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Conservative Management for a Torn Meniscus, Deuce

In September 2010 our dog, Deuce, blew out his knee. We went to the vet and he’s been diagnosed with a torn meniscus. We are going to try the CM method of healing in hopes the scar tissue fills in the spot where it’s torn. Our family can not presently consider surgery because of the expense and having a new baby. I’m helping with babysitting (I’m the grandma) expenses now.

Our present dilemma is getting him in and out of the house to go potty. He’s 70+ pounds and I can not lift him up – not only is he heavy, I have bad knees. I’ve asked Ashleys’ Angels for help with a doggie wheelchair to at least get him in and out of the house. We’re also considering putting in a ramp to get him down the stairs. I’ll keep you all posted as he progresses, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as well!

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14 Responses to Conservative Management for a Torn Meniscus, Deuce

  1. Alison October 5, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    Another thing to consider is using a towel or other piece of fabric that you loop under your dog’s back belly/ hip area (as a sling). Gently lift up on the towel and it will support his hind legs as he walks with his front legs. This way he’s not using his back legs but you do not have to worry about trying to pick him up.

    Google “towel to help dog walk” and you will find many articles on it.

    Good luck! Our 1.5 year old english bulldog has a full ccl tear and goes in for TPLO surgery in two days…

    • Brandon Crouch February 3, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      Hey Alison!

      I saw that your Old English Bulldog has a full ccl tear! My Old English Bulldog has torn his Meniscus and the vet is recommending a similar surgery to fix this. Do you have any advice or suggestions I need to know about going into a surgery like this?

      Thanks! Please email your reply back!

      • Alison February 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

        Hi There!

        Is your vet recommending a TPLO? We had a few options to choose from (TPLO, MRIT, etc.). We finally decided on the TPLO as it is the sturdiest of all of the surgeries, and Capone is a very active and excited bulldog. It was the most expensive ($3500.00), but made the most sense for our situation and we went to a very accredited specialty hospital.

        He’s doing fantastic now. We are 17 wks post-op (4 months). I’m not going to lie- the aftercare was a LOT of work on our part (between having to ice the incision and knee multiple times daily, do range of motion exercises, etc.) and it was really hard seeing him in pain. What was probably the hardest was that we had to keep him crated for 9 weeks. He felt like he was “better” after about 2-3 weeks, so it was difficult having to keep him in the crate for another 6 weeks since you can’t explain to them why you’re doing it. We did have to keep him sedated for most of his recovery, but that was mostly because he is still very much puppy like and very energetic. I was very iffy about sedating him at first, but the sedatives did not knock him out, they just helped to keep him calm. We found that having the sedatives was very necessary for his healing.

        It has been about a month and a half since he went in for his follow-up (where we were told his bone was completely healed). We allow him to be out in the house while we are home, don’t let him jump on furniture, and I don’t trust him outside without a leash yet (especially with all of the snow and ice).

        I would say that the surgery was ABSOLUTELY worth it. He was limping (ever so slightly) before the surgery, but I knew he was in pain (as you probably understand because bulldogs have such high pain tolerances). Since he has recovered, his gait is much better and he walks without a limp! We do have to keep him on glucosamine, but that seems to really be helping.

        This is very tough, I know. But if yours is anything like ours, they’re family. You have to do what’s best. I’m here if you have questions. I know how scared/confused/anxious we were when having to make this decision and go through it and I did as much research as I could.

        Good luck!!

        Alison

  2. lovesdogs November 6, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Vets offer slings. Its got the middle part under her belly (with sherpa fabric)and two handles on top that i hold to keep her from putting her weight down when she walks. Also helps with stairs because she only has to use her front legs (because I’m lifting her tummy area in the back and she can’t put them down anyway).

  3. Jenn December 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Alison I’m interested to hear how your English bulldog did, our 2 and a half year old had surgery in june 2010 please email me so we can compare recovery’s!

