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TPLO Complications

2 BoxersFor both humans and animals alike, any surgical procedure carries a risk of complications. You dog should have a full evaluation done, complete with blood work and other baseline testing, prior to surgery to help minimize any risks; this pre-surgical testing can often diminish the risk of death from anesthesia. Overall, complications with cruciate surgery occur in approximately 5 to 10% of patients. Complications can range from mild and easily resolved, to more severe complications requiring additional surgery, expense and disability. While uncommon, complications do arise during and after tibial plateau leveling osteotomy procedures and you should speak with your veterinarian prior to the procedure and find out what procedures are in place to help minimize these risks, as well as what steps would be taken should a complication arise.

Possible complications associated with Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO):

  • Anesthetic death (very rare)
  • Poor healing of the bone and/or breakage of plates and screws
  • Straining of patellar ligament
  • Fracture of tibial crest
  • Blow-out fracture of the tibial plateau (requires re-operation)
  • Loosening of screws and shifting of tibial slope
  • Shifting of bones
  • Arthritis
  • Tearing of meniscus
  • Allergic reaction to sutures
  • Seroma formation
  • Bleeding or bruising of the surgical site
  • Implant failure
  • Deep infections of the bone, joint or implant
  • Angular/Torsional limb deformity

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182 Responses to TPLO Complications

  1. Deborah September 7, 2008 at 7:34 pm #

    My shepherd had two TPLO surgeries. In his right leg, he developed infections from the plate and screws that would not heal, so he had to have the plate and screws surgically removed. However, the plate and screws were NOT removed from his left leg. He developed osteosarcoma, bone cancer, at the site of the plate. He had to have his rear left leg amputated to manage the pain. Sadly, the freaking cancer metastasized to the vertebrae in his spine. Nobody could help my precious boy at this point… I was forced to let him go to stop his pain. If you are considering the TPLO, insist that the surgeon informs you of this risk and possibly remove the foreign objects to prevent the metal plate from corroding into the bone.

    • Shannon April 22, 2012 at 7:09 am #

      Please be aware that osteosarcoma has nothing to do with the plate itself. All malignant tumors are an overgrowth of cells, any surgery that cuts into bone (whether or not a plate is placed) can cause the mechanism of bone overgrowth to “click on” and osteosarcoma can develop. It is an exceedingly rare complication of any bone surgery but the risk is there. The plates placed are surgical steel and do not corrode into the bone unless the plate (or the surgeon) is faulty.

  2. Jill May 18, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    What a sad an horrible story. I am so sorry to hear of the pain and hardship you went through! My poor dog had a TPLO that resulted in a nonunion. He’s had 2 surgeries already on the leg and they need to do another because it still hasn’t healed and he is very lame. I can tell he’s in pain. Apparently, when this procedure goes wrong, it can go very wrong. I hope others can ready your story and insist on finding a surgeon who is very very very very experienced, with many references and recommendations.

    • Alan March 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

      Lucky is now 5 years old yellow lab two years ago he had tpl surgery had to have 2 more surgerys on his leg because he was constantly licking ,biting at incision. Finally had to have it removed he rejected the implant.. I had laser therapy and very costly bills and the incision will not heal. The vet stated “sometimes this happens” not acceptable after the fact…

      If the vet gave me more options instead of telling me tpl was the only treatment did not mention tightrope or that give him complete bedrest he might heal on his own. I hate to say this but the vets make big income on tpl and do not advise the dog owners of the risks and all the options. I have taken lucky to several vets and he still has a awful looking incision. I pray that anyone considering this procedure make another choice like tightrope which has been used for 20+ years with less complications.

      • Cathy March 19, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

        Hi Allan,
        I tend to agree with you after this mess I am in. I was aware of tight rope but even my vet who does not do either surgery strongly recommended TPLO if I could afford it. I am beginning to believe that the stats regarding complication in 5 – 10% of cases are not true. Perhaps the public needs to be made aware of what appears to be corruption in the vet world the same as they need more education on corruption within the legal world. That one I can speak to all too well as I worked in the legal field for many years but left for many reasons which is not a topic for this board. I I hope your dog continues to improve. Where are you from?

  3. Marie August 13, 2009 at 9:08 pm #

    My dog had a TPLO done at the end of May. The surgeon was highly recommended, but I have to say I was wowwed by his assuredness and failed to ask the right questions. The vet told my husband and I that there was the old procedure (about $1,000) to fix the ACL and the new procedure (a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy [TPLO] at about $3300)…and that he thought she would do best with the TPLO. What he DIDN’T tell me was what the TPLO entailed. Basically the vet goes in a surgically and removed the head of the tibia in order to re-engineer the physics of the leg. The requires plates and screws to be inserted into your dog’s leg. It also requires an incision that goes from the hip to below the knee…it’s a pretty serious surgery. Also, even the Board Certified surgeon’s can make mistake (as is what happened with my dog’s surgery). If you are thinking of doing this…ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS. If your dog isn’t a national champion in agility or in some high level competative sport, you might be better off doing one of the older, more traditional ACL repair surgeries. My dog’s surgery ended up with too large of a gap in the cut that they made with the bone saw so she now has alot of rotation in the leg (in fact, when we took the bandage off on day three, her leg was pointing in…like it was pigeon-toed. This obviously was not correct so we took her back to the surgical vet. They chose not to go in and do a repair on it. At her six week check-up, she still wasn’t progressing so I contacted a canine rehab specialist to see if there was something else I could be doing (we already had initiated water therapy with my dog…which seemed to help). The canine PT said that in normal TPLO recoveries, they release the dog to normal activities at 8 weeks. My dog still couldn’t walk right due to the swivel in her leg. Based on the canine PT’s recommendations, I sought a second opinion and found out that my dog had a tibial crest fracture and that the cut made with the saw to restructure the physics was too wide…so another surgery would be needed to fix this. I am heartsick at the thought of putting my dog through another surgery and rehab, but leaving the leg as it is now will possibly impact the integrity of the “good” leg. So I’m basically praying for a miracle so we won’t have to do this second surgery. Please think twice about doing a TPLO…it’s a pretty serious surgery.

    • Marie January 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

      Follow-up on Lola and her status. So we were able to get a refund from the vet that botched the initial TPLO. To fix her leg, we ended up going with the “tight rope” method performed by Dr. Richard Lanier of Warren Animal hospital in WArren, Michigan. Dr. Lanier also is licensed and practices in Georgia. All I can say is that I wish I went with this surgery the first time around. Dr. Lanier has performed hundreds of these surgeries and is quite skilled…even with the weirdest of pre-surgical conditions (I swear this guy is part animal whisperer!!). Anyways, Lola is doing GREAT!! Her rotation has improved tremendously and she no longer appears to be in pain. She still has a slight limp (the first [botched] surgery performed by the Alabama surgeon caused her to have a little leg length discrepancy). Anyways, I truly recommend the “tight rope” method. Recovery is quite quick. The glute on Lola’s surgical side is filling out nicely.

      • siouxieg April 18, 2011 at 9:11 am #

        my 6 and a half yr old dog had a tplo and is now having to deal with and automimmune and joint problem to where we now have him on prednisone. since the beginning this has been an ordeal for all of us especially my pup. do these vets really know what they are doing. my dog has developed staph infection which was diagnosed after a $2,000 dollar blood workup, that we pushed for because he was collapsed on the floor and did not eat due to the pain in his body. all around this has now costed us about 8,000 dollars and my dog who we brought in for a problem knee may not be able to be himself again. its not about the money its about the mistakes that was made on my dog, i am being optimistic that he can pull through this, be aware and informed before doing a tplo or anyother surgical procedure on your dog.

        • Trouble's Mom April 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

          Hello,

          I am so sorry to read of yet another dog who has had terrible complications from having the TPLO done. I pray that he makes a complete recovery. My beautiful Trouble (shep/husky) had 2 TPLOs. He developed osteosarcoma (bone cancer) at the site of the metal implant that corroded in his tibia. He had to have his leg amputated and died four months later. Soon after, my beautiful Fly, shepherd/malamute, who also had the same metal implants that were NOT medical grade metal (and corroded in her) was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She died 35 days into treatments for this aggressive cancer. For 3 TPLOs, 2 implant removal surgeries, amputation, and cancer care for my beloved canine children, the cost was over $17,000.00, which I will no doubt be making payments for the rest of my life. And it’s not about the money… it’s about the quality of life that happens after these TPLO procedures. I lost Fly within a year of losing Trouble.
          Then when my 100 pound Shiloh Shepherd tore her ACL a month after losing Fly, over my dead body was she having a TPLO (her vet said she needed surgery to repair it). I looked into conservative management and long story short, she made a complete recovery WITHOUT SURGERY!!!!! She was featured in “Whole Dog Journal” and you can see videos of her on YouTube running around after healing. Just do a search for “Kimber” and conservative management. I wish to God I would have known about CM for Trouble and Fly….. they’d still be here.
          Best wishes to you and your dog. May he be healthy and happy soon.

      • Jennifer November 19, 2012 at 6:30 am #

        Marie,

        I am struggling with this surgery with my Bernese Mountain Dog. I can’t have kids and he is my everything. I don’t want a mistake I make now to effect his quality or length of life down the road. I live in Central Alabama. Can you please give me the name of the surgeon that botched the first surgery so that I can stay clear of that practice?

        Thank you,

        Jennifer L

    • Jacque April 1, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      Would you tell me who the Vet Service was? I am having the very same problems, including a broken screw head, osetomyelitis. I am seeking a second opinion now, but am distressed by what happened at this Vet Service and am trying to get my money back.

      • Cathy April 1, 2012 at 11:10 am #

        Hi

        Alta Vista Animal Hospital in Ottawa Ontario.

        • Tony April 1, 2012 at 11:31 am #

          Alta vista hospital is a money making business.
          Thanks god I isn’t go there

          My lab have a surgery schedule april13 for both her hind legs.
          Dr philibert will be doing the surgery and I heard a lot of
          Good things about him including using stainless steel parts to
          Prevent corrosion.

