Torn ACL
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Thread: Torn ACL

  1. #1
    Big Ma is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    I live in central Illinois

    DefaultTorn ACL

    I have a 6 year old female with a torn ACL. We would like to do surgery but keeping her crated for 8 to 12 weeks will just break our hearts. She is such a big baby that it will be too much for us. We are debating not having surgery and let her live with it. What has been some of your history with this surgery and the recovery. I live in central Illinois and don't know who to use for the surgery. The U of I is out because of the $$$$$. Need support.

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  3. #2
    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    SE, PA


    Many members on this forum have had ACL repairs done and they and their dogs have coped just fine with the crating after surgery. I would suggest you post your questions and concerns in the "Odds and End" area of the forum, you will get a much better response. You can also do a search on the forum for lots of good info. I would definitely not recommend you just let the injury go, you will have a crippled and painful dog that you may have to put down. Surely your dog deserves better than that. Good luck and best wishes for a successful surgery and recovery!
    Maxx & Emma Jean
    Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.

    Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.

  4. #3
    Samson is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Kent, England


    I too had your reservations for my then 9 year old with a torn ACL. I also briefly considered leaving him to hobble around rather than put him through the surgery owing to his age, but I too was advised that he would be crippled and not only that but it could also affect his other leg.

    I had already some years previously had my 13 year old put to sleep owing to both of his back legs failing ( Spondulitis ) and I suppose that this too spurred me on the consider the surgery.

    I was also confused as to which operation to go for. Tightrope surgery has been successful for some of the dogs on this site, but i was advised that owing to my dog's size that this may fail, and I believe that one member ( I'll let them speak for themselves if they wish ) had to return to have the operation again after just such a failure.

    TPLO ( Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy ) is the operation that I opted for as it was considered to be the stronger of the repairs during recovery and I was anxious that he didn't damage his leg after the surgery.

    We went through the three month barrier with me sleeping downstairs with him as he was too stressed to be left on his own. I work all day so he was on his own all day except for the first week after the operation and I made him a 4' square x 4' high cage out of weld mesh which I secured to the wall of my lounge to stop it moving around.

    Believe me when I say that the actual recovery is not nearly so bad once that you have organised your house and life style around the operation and it is so worth it.

    Now 8 months on from the operation, he is hopping around like a spring lamb and I am so glad that I opted for the surgery.

    Best wishes and let us know how she goes.
    Last edited by Samson; 02-07-2013 at 04:03 AM.

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  6. #4
    kassabella's Avatar
    kassabella is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Wellington New Zealand


    Tessa did hers about 14 weeks ago and doing well.
    As Colin says bigger dogs it is better to do the TPLO. We did the TTO which is similar. If you don't do the surgery you will still have to crate for 6 weeks or more. My older boy partially tore his and with his joints the vets said surgery would be too hard on him. His was a partial tear and Tess was a full tear which makes a difference. He is ok, but there is always that doubt he could hurt it again so have to be careful with him. If you do surgery of any kind or not it was a long slow process.
    I can't say which is better, but I am pleased we went with surgery. Without it she would have had arthritis. I am told she still may do, but no to the extent she would without it.

    I was so nervous as Tess wasn't crate trained, but it really wasn't as hard as I imagined. In fact now when I say go to bed she goes to the crate. Colin and Laura (Labby) gave me good advise so hopefully Laura will see this.

    There is also an ortho group in yahoo which may be worth looking at.

    Kassa 25/11/01 - 09/02/05 O.S Jaw cancer forever in my heart.
    Ernie 25/11/01 adopted May 05
    Sam 11? adopted Nov 06 - 18/12/07 Lyphoma
    Tessa. Rescued June 2011.
    Bone Cancer Dogs org.

  7. #5
    javasmom is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009


    My girl Java tore both ACLs at the same time when she was 13 months old.
    She had back to back surgeries and was crated for a total of 9 months.....actually, we used an ex-pen instead of a crate.

    Unfortunately, not doing the surgery is going to leave you with a virtually crippled dog.
    Do the surgery and look into ex-pens. Much easier than crates, but still keeps them restricted.

    Here is Java in her ex-pen after her first surgery:

    She looks pathetic, but it's really not that bad. After her staples came out she was able to start walking, 10-15 minutes 3 x a day, which was enough to tire her out.
    I also would lay a blanket outside in the yard and lay out there with her (it was spring) and eat ice cream. It really kept her spirits up. She hd to be on a leash, but she didn't mind, as long as she was outside. On leash she was also allowed to do a little wandering around the yard.

    It sounds way worse than it actually is.

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