Seeking advice on cruciate ligament tear in a puppy
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Thread: Seeking advice on cruciate ligament tear in a puppy

  1. #1
    Katielouise is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultSeeking advice on cruciate ligament tear in a puppy

    Hello.

    We took our puppy to the vets on Friday for X-rays due to her limping on the left leg. We had originally raised this issue back in January but the vet told us not to worry, a limp was normal as she is a growing lab and that unless we planned to breed from her, there was no need to look into it. 5months later she has torn her cruciate ligament. She has had no major trauma to explain this . The vet wants to perform surgery but will be seeking advice as he has never done this surgery on a 9month old puppy before and says its very rare.

    Has anyone had experience of the operation, especially in such a young dog? We are so concerned about her now spending the rest of her life with arthritis and the other leg going. What will her quality of life be like after?

    I'm just looking for advice from pet owners who have gone through it or people with knowledge of whether this op is recommended in a young dog.

    Also, is it normal that she's in more pain now than when she went in for the X-rays? She is sore, won't settle, limping more and now has a visible lump on the inside of her knee

    Thank you.

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  3. #2
    Samson is offline Senior Member
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    Surgery for a torn cruciate is very common and mostly very successful !

    It's worrying in a dog this young though and I have no experience other than with an older dog.

    Jasper was 9 years old when he tore his ACL so not much help here !

    After the surgery over a year ago, you would not ( touch wood ) know that he had ever had a problem.

    I guess that the surgery would be equally if not more successful in a younger dog.

    Sorry that you are going through this though. It is very stressful !

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    Dog Paddle is offline Senior Member
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    Also, is it normal that she's in more pain now than when she went in for the X-rays? She is sore, won't settle, limping more and now has a visible lump on the inside of her knee
    This is the only part I can address. Yes, that is not unusual. The Vet probably had to manipulate her leg into positions that would show good angles in the X-ray. And put some stress on muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints all the way up and down her leg. Poor little girlie pup. So sorry.

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    tammyhuffman is offline Senior Member
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    I don't have any experience in this type of injury, thank goodness, but have heard many stories. I only wanted to let you know that it is extremely important that this type of surgery be done by an experienced ortho vet. There is absolutely no way I would allow a vet with no experience in this procedure to do it on my dog. It is possible that she is sore from any manipulation that may have been done during x-rays, just a thought. Best of luck for a successful surgery and recovery.
    Tammy
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  7. #5
    HersheyK's Dad's Avatar
    HersheyK's Dad is offline Senior Member
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    What Samson said, and you can browse through for Cruciate, ACL, TPLO, TTA, etc,

    Your dog is young for this injury. Labs are prone to it a lot due to their energy, size, and passion for fetching anything. In addition there is a skeletal fault that can
    make a dog even more prone. Without any credentials to say this, I would guess that kind of defect contributes to a young dog having this injury.

    With your vet saying he has never done this surgery on a dog this young, I would not allow him to do it. Please try to find a veterinary orthopedic surgeon for diagnosis and recommendation. Do you have a Veterinary School close by for a diagnosis and recommendation?

    You can follow my x DOWN y TO GO posts if you like. My Hershey Kisses had TTA surgery this past Tuesday. The post op recovery is long. Lots do do to help/restrict them for a 12 week period post op.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katielouise View Post
    Hello.

    We took our puppy to the vets on Friday for X-rays due to her limping on the left leg. We had originally raised this issue back in January but the vet told us not to worry, a limp was normal as she is a growing lab and that unless we planned to breed from her, there was no need to look into it. 5months later she has torn her cruciate ligament. She has had no major trauma to explain this . The vet wants to perform surgery but will be seeking advice as he has never done this surgery on a 9month old puppy before and says its very rare.

    Has anyone had experience of the operation, especially in such a young dog? We are so concerned about her now spending the rest of her life with arthritis and the other leg going. What will her quality of life be like after?

    I'm just looking for advice from pet owners who have gone through it or people with knowledge of whether this op is recommended in a young dog.

    Also, is it normal that she's in more pain now than when she went in for the X-rays? She is sore, won't settle, limping more and now has a visible lump on the inside of her knee

    Thank you.
    Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.

  8. #6
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    kassabella is offline Senior Member
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    One thing that really worried me with this is the vet saying a limp is normal. For me no limp is normal at any age. If one of mine limp it is straight to the vet. If it continues we see another vet.
    I don't mean to dismiss you vet, but after 8 years with a dog with joint problems and the pain that comes with that for him and me seeing it I never want to see another dog suffer like him.

    I agree with Ed about not sure I would be willing to chance this surgeon. Tess had a TTO (cross between TPLO and TTA) in October and doing well. You have to keep them quiet for about 6-8 weeks. When Tess had hers I wanted to know how many the surgeon had done as this was going to effect my dog for the rest of her life. She is 6 and hers was a complete rupture.