          • Cathy April 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

            Tony,

            Hoping this gets to you cause I can’t find your comment on the site. Did your lab have both her legs done on April 13? How is she doing?
            My female – Justice is Chief twin sister and I fear she has completely torn her cruciate on the left side and the right side I know is a partial tear.
            Please let me know how you baby is doing. I will be using Dr. Philibert also. What vet do you use?

            Cathy

          • Tony Tohme April 18, 2012 at 4:33 am #

            Hi Cathy,

            Keisha had her left knee on April 13th, at Aylmer animal hospital by Dr Philibert, he is the best in the region.
            The cost was about 3300$ total.

            Keisha started using her leg as of day 2 and now gradually she’s putting more and more weight on it but i’m discouraging her from using it a lot because her second knee ligament is also tear partially and I fear she will put more weight on the operated leg.
            She has another appt on May 25 for her right knee.

            She’s been doing great so far, I leaned off her pain killers from Day 2 as she is not too bothered and kept her on the anti-infalmmatory pills.

            I massaged her leg everynight for 10 minutes and try to keep her happy and inactive which is hard on a lab.

            I strongly suggest you buy an E-collar as she/he might lick around the incision during your sleep. I think mine did as there’s a reddish/black spot developping beside the incision.

            The operation Dr philibert used did not require bandage, he used metal staples which is better.
            he also used an non-invasive method to clean up the joint and check in her capsule for damage without disturbing the joint, it’s an extra 300$ but totally worth it.

            Good luck with you and I wish justice quick recovery.

            Let me know if you have any questions Id be glad to answer.

            Cheers

  4. Julie November 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm #

    I need to make a decision between TPLO and the tightrope surgery. The more I read the more good and bad I find about TPLO and the tightrope failing. But I could not deal with the horrible stories and things these poor people and their beloved dogs had to go thru with the TPLO. I am driving myself crazy, what do I decide. Some people praise the TPLO but I guess those are the ones that all went well. It just seems like a big gamble with very bad consquences? Please help? Want to figure out and get my poor baby a surgery by the end of the week. Thanks

  5. Beth November 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    Our dog had a TPLO at Tufts Veterinary in Grafton, MA in December 2008. Our surgeon came highly recommended and essentially convinced us that the TPLO was the only “real” choice for our dog. Sadly, it has turned out to be a terrible choice. The procedure is brutal and two weeks post-surgery our poor boy spiked a high fever and lost complete use of the leg. He underwent an emergency surgery to clean out an infection that ran the entire length of the incision. He then remained on antibiotics until March and never regained full use of his leg. In April, he underwent a third surgery to remove the plate and screws because the infection would not go away. Now, almost a full year later, he is infection free but walks with a limp and is restricted to leash walking. Rainy and cold days cause pain. We are out over $10,000 in surgery, medication and rehabilitation costs. As a comparison, we did the traditional repair with our first dog and she had an uncomplicated surgery, regained full use of her leg and we paid a fraction of the cost. The financial cost was painful, but the most difficult part is watching our beautiful, kind and loving dog limp through life unable to play with other dogs. We feel guilty for choosing the TPLO and angry at our veterinary providers for convincing us that this procedure was “better” than the traditional repair. UPenn Veterinary School will not perform the TPLO. There is a reason. A very excellent reason. Avoid the TPLO, save yourself some money and prevent the heartache of complications.

    • Alan June 13, 2011 at 5:11 am #

      TPL surgery was a nightmare my Vet did not tell me about other options that I could have taken such as healing itself to tight rope which has been used for over 20 years with limited complications. After four surgerys my dog rejected the tplo and he was in such pain that I made the vet take out the tplo and he stopped chewing at his leg and is on his way to recovery. It is the old story pad the Vets pocket with cash and the hell with the dog and owner.
      As you can see Im very bitter and angry that the family and dog had to go through 7 months of pain and suffering because all options were not explained to the family.

      • Trouble's Mom June 14, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

        Hi Alan,
        So sorry to hear of yet another TPLO gone wrong victim. I pray that your dog recuperates and is not in pain. After losing 2 of my canine companions to osteosarcoma post TPLO procedures, my Shiloh shepherd tore her ACL. I did conservative management with her and with this protocol and having a custom made orthopedic brace for her, she made a complete recovery! She is doing great and it’s been over 2 years since she tore her ACL.
        When my female tore her ACL, I had taken her to a surgeon not certified to do TPLOs. He told me that he doesn’t do them because one of the side effects is cancer. So I went to a different facility as I was “sold” on the idea that the TPLO was the best procedure for a torn ACL. When my dog developed cancer after the non-medical grade implant corroded into her tibia, I contacted the first surgeon to tell him that he was correct about this side effect. As our conversation went on, he had denied that he said this to me. Turns out, he jumped on the TPLO bandwagon. So much for his concerns about the side effect of CANCER! I agree with you…..the only one who profits from this is the facility performing this invasive procedure. I often wonder how these vets sleep at night.
        Best wishes to you and your dog.

    • Heather March 18, 2013 at 5:49 am #

      Hi Beth,
      Can you please contact me? I am scheduled to have surgery at Tufts for TPLO and you have me concerned. What size was your dog who did well withe the traditional repair? And where was that done?

      Thank you!!

      • Beth March 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

        Hi Heather-

        The traditional repair was on a 60 pound lab at Boston Road Animal Hospital in Springfield, MA. Dr. Stambaugh did it and he was great. I do not mean to speak poorly of Tufts—my poor pup just had a terrible outcome. And there is no recourse once you have cut and repositioned a bone…

      • Frances March 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

        Hi Heather I think the most importent thing is how many surgeries have they done. Both my labs had tplo from a highly skilled surgeon that had done hundreds if not thousand of tplo surgeries. One dog came through with flying colors, the other, my male, has never been right since. He is not bad or crippled or Anything, just not right, Now I do not know how much genetics played in recovery for my pups but if one can experience such different results from the same skilled surgeon, I’d say experience (teacher and student) counts. Good luck with your pup

  6. Sadie November 16, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    Hi Julie: I took Sadie for TPLO on 11/4. I was too worried the tightrope would fail and thought the TPLO offered the best option. We are on day 12 post op and it has been good so far. It is a lot of work keeping an eye on her and her sister but that’s because I don’t crate Sadie. I iced the leg for 10 – 20 minutes using a bag of frozen peas and a towel for the first 72 hours; I think that made a big difference. Just remember that the recovery is up to you and is long one! As long as you are mentally prepared you should be fine! Good luck to you and your baby.

  7. Sherri November 18, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    I have a dog who had the TightRope procedure done and she is doing incredibly well! I was also pushed by two vets to do the TPLO but after I researched TPLO I decided that is not something I ever want to have done. TPLO can work well but the complications can be horrible and yes, bone cancer at the site of the plate can and does happen. I now have a second dog with a torn ACL and we will have the new TightRope procedure done with the newer, stonger filaments.

    Any owner faced with this decision needs to take the time to educate themselves on the procedures available. Unfortunately many, many vets are going straight to the TPLO and it’s not for EVERY dog, there ARE options.

  8. Cat (UK) January 8, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    I have a two year old black labrador, and found at 13 months old he seemed to develop a slight limp, which got progressively worse? The vet we usually see, checked the knee and confirmed he had a ligament problem (drawer effect)and advised us to rest him. we did this as best as we could as he was very active and was consistently jumping around as a pup. I did feel following this time (6-8 wks), we sholuld have gone to see a surgeon sooner, as i cant help thinking the longer we left it the worse it probably got? We went back to the vet who then recomended an orthopaedic surgeon to us. The surgeon seemed very good, and took him for x-rays, which when explained seemed to warrant the tplo surgery due to the incline and degree displayed on the x-ray. After a lot of thought we agreed to go ahead, also knowing his other leg was in the same state!….I cannot tell you how upsetting the whole 6 months was! Following the first operation, the first three days were un bearable for me, as Harvey seemed to struggle in pain, and i found it so upsetting to see. We were administering pain killers which did help, and after 3 days the pain subsided, and he seemed to be getting back to himself, weight bearing etc. We were then supposed to wait at least 8 wks before having the second leg done, however within 4-5 wks the other leg became lame, i guess from taking the weight and strain of the operated leg, and we had no choice but to go ahead on the second leg. I have got to say the whole experience was awful, but seem to be all worth it. Up un til this week…6 months on….Harvey has suddenly developed a clicking noise coming from the first operated leg when walking, and it appears a little lumpy around the knee? he dosnt seem to be in any pain, but the clicking noise is getting louder? i am just hoping to god that none of the screws have become loose or the plate has become dislodged, as this will require further surgery, and would try anything other than put him through any pain again? i am hoping this may be a tear to the meniscus again and maybe able to heal with rest naturally, but i am fearing the worst??…Can anybody please suggest anything, or give me some advice what this may be?

  9. Dave January 16, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    We have a 3 year old Rottie cross who has a torn ACL. We have been to our Vet and an orthopedic Surgeon/specialist. They both highly suggest the TPLO surgery stating the complications with the suture type surgery. The TPLO surgery will be around $3800.00 vs. $2200.00 for the suture/tightrope surgery. He is somewhat bowlegged and reading the above responses really has me in a quandry as to what to do. None of these problems were discussed by the surgeon with the exception that infection/rejection is always a factor in surgery regardless of type.

    Concerned – Stand by for our decision.

