It has been a long time since I have been on this forum but I have a very upsetting question to ask. I have been worried sick about my fiance's dog Nina. She has been really favoring her hind end for the past 2 weeks. We have brought her to the vet and had her put on Rimadyl which hasn't helped. On Thursday last week we brought her back for x-ray, sedation and a Lyme test. Under sedation they found that her right knee has the "drawer"effect and told us that she ruptured her ACL. Now here comes the tough part for me. I have been asked by my fiance and his family to take care of her post op because I live in a 1 floor home with no other dogs that will jump on her. I have no problem doing this since I used to work in an animal hospital and am familiar with the recovery from this type of surgery.
However, she just came to my house today to get used to her surroundings and get away from her housemates who tend to bully her and I am noticing that she is not only favoring her right leg, but oftentimes is favoring her left leg just as badly. Watching her try and get up is heartbreaking because she puts about 85-90% of her weight on her front legs. She is still walking on each of her hind legs, so she hasn't completely torn through the ACL, but I am very worried that if the Vet missed a tear on her left leg how is she supposed to recover properly? He never mentioned finding the "drawer" effect in her left leg. It just seems that she is showing the same lameness on each hind leg.
Has anybody dealt with having 2 torn ACL's (cruciates) at the same time If so how did the surgery(ies) go and what was the recovery like Nina is scheduled to go in for surgery on Tuesday and I am calling the vet tomorrow to let him know what is going on. Do you think they would recommend doing both legs at the same time?? I never have come across this scenario before and honestly, it is worrying the heck out of me. Any replies would be GREATLY appreciated. Exercise restriction will not be a problem as Nina is 8 years old, approx 60-65 lbs and a very sedate/lazy lab.
I've never personally had this problem but I know that a second cruciate tear is quite common after a first tear, especially if the first tear isn't fixed quickly - which causes the dog to put even more strain on the "good leg" because of pain in the leg with the tear.
Two CCL tears is exactly what happened to my dog. We really didn't notice his problem until he tore the second CCL. Our ortho vet told us it is very common if a dog tears one CCL that they will quickly tear the second because of the increased weight they put on that leg.
One of the ortho vets we went to said he had done TPLO on both legs at the same time and the other said he would not recommend it and they should be done one at a time. We went with the one at a time route and I was really glad we did. I'm not sure how he could have functioned if we had done both at the same time and I think he would have been in a lot more pain because he always laid down on the leg that hadn't had surgery.
Is your dog having TPLO or traditional surgery? I think that will dictate a lot about the recovery. After TPLO my dog was restricted to basically no activity for about 8 weeks. Then short walks. Then long walks. We waited a few months for him to get the second knee done. He's totally fine now though.
Thank you everybody for responding. I am still very worried about this but at least I know I'm not alone. I spoke with the tech at the animal hospital. They are having a specialist come in to do the surgery (it is a small place) but she seemed to think that it is going to be a replacement of the ligament, not a TPLO. I know that the TPLO procedure is the up and coming surgery that many surgeons who are licensed tend to go with, but has anybody had the regular surgery that just replaces that tendon or the portion of the tendon? I feel so helpless.
I know there are a few people on this board who have had the traditional surgery (fixing the ligament or replacing it with cadaver ligament). I also know a few people personally whose dogs have had this surgery. When my dog went through TPLO, my ortho vets (I got two opinions from board certified ortho vets and both agreed on TPLO for us) explained that they don't like to do the traditional surgery for labs because of their size and activity level. They said that the traditional works better for smaller and/or less active dogs, but it can have a tendency to fail in bigger active dogs like labradors. In their opinion the failure rate was higher for traditional than for TPLO - I do know that there is some debate about this. TPLO surgery is different because it essentially realigns the knee and puts a plate in so that the dog does not need that ligament anymore. It seems that TPLO is more significant, the recovery time is longer, and it definitely costs more. The costs I have heard are about $800 per knee for traditional and around $2000 or $2500 per knee for TPLO. I have a friend whose dog had the traditional surgery. She's a young active lab and she's doing fine with it. Her dog was up and around in just a few weeks. I think it's just something to talk over with your vet to try to make the right decision for you and the dog.
Ok, maybe I am being a protective worried mom, but I talked to the vet this morning when I dropped Nina off for surgery. He told me that the surgeon would give her a morphine shot after her ACL and would send her home on Rimadyl. My initial response was Thats it? When I used to work at an emergency/specialty hospital we would give morphine shots after surger as well as send them home with rimadyl AND a fentanyl pain patch. Even then the dogs were still painful (normally these were TPLOs).
I keep looking at the clock and realize that Nina is probably having surgery right now and am worried that the pain will be excessive. Did everybody else just have Rimadyl to control pain or was it commonplace to have an additional pain control method such as the fentanyl patch?
Just curious. I know each dog handles pain differently and either way if Nina seems to be in excessive amount of pain the doctor will get an immediate call back from me tomorrow.
Thanks again everybody. I probably sound psycho, but that's the worried mom in me that is preparing for worst case scenario.
My dog just got the morphine shot and rimadyl - no pain patch. He seemed fine just on rimadyl. However, if your dog starts showing signs of extreme pain like panting etc. I would definitely call and ask for something stronger.
Well the verdict is in. Nina has just gotten out of surgery and it apparantly went well. When she was under the surgeon took a look at her left knee and she has a partial rupture in that knee as well. I knew that I wasn't imagining things. My fiance is very upset because this means she will be in pain for that much longer and will require another surgery. Oh well...2nd surgery here we come.