    I would ask which type of surgey they are doing. There is the traditional which is done on smaller dogs and not sure if they do this on puppies. Dogs like Tess, HK and Jasper are older bigger dogs so we chose the surgery we had. Each different surgery, with same outcome.

    When I adopted Ernie at 4 I was told his would go any time as they were not stable. With his hips we have taken it gently and been ok until the last year.
    It is normal for more pain. Until she has surgery or what other treatment it is best to crate her and keep her as quite as you can.

    As we don't have much info on young dogs the ortho group may be able to help more.

    orthodogs : Discussion of canine orthopedic issues

    also there is the conservative management, but with a young dog I would have the surgery. With Ernie he has never been able to be a dog as we have had to be careful with his knees. Ten years of this is hard work and arthritis will happen.

    Good thoughts coming.
    Last edited by kassabella; 06-02-2013 at 06:40 PM.

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    javasmom is offline Senior Member
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    I would be wary of doing any of the bone cutting type repairs (TPLO or TTA) on a 9 month old puppy whose growth plates have not closed.
    I would not take her to a vet that has never done surgery on a puppy this young. I would DEFINITELY be going to a board certified ortho vet-they will have experience with this injury in a puppy. They *may* want to do conservative management for a few months until those growth plates are closed.
    Because of the manipulation of the knee that is required to diagnose this type of injury it is no surprised that she is sore. Do you have any meds to give her?
    To find a board certified ortho vet in your area go to American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Click on Animal Owners in the top right corner and type in your zip code. They will give you a list of ortho surgeons in your area.

    My girl Java tore both ACLs at the same time when she was just 13 months old. She had back to back TPLOs. She is now 4 1/2 and she's perfect. She is on a good regimen of supplements (which you may want to consider AFTER surgery). She is also on grain free food (grains *can* cause inflammation in joints) and I keep her very, very lean at 60 lbs (as opposed to the 76 lbs she was before surgery).

    Only about 15-20% of ACL injuries are caused by traumatic injury. Most are either conformation issues (the angle of the knee is too steep-that was the case with my girl Java) or it is from wear and tear on the knee (usually seen in older dogs).
    The chance of the other knee tearing can be as high as 70% (especially if it is due to conformation). Most vets say it is between 40-70% chance that the other knee will tear within 18 months of the first knee.

    Her quality of life will be fine.....really. Java is 4 1/2 and she is a machine-she runs, hikes off leash in the woods for hours, swims, wrestles with Moka, etc. She leads a completely full, healthy and very active life.

    Java is the big girl in back, in the red collar:







    Java is the girl jumping in the air!!!



    Absolutely nothing slows Java down.
    So, your girl can/will still have a great quality of life after recovery from these types of injury. (Incidentally, the other girl on the top picture is my little girl Moka. She broke both bones in her rear leg when she was 4 months old. She had 2 surgeries to repair her leg, including implanting a steel rod through the bones as well as steel pins and an external fixator. As you can see, she healed up perfectly and is just as active and healthy with NO problems at all!! In fact, you'd never know either of my girls have had as many surgeries on their legs as they have had by looking at them. No one can tell that they were ever injured).

    Good luck!
    Gina

  10. #8
    HersheyK's Dad's Avatar
    HersheyK's Dad is offline Senior Member
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    I wish the original poster would come back. I have the same concern about these surgery options on a dog that young, i.e. the bones are still growing.
    Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.

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    It's very unusual for a dog this young to tear a cruciate, but not unheard of. Is this vet an Ortho Vet? My first response would be to get the puppy to an Ortho Vet for a second opinion and let the Ortho Vet do the surgery if it's needed.



    Laura





  12. #10
    Lukesmommy is offline Junior Member
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    My puppy tore her CCL at 9 months old. I think it was the small percentage of tears that happen due to injury. She came home from daycare lame. DEFINITELY seek the advice of an ortho surgeon. I was concerned about Lily's growth plates and all that too, but her ortho showed me on her x-rays that they were already closed. He did say that was unusual in a dog her age, but she is a fast maturing dog. She had her first heat cycle at 11 months old.

    Lily had a TTA in January, when she was 11 months old. I tried conservative management first, on the advice of my ortho vet, but she ended up needing surgery. Lily is very active, so her surgeon did not think a traditional repair would be good for her. I won't lie, the recovery has been very difficult with such a young dog. She has handled her restrictions well, but she IS a puppy. My surgeon took several precautions with her that are outside the norm of this surgery. He kept a splint on Lily's leg for the first 4 weeks. He wanted to protect her knee from her antics. She is now 5 months post op and still on restrictions. No jumping, no running, no play with other dogs and no off leash. She sees her surgeon next week and I'm expecting him to release her then.

    Lily has done very well. She has no limp, she weight bears equally on both legs now and I expect no long term ill effects. I think she could go back to normal activity now, but I'm nothing if not a rule follower! LOL If you have questions, feel free to PM me.

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