    • Dave January 11, 2011 at 1:36 am #

      Here is a complete update from last year. (sorry about the long time) Upon noticing his ‘limping behaviour’ (Dec 20th) we limited Chance’s movement.
      We were given Sahsa’s Blend and fed it to both of our dogs for about 3 months and later moved onto Glucousamine and condratine (from Costco).
      We pulled out the crate and kept him in his crate whenever we were not home and completely kept him on his leash at all times. We had decided on the TPLO surgery, but when we contacted the Doctor to make the appointment, the ‘specialist never called back. I called 3 days in a row and was told the technican would be calling me back. No one called back! After getting extremely frustrated I reviewed more info on the TPLO surgey and what I found did not make me feel very comfortable so we went back to our Vet and decided on the suture/tightrope surgery. Within a week we had the appointment and had dropped him off. Within 3 hours the Doctor called us to say they could not detect the ‘drawer effect’ he previously had. We decided to not go through with the surgery and continued to keep him on a ‘short leash’ for another month.

      I am glad to report that he made a full recovery and we kept the Glucousamine/Condratine treatment going for 6 months.

      Upon first noticing any little chang, limit the dog’s excercise and look at joint therapy before going to any surgery if at all possible.

  10. Angela February 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    My 3 year old German Shepherd had TPLO surgery on her left let 9/2/09. She is unfortunately still lame in the leg, however, I still stand by my decision to do this particular procedure. There is no doubt in my mind that this was the correct surgery for her. The big difference that you have to take into account in the choice of one type of repair over the other is the dog itself. The “tightrope” procedure is good for inactive and/or smaller breeds. Larger dogs and very active dogs are at a high risk for this type of repair to fail, however. For those who have had complications with the TPLO surgery, please remember that there is no guarantee that your dog would have healed any better from the other type of procedure. It is a serious procedure regardless of which repair you and your vet choose for your dog. There is a long recovery for both surgeries. BOTH procedures have benefits and deficits. I am on a long road to recovery with my girl, but I am confident that the ultimate result will be the best I can possibly provide for her. Please don’t be scared off by the failure stories that you hear. This site has a large collection of dogs that had complications, but does not give a true cross section of dogs that have had the surgery. There are no postings from anyone whose surgery has been successful and ALL surgery has risks. There is no “safe” choice for a cruciate ligament repair. You need to do research from trustworthy sites and work with your veterinarian to make sure that you feel you have sufficient knowledge to make an informed decision. Get a second opinion. Then get a third. However many it takes until you are sure about your decision. Remember, you can’t take it back.

  11. Ashley March 10, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    My Lab/Pit Bull mix had a TPLO performed on his left leg last April. The only setbacks he experienced was from his own self-mutilation. He somehow figured out how to bend the E-Collar and chewed his sutures out twice. His incision became infected and the surgeon had him stay at the vet for 2 weeks on antibiotics, leaving the incision open to drain. Once this healed over, the recovery period went just as planned and he healed excellent and was back to rough-housing and playing and jumping and running like usual. I was very pleased. However, last week (almost a yr later), he became lame on his other leg, and the surgeon determined it was a tear in his right ACL. Keeping in mind that before his repair last yr, the surgeon informed us that it is a 50% chance that once a dog tears one ACL, it usually tears the other due to favoring the affected leg. He underwent surgery a couple days ago and so far things are going as expected. This time, we know he has to wear a bite-not collar (neck brace type collar) instead of an E-collar so he does not get to his sutures. Hopefully all will go just as well with this recovery as last years.

  12. Rebecca Anastasio April 15, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    We have gone through several ACL repair surgeries for our dogs over the past 20 years, with mixed experiences and results. One important thing to note is that bad infections can occur with any surgery, no matter what procedure is used. One of our dogs had the tightrope procedure and ended up with a bad staph infection in the joint that nearly killed him. Fortunately, he was an amazingly tough old dog (her tore his ACL roughhousing with a much younger dog at the age of 14!) and pulled through, but the joint never recovered fully due to the amount of scar tissue and adhesions caused by the infection. We recently had a dog who underwent the TPLO procedure (because she is an agility dog) and have had no complications with it. It is good to be fully informed, but “You pays you money and you takes your chances” no matter what.

  13. Donna July 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    My 11 year old Australian Shepherd had TPLO surgery a little over four weeks ago. I carefully researched my options and sought a second opinion. I was not only concerned about what type of procedure was best to repair the torn ligament but also about the age of my dog. After gathering all my information and thinking long and hard about what would be best for my dear buddy, I finally decided that the risks of TPLO surgery were worth what the possible outcome could be, which was no longer be lame! It was terrible to see him struggle and be in so much pain to just get around the house. I felt he deserved the chance to walk again and enjoy life. We ran all the tests to make sure he was healthy enough for the surgery. I had the best and most experienced surgeon in the state do the surgery. My boy came home the second day after the surgery and he had a very rough night. It was very hard to see him in so upset and in pain and not be able to take it away. After that long and emotional night he has been very calm and content. I have kept him crated or on a short leash by my side. Progress is slow, but I am very pleased that he is now walking on a short leash, unassisted, and is off all medications. We do brief walks around the yard 3 to 4 times a day. It is great to see him walk again with no limp or visible pain! In fact, I just came back from the vet and the x-ray shows that the bone is already healing! I will continue to crate and have him on a short leash at all times and continue with no stairs. I want to make sure the bone completely heals with no complications. I know it is agonizing trying to decide what is best for your beloved dog when they have torn their ACL. There are always risks with surgery no matter what. I suggest that after all your research and information gathering do what feels right and if you have doubts about the type of procedure you are looking at doing to not go through with it. I had to have a peaceful feeling first before putting my best buddy through such an extensive surgery and know that no matter how it turned out that I would not regret it or look back. Beat of luck.

  14. Alix August 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Our 7 yr old female Rotweiller/Lab/? mix tore her left rear cruciate back in June. We went to a Vet specialty practice where each of the surgeons performs 10 TPLO’s per week, so apx. 20 for the practice. They are very highly recommended by all the vets in the metro area and have a full company of specialists.

    Sugery was August 4th. She stayed there 2 nights before coming home. End of week one we were really impressed with her progress, and taking every precaution to keep her inactive, but she seemed to feel great and was not interested in her incision. Week 2 she was keeping us up all night, unable to settle down, so they thought she might be experiencing medication induced anxiety and prescribed a sedative. Two days later she was obsessed with the incision and during the night somehow managed to get the collar off. I was sleeping in the same room but didn’t wake up until I heard the licking. The top three stitches were out and lower down one staple. We rushed her in first thing AM. They decided the problem was an infection that had set in and needed to drain (which had probably been causing all the restlessness–rather than anxiety,) so left the quarter-sized wound open and exposed and ran cultures to determine the bacteria we were dealing with. The wound oozed slime and smelled like a rotting carcass. Really nasty. Started Batril and Ampicillin. Two days later the wound had opened to a gaping space above the knee (maybe 3 inches long) and the skin was getting caught on things. Rushed her back in. Surgeon said the skin was so infected that the sutures were just collapsing. The 1st cultures weren’t back yet, but they decided to pack the wound and have us return every day to have the wound cleaned and re-packed. Next day the culture results showed a very rare bacteria that would respond to Batril but not the Ampicillin, so stopped the Amp. After one week of daily repacking (we took her back and forth each morning & lunch) surgery was done on Friday to insert a drain. We had to measure, describe, and empty the drain fluid twice a day and continue the medications for pain, antibiotics, help in sleeping, and thyroid (which she already had.) The drain was supposed to be removed the following Tuesday (5 days later.) When we went in on Friday the 2nd culture results had come back and she had two exceedingly rare bacterial infections (which the “never see”) and also a staff infection. (Our house is clean and we did everything possible to keep her protected, so I’m stumped!) The drain stayed in and we are back to measuring, etc. for another week, now with 3 antibiotics (restared the Ampicillin, contined the Batril, and added a 3rd to treat the Staff.) Now we also have to don gloves to protect ourselves from the staff infection. She is really hurting when the pain killers wear off. Hopefully, this coming Friday (August 27th–4 weeks post-op) we will finally be able to remove the drain. I’m hoping the sutures are healing. The 3rd antibiotic can cause renal failure and other horrid side-effects. There is no doubt that the metal plate will come out (as soon as the bones heal)–hopefully in another 4-6 weeks. The stress this has caused to all of us and to our poor canine friend almost impossible to describe. We are all exhausted. We could barely afford the inital $3200.00 (plus sundries) and thought and prayed hard about whether to “bit the bullet” and proceed. At this point we are approaching $5000.00 (even with the surgeon writing off the last procedure to place the drain, which would normally run just over $1000.00 by itself.) I have had severe regrets and wish we had gone with a different option (even though we were told TPLO was the only thing that would work for a 90lb. dog, and that doing nothing would leave her in pain, lame in that leg, and with severe arthritis.) She would probably opt for that over what she’s been going through. At least she could walk around the block with me rather than being confined. As extreme as it sounds, I think with an amputation she would have been well and running around within 2-3 weeks, but I didnt’ want to consider that in case the other leg went out. Now, if the 2nd leg goes we will not be able to afford the treatment (and with a 50%+ chance that it will.) She has had 4 weeks of misery and delay in her healing. It is heart wrenching to make these choices and had things gone smoothly I’m sure we would feel differently. If you can’t afford the treatment for the complications, don’t do the surgery, because you never know… I’ve seen a leg brace advertsed on the internet for around $300.00 (custom fit) and if the other goes I may try that instead.

    • alix January 12, 2011 at 6:18 am #

      Jessie is now 6 mos post op and running with the bike and bounding in the snow. Her recovery was delayed 45 days due to the deep resistant infections we fought, but she seems to be back to her pre-injury state. She has not yet ruptured the 2nd ligament and we pray she doesn’t. Should it happen I will try another option than TPLO, but the vet and surgical specialists had all indicated it was the only true option for a Rottweiler. Our total cost was over 5000. And the orthopaedic vet wrote off about 500. During the infection phase, so it would have been closer to 6000.00. You really cannot count on the 2700 to 3000 estimates as drugs and follow up procedures add up. We did not do physical therapy, but eased into walking and regular exercise and that has worked just fine. Hope this helps and best of luck to you all.

