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Double TPLO Recovery – Limping/Lameness – Loki

Double TPLO SurgeryOur now 12 year old Brittany, Loki, has had both knees fixed with TPLO surgery. His first surgery was 18 months ago and the second about 1 year ago. Recovery went well in both cases, though he managed to break his fibula both times. In both cases, though, the fibula healed without any troubles.

After the second surgery, he began dragging his toenails occasionally on both sides. We didn’t worry about it as the recovery was going well and we weren’t aware that it could be a symptom of other problems.

Things were going well until about 6 months after the second surgery. He seemed to be back to about 80%, running and playing near to his normal hyperactive self.

At about 6 months, he developed a limp and more proprioceptive deficiencies. He drags his toenails occasionally on both sides and knuckles as well. The side of his second surgery is a little worse than the other side.

Our surgeon wasn’t able to examine Loki, since we have moved to Panama, but we sent him some x-rays and he felt they looked good with no arthritis or complications.

These symptoms have increased and decreased over time, but never gone away. The surgeon said that TPLO can’t cause proprioceptive problems, but I wanted to find out if anyone else has had similar experiences. Perhaps pain and weakness associated with the surgery can cause these symptoms?

Thanks for any input!

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3 Responses to Double TPLO Recovery – Limping/Lameness – Loki

  1. Andrea November 1, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    I have a dog that just went through a double TPLO and he does this as well, but only on one side. Usually if they are dragging the toes, it is one of two things, muscle weakness or nerve damage. To check for nerve damage, when the dog is standing, pick up their back foot just enough to turn it so the pads are up and the tops of the toes press against the ground. As soon as you let go, the dog should immediately pick the foot up and put the pads back down. If there is a delay, or if the dog stays knuckled over on that back foot, it usually means a nerve issue. (You can probably You Tube a video on how to do this.)
    I would think that because of the large amount of cutting in the TPLOs, it’s possible that nerves could be nicked. Nerves take an average of 6 mos-1 year to heal if they are damaged, so if you are past that time, you may have something permanent or maybe even a different problem unrelated to surgery.
    The other thing I would be worried about if he’s dragging on both sides is a disc in the back. That can cause coordination problems, and makes more sense if the dragging is on both back feet instead of just one. I would also get him tested for all the tick-borne diseases. Lyme’s and anaplasmosis can cause similar symptoms, and have a cheap and easy cure (run of doxycycline antibiotics).
    Have you tried Rimadyl or any other anti-inflammatories? Do they help?
    My boy is only a few weeks off restrictions, so I am not worried about nerve damage just yet…he’s still weak enough that he falls over sometimes because he just doesn’t have the muscle back to hold himself up, so I will watch and not panic yet, but I feel for you guys.
    If you KNOW something is wrong, don’t give up….you live with your dog, you are the only one who is liable to pick up on the really subtle symptoms that he is not at 100%. The vet has stopped questioning me when I tell them there is a problem…I tend to see Domino’s issues about two and half weeks before they become bad enough for the vet to diagnose. They are good at hiding their pain!

  2. Nancy November 2, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    Nicely stated, Andrea. I said almost the same thing on FB, but in not as much detail.

  3. Tammi August 22, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    Hurley is a 12 1/2 yo, 90lb boxer/lab mix. We are 10 days postop from his TPLO surgery done by a Neurosurgeon with excellent credentials. Brief history..having full back end failure, knuckling both hind legs, loss of muscle mass in hind qtrs-from January 2014. dx’d with hind end ataxia & proprioceptive deficits – X-rays showed evidence of spondylosis at L7 – S1, (at base of spine) with possible compression on the spinal cord & nerves. To try and avoid surgery on the spine, the Dr. wanted him to try the water treadmill & laser therapy. Hurley has been doing physical therapy since april2014 with excellent progress…he has gone from 1 min up to 20 mins on the treadmill – he still has his good and bad days. All in all the dr is very pleased with his improvement in a 3 month time..
    3 weeks ago think it was the bear that was passing thru the area at the time and Hurley tried to run thru the yard….he came in limping, ACL tear – just had surgery…back end is very weak again-the good leg very weak, starting with the knuckling off & on, the surgical leg fully knuckled until a few days ago…has been getting better. Sutures to be removed this week and will be starting minimal physical therapy (water treadmill & laser therapy) 8/31/2014. Postop visit & X-ray’s mid September & status/eval for PT. He does also have liver compromise so anti inflammatories such as rimadyl are minimal dosing and will only be on it for short period – it does help tremendously tramadol is at a maximum dosage :(
    Thank you for allowing me to share!! Tammi & Hurley

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