So our very active English breed(smaller) female yellow lab is now 2-1/2yrs old. She is a very energetic and active girl, loves to play fetch every day (stares at the chuckit hanging by the door and is very "ball focused") She seems quite lean and muscular and is not overweight at 66lbs. We noticed she had a limp with her left rear leg after exercising and sometimes after she had been sleeping or laying down, so took her to the vet. I had checked her leg as best I could and was concerned that she may have a hip issue. Anyway, after the vet examined her we were told it is a knee injury and is fairly common in active dogs. We also had x-rays done to check hips and confirm the knee injury. We are told that the knee has some movement and one of the ligaments (CCL) is the culprit. The recommendation was a referral elsewhere for TTA surgery and then a rehab. My question to the vet was whether it would be better to try and rehab it first and whether it would heal. The vet feels it was injured some time ago as there is some arthritic swelling on the bone. I know from personal experience that when a person has a partial tear that they like to try physio and give the body a chance to heal itself before doing surgery but seems with the dog that they just prefer to go right in with the surgery. Almost a week of easy, short leash walks and gentle exercising has definitely shown improvement and I am wondering if anyone else has dealt with this, with or without surgery.
It depends on whether the tear is complete or partial. My dog had torn ccls on both knees, one of which required surgery (we chose the less invasive extracapsular repair), and the other healed with traditional management (rest, nsaids). It's been 5 years now and he hasn't had any problems with any of his knees since.
From my experience, my recommendation is to always try traditional management first. Be very careful and rest your dog (no jumping, no rough playing, no fetching, just short and frequent walks on the leash). Start your dog on a joint supplement if you haven't already. It may take up to one or two months for scar tissue to build and the knee to heal. If traditional management doesn't work, chances are there's a complete tear, in which case I wouldn't recommend the more invasive and expensive procedures (TTA and TPLO), an extracapsular repair will do a great job since you have a smaller dog.
Not a complete tear as we had her x-rayed and while she was out the vet examined it and said there is a little bit of movement indicating a probable partial tear. The vet sold us some glucosamine HCL and we have completely eliminated off-leash exercise. We have also been following the vet's recommendations for therapy of the joint. She has gotten a little antsy a couple of times in the house and started to run around on the carpet but we quickly put a stop to it and moved her to the garage where she can't get traction on the smooth concrete floor. Our vet is really honest with us and although she did say she would get the surgery if it were her dog, she admitted that it was due to the fact that she would not have the time to do the therapy due to her workload. We are retired and have the time to spare. I feel that in either case we will need to do rehab and if we do end up getting surgery the dog will be more adjusted to low impact exercise. Fingers crossed and so far seems to be progressing quite well.
A few years back my mum's dog got an injury. Therapy was the first option that we had as it had earlier been diagnosed with arthritis. We kept a close look at him, walking him on a leash for exercises and we also got him one of those orthopedic beds It was an old dog though and it lived a few more years before passing on last year.I think it would be better to rehab it first.
Been there. With the first knee, I waited and did therapy and while to the naked eye she seemed to be doing better, the actual measurements said she was doing muscle tone. 3mo later, I did a TPLO on the knee followed by a couple months of rehab and she did wonderfully. 3yrs later, she tore the other knee and I opted to go straight to surgery (this time tighrope). She didn't lose nearly as much muscle tone and rehab went much faster.... and there is still better muscling on that side. At 11yrs old, she is doing wonderfully and still loves her chuck-it
My recommendation.... if it's torn (partially or fully) and you want an active, happy dog, do the surgery AND THE REHAB.
Well it's almost 3 years later and the knee is recently causing problems again. There is also quite a bit of thickening in the bones but still good movement apparently. We have relocated and took her to the vet for her annual check up and asked them about the knee as she was limping after exercise. After examining it and manipulating it, the vet suggested another joint supplement with devils claw and of course sold it to us. I think it should have been xrayed and am thinking we might need to search for a vet more familiar with this type of injury. We have reduced the amount of high energy exercise she gets for the last 3 years and limit her activity as best we can but she still jumps in and out of the back of the vehicle at every opportunity and tears around every chance she gets. She is also over 80lbs now, which I am sure does not help the issue.