  15. Lesa August 29, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    Hi! I am a vet tech in orthopedic surgery and I have a dog who had a TTA surgery on one leg and we had to go back in arthroscopically a couple months later for a meniscal tear, and then an extracap(lateral suture) surgery on the other leg about 6 months after that! The extracap failed due to streching of the filament they used in his knee but we are now 2 years out almost and he is doing great! Even with the failed extracap! You’d never know he had anything wrong with either leg! We recently had another dog have a TPLO surgery back in May which he has done incredibly well from. He did get a staph infection at the suture site probably from licking at the incision. Don’t ever think you can trust your dog! It was almost 2 weeks after his surgery and his incision looked pretty well healed and we left his e-collar off. Thats all it took. He spent 2 months trying to clear up the infection and it was during this time that he tore his cruciate in his other leg. He just had another TPLO on his other leg 12 days ago. That leg is not healing as well as the first one, probably from all of the antibiotics he has been on for so long and he has also developed a good sized seroma but he is using it well. We have a rehab ice machine and we have been icing his leg a few times a day since day 1 and we are now also applying hot compresses for the fluid seroma. It makes an incredible difference in recovery! I have had pretty good experiences with all of the surgeries my dogs have had. Originally I thought TTAs were the better choice but now I lean more towards TPLOs even though they are more invasive, they do not seem to alter the conformation of the leg as drastically as TTAs and you run less risk of meniscal injury post TPLO as opposed to post TTA. So far, I am very happy with all 4 knees!

  16. Sue September 4, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    When considering the tight-rope be sure that you go to a vet that is experienced and does them often. Not all dogs are candidates for the tight-rope. Be sure that the vet checks the slope of the tibial plateau, if it is too steep tight-rope is not an option.

  17. Deborah N September 10, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    my one year old rottweiler puppy has double ccl tears. her radiographs revealed she has hip dysplasia, bilateral femoral varus, and MPL on her left leg. Due to the 16-20 degree femoral varus TPLO is not a good option and TTA might work but it may necessitate correction via a closing or opening wedge ostectomy/oteotomy; Not a good prognosis for such a young puppy. the cost is between 2800-3200 for the surgery… post op follow up could be as much as 3000 and then the added cost of rehab… with the underwater treadmill. That is PER Knee. I don’t know of many who have about $12k to spend on surgery and then more on rehab. oh.. and then future $10 for hip replacement. I love my puppy.. but I do not have that type of extra money.

    I have reached the heart breaking decision that I may have to put her down. so in the meantime I am on a quest to send blood samples for genetic research to help all canine owners.. It is afterall not an atheltic injury as in humans.. but a genetic disease.

    University of Minnesota is doing a clinical trial for CCLr in large breed dogs. Please send them some of your dog’s blood. Help me help make my puppy’s short life have meaning. Help me to help researchers to map the gene and create a way to screen for this disease… so no more owners have to go through this too.

  18. Shawnn F September 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    Oh my goodness! I have an 18 month old lab that is currently at an animal hospital recovering from TPLO surgery. We are on day 3….I have not seen my Zeke since the surgery but he was scheduled to come home today and they decided to keep him one more night due to some swelling. I have been told that he is doing excellent and walking on all 4 legs since the day of surgery. I did my research and had decided to go with the tightrope until one week after his left knee blew out his right knee went too! The vet recommended that he definitely have the TPLO with his weight and having both legs out at the same time. I am horrified by all of these sad stories. My Zeke is scheduled to have his 2nd TPLO in another 6 weeks provided this 1st surgery is a success. I have this empty place in my heart since he has been away from home, and I just pray that all of this is for the good! I agree that there seemed to be possible risks involved with either surgery. I just hope that we made the right decision. Our Zeke is part of the family, and he has many years of life left in him……we hope!

  19. Kelly O September 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    My dog (border collie/rotweiller mix) is 2.5 years old and we had TPLO surgery August 5, 2010. She doesn’t do well with confinement (she’s a pound adoptee) so we had to keep her in the house and as still as possible. Within no time she was RUNNING…not a good thing but she was severely depressed in a pen…so we left her loose in the house but tried to keep her activity to a minimum. She is 6 weeks post-op and her xrays were great…she is released for regular activity (which she is already doing for weeks now). I know we were supposed to keep her still…but 2 weeks after surgery she figured out a 3 legged trot and there was nothing we could do. During the first week I iced her leg when I saw even the slightest swelling..7 days after surgery she was off all meds…10 days post-op the doc was shocked at well she was doing….walking on the leg like she never had surgery (he was very concerned about her activity level but I figured she knew her limits). She needs to have the other leg done…he said she can do it beginning of October….but I am leery and I will probably change it to a later date to give her more healing time.

    Both legs were bad…she has rotweiller legs….37% tibial angle, torn CCL, and meniscus. I know how it probably happened…she always runs full blast then stops short. She probably messed up her knees doing that. Either way she did well with surgery and was back to normal quickly…to quickly…but what can you do?

    • emily May 16, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      Hi, My american bulldog just had his first TPLO 10 days ago. I am also super concerned with his over-activity. He is the crate when we are not home, but when we take him out he tries running. If I take my eyes off him for ones second, he is on the couch. He doesn’t seem at all phased by the surgery and was walking the same on the leg when he came home after the surgery as he did before. His other leg also needs the TPLO, but I’m worried about having it done too soon also. My main concern at this point is that he has shifted the bone angles, something I can’t know for certain without x-rays. I know you aren’t a doctor, but from what you went through with your doctor, would you spend the extra $200 or so for more x-rays? or wait 4 more weeks to get them as suggested by my vet?

      • Terri May 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

        I would wait a couple of weeks before you had your dog xrayed., you really really need to keep him calm as much as possible my golden had to have one of his legs redone because all the scres came loose and the plate was being held by one screw., he hurt himself comming out of swimming rehab. DO NOT do the second tplo until the first one is totally healed we did both at the same time HUGE mistake., whatever it takes to keep him as calm as possible., some dogs just want to please and they will run and jump thru the pain., the first 8 weeks is the crucial time!!!!

      • Holly May 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

        The dog should be confined even when you are home. It is too easy for them to injure themselves even walking right after surgery. I did both sides on one of my Newfoundlands with great success on both sides. It might seem mean to keep them crated all the time, but its far less mean than having them go through another surgery!

  20. HolliB September 19, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    My girl had a failed TPLO surgery which has caused her hock to deteriorate and hyperextend. Her surgery leg causes her great misery. Her other knee now needs surgery and I will definately not put her through another TPLO. I am now considering a brace which sounds like a much better option! If you are considering doing the TPLO surgery, think twice. This one decision has caused us LOTS of misery!

  21. Mindi November 5, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    My boxer had a TPLO 2 weeks ago. It cost me 4500.00 at Gulf Coast Vetinary Sevices in Houston, Texas. We followed every post operative instruction and he did not leave his crate without a short leash. He only went out to potty. About 3 days after surgery his leg looked weird and he was crying more often. We took him in and the implant had failed. 2 screws broke and 1 backed out. He had to have a revision surgery and it was 3000.00. We are now 1 week out and he has a soft cast. If you decide on the TPLO do everything you can to keep them inactive. I am against sedatives, but after this second surgery I have changed my mind. Please reply if anyone else has had an implant fail. I am thinking about contacting the manufacturer of the screws (Synthes) since they lasted less than a week.

  22. HollyK December 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    I have had experience with several TPLO’s, problem in my breed, and its a gaint at that. Recovery in this surgery is key, the dog just STAY OFF the leg, no matter how bad you feel for them. Walks to do their business and that is it! I use an smaller x-pen, its a bit wider than a kennel so they don’t have to twist so much to turn around. All types of surgeries have risks. Out of like 10 TPLO’s that I have had or know people that had them I know of 1 dog that had issues.

    • phyllis May 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      Exactly….You must adhere to the Doctor’s instructions to the tee. My rotti had a TPLO on his left hind leg 2 years ago which went perfectly. Two years later he had another on his right leg by the same Doctor. After five months he removed the plate and screws because Rocky was rejecting it Everything was going fine, Rocky healed and was running with enthusiasm when all of a sudden he started favoring the right leg. He has torn the ACL again. I can’t afford to take him back to the doctor that performed the surgery and took him to my local vet. She had decided to treat him conservatively with pain and anti inflammatory meds, accupuncture and physical therapy in water.
      I really liked the doctor and all I can say is he is only human and he did the best he could. You take the same chances when you go to the hospital for surgery. So please don’t blame the doctor there are a lot of variables when performing surgery on dogs or humans..

      • Cathy May 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

        Well, I believe that in some cases Doctor’s are to blame as I adhered to the instructions to a tee and I mean to a tee. Chief needed sedatives and he refused to give them to me. After the second surgery and with sedatives prescribed he healed with the same instructions regarding care. Nothing was different. This Doctor just refused to listen to me when I described how hyper active Chief is. Even my own vet after the fact said she would never have sent Chief home without sedatives even after a minor operation.
        I believe they remove the ACL when they perform a TPLO. At least that is the way it was explained to me. If this is the case I am not sure how it could get torn the second time. Perhaps this same surgeon explained it wrong. THAT WOULD BE THE SURGEON WHO SCREWED UP CHIEF’S FIRST OPERATION. Any chance you know this guy?

  23. Stacy December 19, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    I need to say a few things after reading all of the posts here.

    I am not sure where people are getting their info, but Tightrope is NOT for small inactive dogs. Small inactive dogs should not be getting surgical repair at all! THe rule of thumb is under 40 lbs to do conservative mamagement. Tightrope can be done with very large dogs (mine is 120 lbs and just had a double)

    If you do TTA or Tightrope and they fail you more times than not cannot repair. Tightrope had the same failure rate as the others and can actually be fixed if there is a failure. It is also MUCH easier on your pet as is is much less invasive.