  4. dogma June 14, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    There is another supplement which is quite powerful – and natural. Read up on CMO:Cetyl Myristoleate. It works as an anti-inflamatory, pain killer, immune system regulator in regard to hyper-immune response from constant pain/inflammation and it HEALS as well. Can find over the counter at a health food store. Has an interesting history if you are into that. Note that you should follow the same “loading” schedule as per Glucosamine: double dose for first month and the regular dose after that. Some people and pets are CURED of their arthritis on this in a few months. If not, cured, you will notice a nice difference.

  5. Seahag October 9, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    My 100 lbs dog has had TPLO surgery on both knees and we are now looking at another surgery for the meniscus. I too live in a 2 storey home and had to figure out the issue of getting my pooch to the grass to do her business. We discovered fake grass. It cost me about $150 for a patch of synthetic grass about 4′ x 4′. When we got it home my dog wouldn’t even go near it, so I took the patch down to the real lawn in the backyard and rubbed the fake grass side ontop of the real grass. When I brought it back upstairs, she has no qualms about using it. It’s been a life saver. I throw the patch over the railing and hose it down every second day and Febreeze it when necessary.
    Good luck :)

    • kristina April 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

      Hi. I noticed your dog had two tplo surgeries and you were looking.jnto meniscal surgery as well. Did you do the meniscus surgery? My 2 year old lab has had two tplos as well and i think will be needed to get meniscus surgery now as well. What was the cost for you and recovery like?? Thanks!!

      • Victoria May 26, 2012 at 8:34 am #

        Hi,

        I have a cocker that has had both knees repaired too and now has a “popping” sound…yesterday she had a slight limp, but not today. She is on glucosamine and adequan…If it is meniscus tear (which is what it sounds like) is surgery the only option? If I don’t is she destined to be in pain or develop severe arthritis?

        Thanks

        Victoria

        • Kristen February 28, 2013 at 10:29 am #

          Did you get an update to this? how is your baby doing? Did you do the surgery?

  6. SUEpergirl October 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    My ONE piece of advice for anybody that is getting TPLO or TTA surgery (or other leg related surgeries) is to

    ASK THE VET ABOUT THE MENISCUS!!!!

    I only know this because of what my dog had done to her… and I’ll explain the whole story on my profile when I get time…. but the vet can usually access the meniscus during the other surgery on the leg. Its almost like the burger in between the buns, as it was put to me when I asked for the “blonde version” of what an “M” meniscus was. In my dogs first surgery the vet (Cornell University) told me that my dogs M was almost like ground chuck, when it should have been more like a cooked hamburger. The sugeon offered to clean the ground chuck off, and replace it/compensate for it with a gel. That surgery went spectacular. It was a TTA. We had the same exact surgery done two months later (quicker than we expected, you can read my dogs whole story on profile to see the long version)… and it was cornell, so you really never deal with the same doctor twice. But.. we went ahead with the TTA on the other leg and it was ridiculous. Everything is better now, about a year later, with that leg, but it took sooooo long to heal… whereas her first surgery/leg is perfect. All because they didn’t touch the meniscus in second surgery.

    So the difference between the first and second surgery is that I ASSUMED that this vet was going to go above and beyond like the other surgeon had. but he didn’t. Instead, I was told after the surgery, while saying hello to my dog, when this surgeon showed me an xray and told me that her miniscus will definetly need to be dealt with soon.
    I was shocked.
    When I asked why they hadn’t done it during surgery (again, my fault, I assumed that was how it was done because the first surgeon did such a wonderful, thorough job).. I was told that it wasn’t discussed, and that they really couldn’t tell until they were in there. Well duh, the first vet had said the same thing BEFORE surgery, and wanted my permission to address the issue as it presented itself. So of course I agreed.

    This may require additional time and money, but its so much better to just get it done in one surgery. Recuperation takes so long as it is, that you would hate to put your dog through it twice on the same leg. Plus you can get these really helpful slings that cushion your dogs entire “undercarriage”, with a long handle on each side of sling… so you are basically just holding the dogs back weight as she walks up the stairs.

