Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery
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Thread: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    DefaultCruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    Hello,
    My name is Jane and this is my first posting on a message board ever, so please bear with me. My black lab Dixie is 6 years old and recently began limping on her hind leg. We took her to the vet and decided against
    surgery, after a diagnosis of a torn cranial cruciate ligament. We decided to do this because our vet said
    that although surgery was the best option, rest and weight loss could also lead to a good prognosis. All was well until one fatal day when we were at the beach and Dixie was off leash - I fear she now has a meniscal injury as well because there's a clicking when she walks.
    My question is to anyone who has ever opted not to have surgery. Over time has the injury healed to your
    satisfaction? I have an 8 month old baby and I just don't think I can cope with the aftercare as well as risking even more surgeries (with the same injury occuring possibly in the other leg) and further surgeries that could happen if the first doesn't take. Our vet is only offering the fishing line option not the tibial one and we live on a small island. Any help with methods I could take i.e. exercise and what to expect in the next few months would be appreciated.
    Best, Jane

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  3. #2
    WigWag Guest

    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    Hi Jane,

    The ligament will never heal. This is a condition that needs surgery. Basically the knee is unstable and feels like it gives out every time she steps on that leg and there is pain accompanied as well. A surgery will restabilize the knee so that it is sturdy and pain free once again. Yes arthritis will build up eventually but without surgery you are simply waiting for scar tissue to form all over the joint to somewhat make it more stable. This would be months of pain for your dog. I had a friend who did not do surgery on a very young dog with a cruciate tear. This dog has been limping for 5 years and some days are really bad. I have a 9 year old who had the surgery at 2 years old and he rarely limps.

    I know it's tough with a new baby (we have a 4 1/2 year old daughter and a 9 months old daughter as well) but you need to do this for your family member. As far as risking more surgeries - your dog is prone to having the other one go whether or not you have surgery on the first. Actually she would be more likely to tear the second one if she is overcompensating by allowing the first to scar over many months. I do not personally recommend the TPLO and feel the "traditional" methods such as the one your vet offers is a very good option.

    Good luck.

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    I agree with Sharon. I have had two labs that have had this and both are doing well with the traditional surgery. I have had breeder friends who have done the TPLO but have not seen any difference other than they might have heeled a bit quicker and the $$expense was higher. Good luck.

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  6. #4
    Paola's Avatar
    Paola is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    For once, I have to disagree with Sharon. In some cases, conservative management does work and it works well. There is a Yahoo list where they deal with CM:
    Conservative management
    You will find links, files and info on supplements and exercises.
    If you opt for CM, I suggest you consider using a knee brace.
    You will find cM stories on this link:
    Healing cruciate injuries without surgery

    And, FWIW, some dogs will end up with arthritis nonetheless even with surgery. CM won't work for each and every case and, if you want to give it a good chance, you will have to restrict as if your dog had had surgery for the first 4/8 weeks. Full recovery is no different than after surgery, but it can be managed in many cases if you are consistent.

  7. #5
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    I agree with Paola. I chose not to do surgery with my aging lab mix over a year ago, and she is doing quite well - as well or better than dogs I've known that have had the surgery.

    The CM group has been very helpful throughout this.

  8. #6
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    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    I just don't think I can cope with the aftercare
    My 8 year old just had the band surgery and he just has to be walked on lead. When his stitches are out I plan to swim him. What have you been told you have to do?

  9. #7
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    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    My older boy Jordan, has a tear. The vet recommended surgery. After speaking to many breeders who have had personal experience with and without surgery for their dogs I opted not to do the surgery. He's basically allowed to go outside and potty and then stays inside. Thankfully with him being older he likes to sleep. It's been about two months and he went from not putting any weight on the leg to walking almost normally (when he walks slow there is no limp). I was giving him Rimadyl for maybe a week. I give him Glyco Flex and Cosequin every day.

  10. #8
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    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    we are currently rehabbing our 3rd dog to undergo TLPO. Gypsy is 2 weeks post-op, she is now putting the leg down lightly during her 3-4 slooooow leash walks [about 5-10 minutes each] per day. the stitches come out after 14 days [that would be Monday!]. the first week or 2 is mostly crate rest. @ 3-4 week , you ask them to sit/stand several times during the walks, and increase the duration of the walks to 20 or so minutes. after 5 weeks, they can have ''free activity'' without stairs or running, and swimming is highly recommended after the stitches come out.
    since the dog is mostly crated except for the controlled walks, it really isn't much work, to me........
    each of our previously-repaired dogs have completely returned [in about 4-5 months] to high-powered lives of training hard for hunt tests & field trials, and extensive hunting. i expect this one to return to a full schedule of Agility competition by this fall.
    as a mechanic, i would Not opt for the old-style surgery except in the case of an older couch potato....to me, the TLPO makes the leg what it Should have been, if Mother Nature had been 'in' that day! neither of the previous 2 has needed the other knee done.
    as a long-time knee-replacement-needing candidate myself,[who has had other extensive illness & hospitalization during my life] i can tell you knee pain STINKS!!!!! it effects every single thing you do, your outlook, your entire life. it is my Choice not to have the surgery done on myself right now, although i know it is inevitable [i've seen my xrays, i see/feel the need!].
    however, a dog has no choice...if you wouldn't allow your child to suffer with something so easily fixable, IMO you cannot allow a dog to do so either.
    it's only money, after all........
    perhaps there are veterinary schools that you could use? the dog stays typically 2 nights post-op, although this one came home the next day, she seems to throw off anesthesia quickly.

  11. #9
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    The care after surgery is pretty much the same as the conservative management protocol. If you can't do one, I wouldn't recommend the other.

  12. #10
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    DefaultRe: Cruciate/meniscal injury healing without surgery

    Gypsy is 2 weeks post-op, she is now putting the leg down lightly during her 3-4 slooooow leash walks [about 5-10 minutes each] per day.* the stitches come out after 14 days [that would be Monday!].*
    They had surgery the same day. If my dog were younger I would have gone the TPLO, but all I am looking for is his future comfort; however, I'm not sure if this guy registers any pain. It would be interesting to compare the progress. He doesn't have a clue he can't do things. I think he ruptured it on take-off for the LBD of a triple, ran full blast out and back, and when he slowed down to heel I noticed he wasn't using his left leg. He now will stand on the leg to pee. Do you just swim them or can then retrieve?

    Someone told me about this brace that she used on an elderly dog who had one acl repair and then ruptured the other and she was too old to do surgery. http://www.woundwear.com/. you might get your vet to order one of those if you opt not to do the repair.

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