    I suggest you all inform yourselves and talk to as many vets as possible before you make a decision. In the end it is your responsibility.

  24. Gene January 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    I hate to be revisiting this subject… but I’ve been forced to.

    My 3 yr old female Lab had, at the Vet’s recommendation, TPLO to both knees 2 years ago. She was 1 yrs old at the time. Injured one leg and while waiting for her surgery injured the other. Back to back operations, needless to say it was a nightmare for her and us, months of recovery.

    Good news is, 2 years later you’d never know she was injured. No issues, no problems.

    Last week my 18 month old Lab was slightly limping for maybe a full day and then it stopped. As a precaution we took him to be examined by the Dr. who did the TPLO’s on our female. Mind you… no limping now, no pain but just as a “precaution” he took x-rays. He told me the x-rays showed that the ligaments of BOTH legs were injured and he needed TPLO surgery on his left, preferably before a full tear and the right was soon to follow. No pain, no limping, no symptoms whatsoever… and since when did torn, injured ligaments start showing up on x-rays????

    I walked out of there shocked and saddened, did some research and now I’m just mad.

    This Vet, I believe, just needed to pay some bills at my boys expense!

    As a precaution I’ll keep him to leash walking only for the next 8+ weeks and then gradually allow him to run again.

    We’ve learned that some Vet’s are like attorneys… you’ve got to watch them AND manage them. They make a huge profit off the TPLO procedure.

    TPLO for my female turned out good… but having been through it, twice, it would not be my first choice next time.

  25. Liberty January 8, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    My lab had the TPLO, coming up on 3 weeks ago, on her right rear leg. Her left leg also has a tear in the ACL. I have not noticed any significant improvement in her walking/use of the leg, and sometimes now she won’t put weight on it at all. It seems like she’s going backwards in her recovery. She has been severly restricted in movement, because frankly, she has no desire to move, in and out for business, and the rest of the time, she rests.I’m wondering if this is now a sign of possible infection/rejection of the plates/screws?

  26. Ginny January 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    My 3 year old Labrador had a right sided TPLO last May. He had a rough recovery in that it seemed he frequently would improve and then take a step backwards the next day, etc. 8 months out he has muscle assymettry and the leg swivels, as in there is a lot of lateral motion in the knee which is worse when he walks slow. Luckily he does not seem to be in tremendous pain. We just saw the orthopedic surgeon again today and he is recommending the bone plate be removed as he feels the lateral motion we are seeing is due to weak muscles in the right hind leg. The procedure should not be as hard on him as the TPLO was, but of course, you hate for your pet to have to go through anesthesia, etc. In regards to previous posts, as many bad complications that can arise with this procedure, it is the best option for a large dog. They will develop much less arthrtitis and therefore have much less chronic pain as they age. Despite the hard 8 weeks we had and the upcoming two weeks post bone plate removal, I am still glad I had this procedore performed.

  27. Damian January 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    I can’t thank all of you enough for sharing all this TPLO surgery information as well as all of your experiences we feel so much more informed about making our decision for our dog now.

    Before reading all this information I was in the dark and could have been misguided easily.

    • Marie January 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

      I truly would recommend the “tight rope” method instead of the TPLO. The surgery procedure has been around long enough that they have gotten all of the kinks worked out.

      You can view some of the information on this procedure on the home page of my dog’s vet (http://www.warrenanimalclinic.com/wacstaff.html). The cost is still about $3,000 (although, in our case, this might’ve been because they had to fix the botched TPLO). There are many vets that do the “tight rope” procedure, but I can honestly say that my dog’s most favorite vet does it best (thank you Dr. Lanier!!). Just today, Lola was zoom-zooming around in our 12 inches of snow. I never thought I’d see that again! Good luck with your surgical decision. Trust your gut…but please please please be cautious on the TPLO. It’s a horrid operation.

  28. Rebecca Anastasio January 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Physical therapy following any cruciate ligament is critical for a full recovery in order to keep the ligaments supple and to rebuild muscle mass and strengthen the joint. If you go online you can probably find someone near you (even your vet) who can help you set up a PT program for your dog. Swimming, BTW, is great exercise for recovery.

    • Marie January 11, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      So what I did for my dog (since we don’t have any bodies of water nearby where she could swim) was I bought a Rubbermaid 100 gallon water trough, filled it with water, and put a swimming vest on Lola so she could not feel freaked by the water level (she actually could touch bottom, but the cooling effect of the water really helped). I would recommend making sure to have some type of sanitizer in the water (we used one of those Bromine floaters which are designed for hot tubs…this will keep anything from growing in the tank). If I had to do it over again, I probably would’ve gone with the larger water trough/tank so it would be a little deeper (probably the 155 gallon tank would’ve worked better). Gander Mountain has great water vests for dogs for around $30. The cost is still relatively affordable compared to a session at the canine PT (the water treadmill was running about $50 a session), the 100 gallon tank only ran me $80 from the farm bureau (a 155 gallon tank costs about $162 at http://www.gototanks.com/155-Gallon-Open-Top-Stock-Tank.aspx).

      • Marie January 11, 2011 at 9:21 am #

        By the way, keep sessions short. We started out with 5 minute sessions and worked up to 12 minutes.

  29. Gene January 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Ginny, I’d love to see the studies that support this statement. Do you have a link or a reference for us????

    “In regards to previous posts, as many bad complications that can arise with this procedure, it is the best option for a large dog. They will develop much less arthrtitis and therefore have much less chronic pain as they age.”

  30. Sherri January 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm #

    I don’t think you can make a blanket statement that TPLO is THE best option for the large dog. It totally depends on the dog and other options can and do have comparable results.

    I posted on this thread way back. My second dog with a torn acl, a 100+ pound rottweiler, is now more then a year post op having had the traditional extracapsular lateral repair. Post op went superb, we followed directions to a T and he is and has been almost perfect on that leg. Only someone familiar with these ACL dogs would know that he ever had a problem or had surgery. The first dog, 45 pounds, also had the lateral extracapsular repair done. Neither ever had any complications, they healed quickly, muscled out well, had full use of the leg, and never showed any signs of on going discomfort.

    Yes complications can and do happen with any surgery but when you are talking about chopping up a dogs leg bone and then screwing and plating the whole mess back together the complications that can come out of that can be horrendous and even lead to loss of the limb or life. For me, I can’t see taking those risks when there are other options.

  31. Shawnn F January 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    I posted back in September about my lab having TPLO. It was definitely a huge undertaking and expense and I still question if we made the right decision…my lab tore both rear CCL’s within one week of each other. We only had surgery on one knee and after seeing what our lab has gone through we have decided against any further surgeries at this time. Our Zeke’s other torn CCL seemed to heal while he was recovering from his TPLO surgery. Zeke is currently running and playing again 4 months post-op. It was a long road and we still have setbacks that come and go….no real explanation. I highly advise that you get all of the aftercare costs and med costs. Our original bill of $2700 ended up in the end thus far at probably $5000 once you consider all the meds for setbacks and all of the additional xrays. It is possible that our Zeke’s surgery was a complete success but only time will tell. Now we have to hope and pray that his other knee isn’t reinjured because I don’t think we want to endure another surgery! Good luck to you all!

  32. Sherri January 12, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    One comment I have heard a lot in the last couple of years since I’ve been dealing with my own two dogs surgeries is “the orthopedic surgeon said TPLO was the best way to go”. Please people, keep in mind that TPLO is a huge cash cow to these vets. If they are going to spend x amount of time in surgery of course they are going to suggest the most expensive one!

    Sorry to say just I do not see very many of these vets doing what’s best for each individual dog. What I have seen are too many McTPLO clinic’s where you can even get it done the same day you have your initial consult. I have watched every dog ahead of me get scheduled for TPLO. On two occasions I was spoken too very rudely by two different vets when I simply asked to have the other options/procedures explained to me. One of them even told me that the extracapsular lateral repair was foolish to even consider and “never” worked! Interestingly it’s worked beautifully on my two dogs.

    There was also heavy pressure to schedule before I left the office and when I didn’t they called me daily until I got mad and told them after all this behavior I would never be back in their office for anything.

    My point is, educate yourself, be as informed as you can so you can make the best decision for your dog. An honest vet will be happy to discuss all options, pro’s and con’s with you.

    • Revalix January 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

      I did talk to my vet (same TPLO story), spent many hours of research on the web and then saw the surgury center folks. All gave the same story and made me feel like a creep for even considering anything less than TPLO. I am glad to hear the extrascapular has had good results and will try that if we have a next time.

  33. Rebecca Anastasio January 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    I really pays to know your vet and your surgeon. I was lucky with mine — we had extensive discussion, including the options of very limited interventions as she already had pretty severe arthritis in her hips and front legs. I think that together we made the best possible decision for my dog, and have had a good outcome. The only “complication” we had was that she managed to break her front right elbow (don’t know how, she was in her run) once she reached the end of her recuperation period. She has, however, also recovered from that after another surgery, 8 more weeks of doggy prison, and lots of PT.

  34. Marie January 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I agree with Rebecca. I know the motivations of my surgical vet…and it’s NOT a boat payment. He truly wanted to help fix my dog’s leg and to get her out of pain…and that’s exactly what he did.

    With regards to the first vet that botched the TPLO (Decatur Alabama surgical center), he made a comment like “we’re just going to shave a little of the bone off”…which was totally untrue. What should’ve been said is that they are going to cut through the bone, move the piece down, put some screws through it so we can change the angle on the leg. If I had only known, I could’ve saved my dog so much pain.

    Comparatively, the tightrope was a cinch. My dog was up the next day and was released to full activity within a month (unusual, but she was doing so well, the vet thought it was okay to do so).