    AFTERCARE: With the hard time we had with our dogs second TTA (miniscus still remains unrepaired because the combined total of first two surgeries was around $10,000). BUT when it seemed that my dog was still favoring the second leg and gimping after a couple minutes of walking… we thought about getting a brace. We went to our regular vet (not cornell) and the vet thought we should use an injection called Adequan. Its been amazing!!!
    In blonde terms… Adequan gives the dog the benefits of what glucosimine/chrondrontin suppliments give the dog, except you inject it right into their side butt area. We didn’t get the brace because the vet explained that it can actually hinder the dog if its not the right size, its a lot of maintenance, or many other things, so we decided that would be our last effort if the shot didn’t work.

    Adequan is administered first in the vets office, and then you really just kind of watch the dog until you think they are hurting (although I believe I gave the shot to her every other week for six weeks to start with). Now I give it to her once every couple months. Expensive at around $80 for five injections… but now it lasts me at least a year.

    With my dog I can tell she’s feeling better after she’s walked or played and the time it takes for her to recover and not favor the leg. We are at the point (knock on wood) where we forget that she’s even had the surgery… which is great. She also took an anti-inflammatory pill for awhile, which we reduced down until she wasn’t taking it… although I give her a booster every month or so.

    AND IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW… because I didn’t… you can NOT give your dog any type of human advil/aspirin if tey are on anti-inflammatory med from the vet…. our vet had told us that a bayer was ok for the dog, but then another vet FREAKED when he found out the dog had taken both.

  7. Kristen February 28, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Is there an update on how Deuce did with CM? My dog is 12 years old- he tore his CCL in October and wore the ATrac brace – There is now a popping sound when he walks- although he is showing ZERO pain. He is walking and actually attempting to run! The popping sound hurts me more cuz I don’t like to hear it, thinking it is hurting him. I put the brace back on him but wasn’t sure if that was the best choice. I am thinking he has a meniscus injury but it can’t be very bad if he is in no pain- right? Anyway, any suggestions? Our vet is very knife friendly and wants to put every dog for every injury under the knife- I really hate that about them. I do not want to risk him going under at such an advanced age. Any suggestions would be amazing.

  8. HandfullOdogs September 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Hello,
    My 11 year old 65 lb girl just tore her CCL last week. Now ten days later she’s not putting any weight on it and seems to be quite uncomfortable inspite of Deramaxx, Gabapentin and Tramadol all in her system. Vet said that she might have meniscus tear as well with the clicking sound her knee makes on bending. Like Kristen, I’m so hesitant to put her under the knife given her age (as much as the TPLO sounds great for a younger dog) Both vets that my dog has seen in the local clinic think that it’s risky business for a dog of this age. Another vet there thinks that surgery is appropriate regardless of her age if she isn’t doing well…hmmm.
    Am looking into the Woundwear A Trac brace but spoke with an animal physical therapist hasn’t seen much luck with this brace especially with possible meniscus damage, which apparently can’t be detected on the xrays.
    Anyone else with commentaries on this topic? Any and all advice, including other brands of braces is appreciated.

    • Nancy September 15, 2013 at 7:49 am #

      I hear you on not wanting to do surgery but I believe in surgery because I’ve seen what it does, and I’ve seen what not doing surgery does. I guess it depends on the overall health of your dog, but these surgeries have come a LONG way and I’m telling you, 2 days post-op my dog was comfortable enough to walk on his repaired leg and he’s never looked back.

      He did have part of his meniscus removed. There’s some article the admins added about how the meniscus repairs itself but there is no scientific proof to that article; what I know is that once my dog’s meniscus tore, folded itself, and hardened, my dog was in a LOT of pain and he was unable to use that leg.

      My orthovet said it’s like having a big rock between the femur and tibia.

      Keep researching. It’s so unfair they have to struggle with a bum knee after years of living life and having fun.

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