees done at about 3 years old, I think. One was ACL tear, the other was meniscus replaced. Her surgeries ran a lot more. I think $1,800 each knee. Again, specialist from Cornell. She took the pain a lot better than I did.
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Postby plebayo » September 12th, 2010, 1:53 pm

We do two different knee surgeries where I work. We do the old school knee repair - can't remember what it's called, and we just learned the TTA a couple of years ago. According to the surgeon who taught us the TTA the TTA is less likely to fail than the TPLO and has a speedier recovery time.

We did a TTA this past Thursday evening and the dog went home Saturday. She walked out of the building pretty happy. She did have a pain patch on and I believe is getting oral meds as well.

We have clients who have dogs that have partial tears that they never repaired. One rotti that comes in has partially torn both of her knees, she's very overweight [which is why it happened] and the owners have done nothing about it. I don't even think she gets pain medication.

I've never personally had a knee done on my dog, I know with our clients their dogs generally speaking have to take it easy like for 6-8 weeks. The concern is that the dog could not only hurt the repaired knee, but also hurt the good knee.
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Postby mnp13 » September 12th, 2010, 2:41 pm

plebayo wrote:I've never personally had a knee done on my dog, I know with our clients their dogs generally speaking have to take it easy like for 6-8 weeks. The concern is that the dog could not only hurt the repaired knee, but also hurt the good knee.

His initial injury was mid March, and then a re-injury a few months ago. So, we're at more than 6 months now. It's wearing for us and for him. Leaving him home for the DSO was not fun for any of us. From what I've seen so far, the major concern is the other knee going because of the additional strain put on it during the time before the repair of damaged one, and during the post-surgery.

I've also been appalled at the number of people that I seen post on forums who leave their dogs for months or longer just running around on knees that they know are destroyed. "He runs just fine for a while, then he starts limping" and "he can really tear around on three legs" :shock: Granted, limiting Connor hasn't been fun, but letting a dog run around because it "wants" to isn't exactly responsible either. My nieces and nephews would like to play with matches and guns, but should I let them do it because they want to?

I'm also concerned about surgery failure. From what I've read, if a TPLO or TTA fails, there is no "do-over." However, if you do the traditional surgery, it can be re-tried. But is that a catch-22? Does the traditional surgery fail more, but can also be re-done so that's "ok"? (well, not ok, but you know what I mean)

I just don't want to do this twice... and frankly, considering my (lack of) employment status, we can't afford to do this twice.
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Postby plebayo » September 12th, 2010, 4:27 pm

I've also been appalled at the number of people that I seen post on forums who leave their dogs for months or longer just running around on knees that they know are destroyed. "He runs just fine for a while, then he starts limping" and "he can really tear around on three legs" :shock: Granted, limiting Connor hasn't been fun, but letting a dog run around because it "wants" to isn't exactly responsible either. My nieces and nephews would like to play with matches and guns, but should I let them do it because they want to?


I definitely agree with you. It sounds like you've given him the best chance to heal and the poor boy just hasn't.

I'm also concerned about surgery failure. From what I've read, if a TPLO or TTA fails, there is no "do-over." However, if you do the traditional surgery, it can be re-tried. But is that a catch-22? Does the traditional surgery fail more, but can also be re-done so that's "ok"? (well, not ok, but you know what I mean)


I'm not sure how many TTA's we've done, but I will tell you when we started out the 3rd surgery we did was a failure. It was a VERY overweight black lab and the hardware busted maybe 6 weeks out. This dog was severely overweight and I'm not excusing the hardware failure but it makes me wonder if he used the leg too much because he was so obese he couldn't rely on his good leg and put less strain on the new repair. We done a lot of knee surgeries as the practice owner is really into orthopedics [he'd be a specialist if he didn't own our practice]. We have not had repeat surgeries on the traditional knee repair.

I don't know the failure rate of TPLO's, I've heard a lot of good reviews from people who have had them done on their dogs. I guess if you're looking at is from a financial aspect/worry of failure you could always go with the traditional surgery. It's cheaper and if it isn't a success there is still more that can be done. I guess for me looking at you as a potential client and seeing all that you've done with him during this time, I feel like your dog would be a good candidate for a TPLO or TTA because you're going to follow the recovery instructions properly. Maybe these surgeries fail because people fail to keep their dogs quiet, their dogs are obese, etc? I'd call around and talk to different vets and ask them what the odds are of these surgeries failing on your dog who isn't overweight, and belongs to someone who is going to follow recovery to a t.

I know this information doesn't make the choice any easier and I'm sorry you have to be going through this, give your boy lots of squishes for me!
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Postby airwalk » September 12th, 2010, 4:38 pm

All I can tell you is Bear had a really crappy back end. I got him when he was about 18 months and his development was horrible. When he blew his first ACL...we figured out pretty quickly what it was and within about 30 days he underwent surgery. We kept him quiet and controlled for about 8 weeks (and some after that because I was worry warting the surgery side and the other side). We put him on good supplements because the surgeon told us there was about a 70% chance we would be doing the other side....again he was really crappy.

He lived on that leg and returned to mostly normal for 4 1/2 years before we lost him to cancer. We never did have to do the other leg and he loved, loved, loved to chase his soccer ball.
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Postby pocketpit » September 12th, 2010, 6:42 pm

From what I've read the TPLO and TTA both have similar recovery and success rates as well has hardware failure rates. Our clinic usually performs TPLO's but have done a couple of TTA's as of late.
Finding a good surgeon and following post op recovery instructions are crucial.
We've had a couple of dogs with hardware failure and usually it's caused by an owner who allows the dog to do too much too soon or doesn't follow instuctions at all. Bear in mind most of our patients are usually very overweight as well. It's a rare day when we do a knee repair on an animal at a healthy weight.
I personally have never had a dog who needed a knee repair but my sister's dog had a TPLO done at our clinic. She suffered from hardware failure which sucked but it happened when she attempted to break out of her x-pen at work. My sister had been taking her to work so she could properly supervise her and medicate her. Someone came into her office when she wasn't around and the dog freaked out. Like you said, there are no do overs. She does have some slight rotation of the leg and a small limp that happened as a result of breaking the hardware and it's subsequent healing.
As a working dog, I know this would not be acceptable for Connor so drug the hell out of the dog if you have to and follow exercise instructions to a T.
Those with uncomplicated recoveries seem to walk and run normally after healing.
I've also had several co-workers who opted for cheaper surgeries and simply had a local vet re fashion a ligament using their own body tissue and their dogs healed very nicely and never had further complications. One of them is a St Bernard who does open obedience work.
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Postby Malli » September 12th, 2010, 10:25 pm

I second following the recovery and exercise instructions exactly.
I also second the instructions on being drugged. ;)
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