    For those of you using the old fashioned surgery, many of my friends have utilized that surgery in their dogs and they have done marvelously. I agree that the TPLO is the new kid on the block and it is a cash cow to those vets whose primary interest is how much money they can make in a year. I now tend to utilize the older vets since their motivations seem to be more pure. Good luck to all of you. Do the gut check and if it feels wrong (or pressured) remember, “when in doubt, don’t”.

    • Terri February 16, 2011 at 8:45 am #

      My dog is getting ready to go to Dr. Milton outside of Birmingham, he is having to have his left leg tplo surgery repaired from his first botched surgery at another vets office in Nashville, Tn, could you give me any feedback., if this is the same office I have only heard good things about the vet. My dog is a 6 yr old english cream retriever and like everyone on this site, he is our baby, thank you

  35. Jason February 23, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    I stopped by here doing some research and I am very sorry for all the trauma many of the TPLO patients here have had. That makes me sad. However, I felt it important to indicate that Magnum, my 100ish lb Rottweiler has had the TPLO surgery on his right leg with great success. Recovery went exactly as the vet stated and the biggest issue was keeping him calm for 8 to 12 weeks; he has a little separation anxiety and gets excited when I come home from work and of course a strong prey drive and wants to meet all the cats in the neighborhood. He also loves playing with the neighbors dog. But all in all, it went very well and he uses it as if there is no issue. Now I need to get his left leg done. As another writer above stated, the breed size and activity level is very important to take into consideration when deciding between TPLO and tightrope. In my case, he is heavy and active and there pretty much isn’t another option. I do not relish the recovery or expense, but we do what we do because we love them. I hope this post helps someone. There are success stories.

    • Jason April 19, 2011 at 6:50 am #

      Update: Magnum has had his second TPLO. This surgeon did an even better job it seems than the last one. We are on week 7 of his recovery and next week should be the doctor visit for checking it. He doesn’t act like he has had any surgery and wants to run and jump and play like he is a new puppy. If anything changes, I will update again. Cheers.

  36. inny February 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    In reply to Gene. No definitive articles or published studies reporting TPLO is the best option for a large breeds, but about 15 years of small animal practice in which I have seen a very large number of severely arthritic large breed dogs with standard cruciate repairs and thick knees. Not much can be done for these pets but pain control and joint supplements, etc. On the other side, my older pets with TPLO surgical repairs seem to have fewer complications once the pet has healed and they certainly don’t come in with as many pain issues later In Life from what I can tell. This is just my clinical experience in a very busy practice, all clients should do their research but any surgery has potential risk and the possibility of failure.

    • Bev Cummins February 24, 2011 at 3:50 am #

      I am writing out of the UK..and just wanted to post my comment regards TPLO. I have a labrador who at 12 months old started to limp on his right leg. Following checks with the vet surgeon (Specialist), we were advised that the best way to go was TPLO. Problem also escalating as at the same time we were told that is left leg following x-rays seemed to be in a worse state than the limping left!!..we were mortified, as my pup was and is my world…After much deliberation we decided to go with the TPLO on his right, and was hoping surgery to his left wouldnt be necessary until the first leg was at least healed. Nothing is ever that simple, as four weeks post op to his first surgery, the other leg pretty much followed. How could this happen to a 12 month old perfectly healthy labrador of 34lbs, perfect weight for his build? All in the genetics of breeding i am sure!!..So I now have a PUP 4 weeks out of first TPLO, going back to have a second TPLO. This was a truly upsetting time for all of us, however i must say that following both surgerys so close to each other my dog seemed to be pain free, and walking better on both legs as each day went by. For 12 months i was perfectly happy with my decision to go TPLO, no infections,and pain disappearing days after the Op’s, my pup seeming to be back to near normal. The following year (2 yrs old)..he began limping on his original right leg again…i felt physically sick, albeit he didnt appear to be in any pain, but there was a clicking noise that came back when he walked…he was always restricted to leash following these Op’s. I took him back to the Surgeon who suggested he go back in to take a look, and maybe remove the screws and plates, as these would have now served their purpose as the bone was healed. This was now the third op, and was sure i wouldnt put him through anything more, however i was assured this surgery was nothing like the original TPLO’s. All seemed to have gone well, and recovery was pretty instant. We are however now left with him not fully weight bearing on this leg. He does walk with it no problem, but stands to one side. He is now 3, and dare not take him back for a fourth time. He has one leg with plates and screws, and one without, and as long as my boy is free of pain, and is as happy as he is, then so am i. I would however appreciate any advice on future rehabilitation to help him back to fully weight bear on this leg, and other than the daily supplements geeen lip mussel, fresh fish, collagen etc i already give him. He is very fit, and all muscle is fully regained in both his legs. TPLO seems to have worked for us, however, for how long i am not sure…i worry everyday that he may become lame again….and would do anything to avoid this. PPs Total costs in the UK for both these surgerys including follow ups..in excess of £7000…but my boy is worth every penny! I would spend it again!!I do believe breeding genetics play a huge part in these problems..i maybe wrong, but would love to hear what anybode else believes.

  37. Marie June 15, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    So we just recently had to do another ACL repair (Lola’s third now, the first was the botched TPLO on the right leg, the second was the tight rope on the right leg to fix the botched TPLO), then Lola tore her left ACL about two week’s ago. I called our orthopedic vet (Dr. Richard Lanier at Warren Animal Hospital in Warren, Michigan) and he was able to pull a surgical team together for us so we could have the tight rope surgery done over Memorial Day weekend. This has been a hard transition because the initial surgery on the right (the botched TPLO done by the Decatur Surgical Center, Decatur, AL) had not been put together well, so even with the tight rope fix, it was not 100% stable. So now her bad leg was her good leg and she was having to use it more. One of the side effects of TPLOs too is bone spurs…so Lola has a bone spur in that right leg [which makes it a little more tender to walk on], but the data shows to leave that alone since removing it doesn’t mean it won’t come back again.

    Anyways, I am happy to say that Lola is doing well. We are alot more cautious on her rehab protocol now that she’s on two repaired legs (we are using the protocol in Appendix 4 of the “Canine Rehab Physical Therapy” book written by Millis, Levin and Taylor).

    It’s two week’s post left leg surgery and she is finally able to walk around the big block to do her “business”. Thank you Dr. Lanier and your wonderful surgical team for taking care of Lola. She has two more weeks before she can return to her pet therapy routine at the Millennium nursing home. Her buddies cannot wait to see her!

  38. Marie July 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    So it’s now 7 weeks since Lola’s left tightrope surgery and she is almost back to normal. We’ve been able to walk her a good bit and her right leg (on which she previously had a botched TPLO and a tightrope fix to the TPLO) has actually been strengthened due to her having the left side surgery done (see, there is a silver lining to every situation!!). So she no longer has the tetany (shaking) in her legs since both legs are much stronger. She still has a little rotation and a limp on the right side (due to the leg length discrepancy of the first [TPLO] surgery), but she is back to work as a pet therapy dog at the Millennium nursing home and is happy as can be. Yay!

    • Marie January 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

      So Lola did end up having a set-back after her third surgery. The meniscuses on both legs were torn (make sure that whoever does your CCL repair checks for mensical tears). This required one more surgery (University of Missouri vet school, Columbia, MO – Dr. Jimi Cook). He was able to fix both legs using a scope (MUCH LESS INVASIVE than a traditional meniscal repair!!). He also took out Lola’s TPLO hardware AND the tight rope hardware on her right leg (the initially botched leg). The surgery was done September 9th, 2011 (road tripped to Columbia, MO for about 2 days). The team at the Mizzou vet school were so absolutely awesome!! Dr. Jimi Cook is the inventor of the Tight Rope method (an alternate and less invasive repair instead of the TPLO). He, by far, is one of the most inventive surgeons I have ever met (which we totally needed since we had a funky right leg with bone missing, etc, on the TPLO side). Lola is now doing GREAT and is basically back to normal. We did underwater treadmill therapy for rehab so she now has nice even little glutes and is running around like a puppy again!!! YAAAAAAAY!!!

  39. Emily July 13, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    My dog is now three weeks out after TPLO, the only complication being on his second surgery and it was only severe bruising, which when put on an antibiotic went away almost immediately. I highly recommend TPLO. Not even half way into the second recovery phase and I already notice the change in my dog. He is his old self again, which I sadly haven’t seen in quite a while. It was expensive and a difficult time (because he wasn’t able to play, was very restricted and took a lot of medicine) but I am so glad we had the surgery. We were very fortunate that they both went so well, and that he is so young he could bounce back (just over 2 years old). If anyone has questions please don’t hesitate to comment. I know how many questions I had going into the procedure myself!

  40. Frances August 12, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    So I have two very active labs. My female tore her ACL at 4 and I was told that TPLO was the best surgery for her activity level and age. She is 2 years post TPLO and is better than ever. You would never know she had any problems. My male is another story however…He was 7 when he tore his ACL and based on the good experience from my girl, I had the TPLO surgery for him too. Every thing went well but 1 year later he is still “not right”. He is not in pain, he is very active, but still, just not right. After several vet visits they have determined that he may have some neurological damage.

    So bottom line is I acted on the advice of experts. I am not an expert. So I did the best that I can do and will likely second guess my decisions forever. Just like our own parents did the best that they can do, we can only do what we think is best for our dogs. So whatever decision you make, please try to cut yourself some slack. You (and I) are not perfect, and the experts are clearly not perfect. So do your research, ask your vets and surgeons, then make your decision and pray for the best outcome. Good luck to anyone who is going through this.

  41. beth August 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Thank you, Frances. So true and so well put. There is no such thing as a risk free surgery and any repair has the potential to go well or not. I spent months regretting a poor outcome with a TPLO and wishing I had chosen a traditional repair. I felt so guilty and horrified at what my poor boy was going through. And then a friend of mine had a poor outcome with a traditional repair. It made me realize that beating myself up was misplaced energy. Now, if we can only figure out why there seem to be so many dogs with CCL tears. That is the issue that seems to need addressing.

  42. Daisy October 1, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    We are in our 6th month of conservative management with our Rottie, we have given he all the usual supplements and regular injections of Carthrophen Vet (is not a pain killer ) We will be letting her off lead gradually over the coming months starting with a minute and slowly increasing. We have been swimming her which is great as she uses her back leg and it is helping to increase her range of movement, it is great as she can play fetch in the water without risk of re-injury.
    When we took our Rottie to the Vet, yes he wanted to operate on both legs, my worry with TPLO is that if you are altering the angle of the knee then it must effect the way the dog is walking and this must effect the spine, causing more problems, also if this op goes very wrong than the animal may have to have it’s hind leg amputated, dogs can do well without their front leg but a hind leg!

    • Trouble & Fly's Mom October 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

      Hi Daisy,
      I am so glad that your rottie is doing well with CM! My 105 pound Shiloh Shepherd made a complete recovery from her torn ACL without surgery!!!! She is about 2 1/2 years post ACL tear and you would never know that she had it torn in the first place!!!

      I lost two of my beloved canines when they developed osteosarcoma post TPLO surgeries. This is when the doctors were using implants that were not medical grade metal. The implants corroded into their tibias. The osteosarcoma that developed metastasized to their spines. Sadly, thousands of dollars and cancer treatments could do NOTHING to help them!!!! I wish to God I would have known about CM back then. (I lost them and a third dog in between these two all within 12 months of each other.

      And by the way, my Trouble (shep/husky) DID have to have his leg amputated. It was his rear left leg….. and he got around just fine….. the only thing is that he needed some support going up steps, but he could go down them just fine. The very aggressive plate related cancer (as the surgeons called it) took his life four months post amputation. God I miss him!!!

      So glad again your rottie is doing well!!!

      Trouble & Fly’s mom

  43. JennB January 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    I have a 3 1/2 yr old, 100lbs male Rottie named Trigger. He tore his CCL and Meniscus and will be undergoing TPLO tomorrow. I am really nervous about this and have been doing so much research this week it is insane (I feel like I’m actually going crazy with this!). I really want what is best for him and with what has been said here it scares the shit out of me! I have also read amazing recovery stories and spoke to a few people who’ve had it too and everything went well (even 5-7 yrs later..). My main concern is bone cancer and other serious complications. I spoke to about 15 Vets in my region (Ottawa/Gatineau, Canada) and also a few other Vets in other cities in Canada and everyone recommended the TPLO since I have a bigger dog who’s active and often off-leash (camping, dogpark etc..) They all pretty much told me they weren’t comfortable doing the normal suture since there is a big chance it would break and he’d be back at square one..I was also told he would likely have more arthristis with the normal 1500$ procedure. I am in a way happy that they were honest and let me know they didn’t feel they’d have a successful job done (of course that right there eliminates me wanting to see them for that kind of procedure). As for the TPLO, there are only 2 specialist in our region, who’ve been doing it for over 10 yrs with a high success rate (the one who’s doing mine tomorrow is the only one who does ALL the clinics in my area–which is about 15 to 20 vet clinics). This is comforting, but it still doesn’t change that the TPLO procedure still has me a little concerned since it is so invasive compared to the other surgery. I’ve had elbow work done on my Rottie when he was 1 (non-cancer tumors) and they were done at the clinic I’m going to tomorrow and everything went well and I do trust them…so I really am hoping all goes well tomorrow, but I must say I’m really really sick to my stomach right now not knowing what to expect…in a way I wish I didn’t read all these bad stories (I am sorry to everyone who had to go through the rough patches, so sad!)..but on the other hand, I’m happy I’m going there informed. I must of called my vet 10 times this week with plenty of questions LOL. Oh well, find me annoying if you will..but I’m a mama who needs to watch out for her baby haha.

    I’ll let you guys know how things go.

    Wish us luck!

    Jenn

    • Trouble and Fly's mom January 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Hi Jenn,
      So sorry your Trigger has a torn ACL. If your dog’s ligament is NOT ruptured, you may wish to look into conservative management. Because my beloved Trouble and Fly BOTH developed cancer (osteosarcoma) after having the TPLOs done (and spending thousands of dollars could not save their lives!!!) I looked into CM when my 105 pound Shiloh Shepherd tore her ACL. Long story short: she made a complete remarkable recovery without surgery!!!! Her ex vet said this wouldn’t happen with a large dog. I had an orthopedic brace made which stabilized her knee, preventing it from having full range of motion so the ligament would not rupture, and then scar tissue formed to replace the ligament! You can see videos of my Kimber running around with her brace and two years later without the brace to see that it IS possible for a large dog to heal without surgery! And if you are concerned about it snapping when running, just put the brace on for rough activitiy!
      I wish to God I would have known about CM and braces for Trouble and Fly….
      Good luck. I wish you the best with Trigger. Here is a great site to learn the truth about ACL tears and procedures: tiggerpoz.com

    • Marie January 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      Hi Miss Jenn,

      I can totally relate to your situation. My experience with my dog Lola was not a good one with TPLO. If I could’ve done something differently, I would’ve had her leg fixed with the TIGHT ROPE instead. There are two vets that are absolutely wonderful with the tight rope method.
      1) Dr. Jimi Cook (the inventor of the Tight Rope method) at the University of Missouri Vet School in Columbia, MO is probably the best surgical vet I have EVER met. In fact, NASA had him operate on one of their astronaut chimps when he blew his CCL out (quite a successful operation too!). He helped Lola with her last surgery and also fixed her mensicuses via scope (both legs) and removed the TPLO hardware.
      2) The other vet who is wonderful is Dr. Richard Lanier at Warren Animal Clinic in Warren, MI. Lola had two tight rope methods done by him (one to fix her botched right leg and one to fix her left leg when it blew).

      The vet school at Missouri, though, probably will cost about 50% of what you would pay at a private vet. My Lola is now back to “normal” after 4 operations. Dr. Jimi Cook and Dr. Lanier helped her get there (and thank God for the pet insurance too!!). We were in Michigan last week and Lola ‘ZOOM ZOOMED’ for the first time in THREE YEARS!! I’m so glad the post-TPLO horror is finally over. I would’ve never put her through this if I had known how bad it was going to be. I’ll keep you and your pup in my prayers tonight.
      Marie (and Lola Bear)

    • Tony Tohme March 27, 2012 at 5:51 am #

      Hi Jenn,

      My Lab had both of her knees ligaments torned, and now is due for a surgery with Dr Philibert.

      Can you give me any suggestions pre and post ops?
      Which Hospital did you go throug? The Hospital I’m going with has quoted 3200$ per knee (1700 for surgery and the rest is others).

      How’s your dog doing now?

      Cheers

      • JennB March 27, 2012 at 9:12 am #

        Hi Tony Tohme,

        I must say that Dr. Philibert is great (I didn’t actually meet him in person since it was a almost $200 consultation), but he did answer all my questions over the phone. I went to my normal vet in Aylmer (Dr. Varney on Principal street). Trigger has been doing great! The operation went really well with no complications (he had his 2 months post-op last 2-3 weeks ago and it healed up really nicely). I obviously still need to be really careful with him, but the critical part is done and over with. I really followed Dr. Philiberts instructions (he will give you a list of everything that needs to be done week by week). Follow them carefully and you should be Ok. My only concern for you is that you have two being done at once..which will probably be much hard than it was for me since he only had one. Trigger got operated January 13th and is doing well with that knee, but has now torn his other knee (about 3 weeks ago) and is going for surgery next Wednesday (April 4th). I decided not to go with TPLO this time since it’s so expensive. Dr. Varney (my vet) will be doing “ExtraCapsular” on him with 120 lbs rope instead of the normal 80lbs rope they use for smaller dogs. he did tell me there are chances of it not working, but if I follow my dog closely post-op he should be ok. Since I’ve been through the post-op procedure once, I think I can handle it.

        I STRONGLY recommend you taking some time off work (at least 5 days) because the medications are intense! there is one medication you need to give every 12h, one medication you need to give every 8h and one medication you need to give every 24h ..only for the first few days…then you’ll need to give the 24h medication for 4 weeks. I must say the first week was the hardest, mentally and physically since you wantthe best for your baby and you need to support him (since they’re not small dogs you can just lift in your arms its not easy!). I don’t know if you see the “Support RX posting on the right side of your screen right now, but I bought it and it’s worth it! Contact TopDogHealth for information also, they have been sending me emails on what to do post-op every week and their staff answer quickly to any questions you might have..it’s a really good resource to have! I have also bought the GlycanAid-HA (pretty expensive, but worth it so far.. it’s 80$ for a bottle of 150 pills). Right now, I’m doing everything and anything I can to help my boy out. It’s really expensive, but worth it in the long run.

        As for the price you’re paying..wow, that’s a great deal! Dr. Philibert charged my clinic $2000 for just him and the rest was anesthesia, meds, xrays etc..so it came to be about $3500.
        The ExtraCapsular I’m doing next week is $1200 and it includes everything (tax, meds, xrays, anesthesia etc).

        I’m hoping ExtraCapsular works on my boy!! I really don’t want to have to go through this kind of thing ever again (mind you I have 2 other puppy Rotties and a Border Collie…so it could happen!)

        Good luck with your lab!

        PS. Pre-op…I just took him out for potty breaks in the park in front of my house and did not let him run and play with my other dogs. Also, I’ve heard to try and make them loose weight before the operation. My dog is actually 10lbs underweight, so this wasn’t an issue for me…but if your dog is a little on the heavier side, try and make him/her lose some weight before the OP.

        As for Post-op..once he’s done with his other knee, I’ll wait for the 2 months mark (critical time) to be done and over with and then I’m going to bring him camping so he can swim…swimming is apparently one of the best ways to get him back to shape without it being hard on his joints.

        All I can say is supervise, supervise and more supervise during the first few months..no jumping and playing and ALWAYS help him/her in stairs!

        Good luck! =)

        • Tony March 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

          Thanks jenn for the great info.
          One of the best investment I have done was getting the trupanion insurance, it covers 90% of all must cost and with additional benefits I bought they cover hydrotherapy.
          My lab shes a 1.5 years old and after considerable research I can say TPLO is the best method for her.
          Right now she is a bit in the heavy side and it’s hard to get her to Loose the weight because her mobility is limited she can barely go out for her business.
          My surgery is scheduled for the 13 th April for one leg and 8 weeks later for the other. I know shes gonna miss out on summer which really sucks.
          I feel good about dr philibert as I found few article about him from people who commend him and he seem to have the experience required.

          I will let you know how it goes and thanks again for the info.

          Cheers

  44. Emily January 13, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Jenn,

    I’m not going to sugarcoat watching your dog go through TPLO – it was terrible. I get upset thinking back to it. I will, however, say that after 8 months since my dog’s first TPLO (he had both legs done back to back) it was worth it. The first went well, no issues and my dog seemed to recover quickly, the second didn’t go as smooth. He got an infection and had serious swelling. My dog is all white so the bruising was absolutely horrifying (his leg was BLACK). After a trip to the vet for some antibiotics, and lots of heat on his ankle, he got better fairly quick, but I was exactly where you were.

    It’s scary and not easy. Your dog will need a lot of help and carrying a 100lb. dog around won’t be easy. But it’s worth it! My baby is like a new dog, running everywhere, a lot more agility and always a big smile. Before he would get tired extremely quickly and have to lay down at the dog park. Now he owns it.

    The first week will be the worst, but know that it WILL get easier and better. Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions, but this is worth it. I would also suggest, and I know this isn’t easy, but if you could take off as much time in the beginning of the surgery it will help you both a lot. Follow the rules your vet gives you and pray for the best. GOOD LUCK!

  45. Frances January 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    I have two labs that both went through TPLO. My first dog went through the surgery swimmingly the second was a little more troublesome but they are both doing ok now on the legs that were operated on.

    Emily is right, the first week is the absolute worst. The best advice on that is to get your house ready if you have not already. I had to turn my couches and chairs to the wall so that they would not be tempted to jump up on them. I also got a bunch of x-pens (borrowed mostly) rather than using a crate since they are larger. I also put the mattresses down on the floor and surrounded one with a x-pen so my make could still sleep with me at night.

    Not sure what kind of floors you have but once they get a little bit more freedom during the recovery road and are allowed to walk a bit, you want to make sure they do not slip. Home Depot sells peel and stick carpet tiles that I used to make a pathway for any open floor space between area rugs.

    Depending on how long Trigger is at the vet’s when he comes home he may still be woozy from the anesthesia. They get really anxious and can’t settle down so if you can leave him at the vet’s one ore more days that is very helpful. I know the inclination is “I want him home with me” but being in the care of professionals for an extra day is not a bad thing. Just make sure they know and agree to the rehab steps (icing and range of motion exercises).

    In terms of the bone cancer, (Full disclosure, I am NOT a vet but this is what my vet and the surgeon told me) when they first started doing these surgeries they used different hardware (plates and screws) and now most vets are using different materials that supposedly will minimize that risk. Not sure if it is true but having to dogs with titanium plates in there legs I want to believe it is true.

    It is a tough surgery but you and Trigger will get through it. After a few weeks, living a more confined and contained life with Trigger becomes the “new normal”. Just know that it will be better. Once day you will wake up and all will be right with the world again. Good luck to you and Trigger.

  46. JennB January 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Thank you all for your wonderful responses! I will respond to one at a time..

    Trouble and Fly’s Mom— I actually saw your clips on YouTube and commented on one of them saying that because of you, I wouldn’t get TPLO done (unfortunately, it wasn’t an option in my case and in my region), but I must admit, you clip on YouTube HORRIFIED me of TPLO !! Trigger has a full CCL tear and also had a full Meniscus tear so just letting him heal wouldn’t have worked (I tried to let him heal for 2 months and I think it made it worst..) Also, the website tiggerpoz, is the other BIG reason I didn’t want TPLO..I read all about it…once again, unfortunately, it couldn’t be an option for me =( . I am really sorry about your loss! I can only imagine how hurtful it must of been!! Can you tell me how long it took between the TPLO and the death to occur (and how old were they?). I believe you said they used metal for your operations? ..I asked my surgeon and he uses Surgical Stainless steel. He does about 300 operations a year (he is a mobile specialist just for that in our region) and he has only seen about 1% of cases come back with a problem (either infection, cancer or something of this sort). My normal vet (where the procedure was done) told me that all the operations he’s done at their clinic has always been a success and that they never had someone come back with a complaint…so much so, that people see him to do the 2nd leg for TPLO if need be. I am kind of reassured by that anyways! =)

    Emily— It must of been horrible to see your little one all bruised up, that’s horrible =(. So far, I only see one little bruise, but nothing more and the incision looks really good and clean so far! It will be EXTREMELY hard to carry my 100lbs boy (my back is already killing me and it’s only been 2-3 hours since we’ve been home LOL!, but he is worth the back breaking!!..he is sitting up and putting a LITTLE bit his foot down when he’s standing up so hopefully this week goes better than what you experienced.
    Also, I do not work on weekends (this is why I wanted to do it a Friday) and I will be working from home on Monday and Tuesday..back in the office on the Wednesday — I think just being home for all the Meds time will definitely help and be a little less stressful, because these meds are insane (I marked them in my cell calendar because there are so many to take at different times and doses!)…on Wednesday, he’ll only be on Matacam for the next 3 1/2 weeks once every 24h, so this will be EASY to do LOL. I am glad your baby had a good recovery and is now really playful and energetic..thank you for the wonderful encouragement! =). I’m really looking forward to the 8 week mark to ensure the bone has healed, and then to the 4month mark for him to be able to do a little bit more without pushing the limits!

    All in all, so far so good.. I know this is only the first day he’s back…but I was expecting WAY worst! I am taking mini vid-clips that I will post on YouTube if I figure out how that works (I never posted vids on youtube haha). I’ll share the links when they’re up =)

    Thank you all again for all the replies..it is much appreciated and so far, I really think I did the right choice going with the TPLO…wishing nothing bad comes out of it!

    Have a good night, weekend!

    Jenn

    Frances (that’s my Mom’s name :D ) — Glad your dogs are doing well today!! How long as it been since the operations?

    Trigger got his operation done this morning and I went to pick him up at 6:30 tonight! I could of left him at the Vets, but no-one is there during the night, so I’d rather have him here. He’s been GREAT!! I thought I’d cry seeing him tonight, but nope..my crying was this morning before the OP haha (I was balling my eyes out at the Vet when I left him this morning lol). He is really quiet right now, sleeping, resting and not too concerned about whats going on around him (except his treats of course– he remembers those!! haha), He’s doing A LOT better than I was expecting =). As for getting used to being confined with him..that won’t be a problem… he is a pretty quiet boy unless I bring him to the park, camping or any outdoor activities…other than that, he mostly just lies by my side until I make a move..he’s definitely a mama’s boy (he even sleeps giving me his paw..REALLY CUTE!) haha. — I have a BF, but the BF doesnt like to cuddle at night, so I’m fine with “cuddling” Trigger instead haha!. ..out of this whole ordeal, I think the worst part will be seing him not being able to play with the other dogs. We have 2 other female puppy (3months) Rotties and a 3 yr old Border Collie. The pups take Trigger like he was their dad (he’s not the dad)…so ya, that part of confinment will be hard, but needs to be done for at least a few weeks until his legs incisions healed at least…then I’ll let them be around with no playing outside..just a little “tug&pull” (lying down) with them inside the house under supervision =)

    • Trouble and Fly's mom January 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      Hi Jenn,
      I remember now that you had signed the youtube page. I hope you and Trigger are doing well. Hopefully, he will heal without any complications and be like a puppy soon. My Trouble was 6 and 7 when he had his TPLOs. He began to show complication when he was 10. It takes time for the metal implant to corrode, and because the vets don’t do follow up exams 3 years later, many don’t know that these dogs have developed osteosarcoma, or like my dogs, the vets misdiagnose and repeatedly tell people there’s no cancer….only arthritis. Anyway, three years after Trouble’s second TPLO is when he was diagnosed with cancer directly at the site of the implant. He had his leg amutated and died exactly four months later when the cancer had metastasized to his spine. When my Fly exhibited similar symptoms, I knew she had osteosarcoma, as she had the same non medical grade metal implant s (Slocum implants) as patented by the doctor who developed the TPLO Procedure. The doctors repeatedly told me she didn’t have cancer…only arthritis. Her implant had been in her for 5 years. She was 3 when she had her TPLO. Doctor number 5 could see the tumor on the original x-rays…. like Trouble, it was already in her spine. We took her to a vet school for chemo, radiation, and a bunch of other tests that they told us would give Fly 4-6 months to live…8 if we were lucky. So of course I handed my charge card for them to take about $3400.00 to buy her this time. Sadly, they neglected to tell us how large her tumor was and she died 35 days into treatment….. treatments that did absolutely nothing for her. So she died when she was 8. Had this facility been honest and ethical, they would have said the best treatment plan for Fly would have been to just keep her comfortable. But had they done this, they never would have made their thousands of dollars. Shame on them.
      Keep an eye on Trigger a few years from now. If he shows any signs of lameness, take him to a competent vet. It’s not just metal that can cause cancer but trauma to the bone…… and cutting the bone and screwing screws into it is a form of trauma. I wish you all the best for Trigger. Oh, by the way, my Fly had the traditional repair done first…. the nylon had loosened and her meniscus had torn which is why she had her TPLO. From what I know now, the only reason why a meniscus would have to be removed would be if it is causing pain. If there is no pain, no reason to remove it. My mother had a torn meniscus…. doctors did nothing and it healed on its own. There is actually more arthritis when the meniscus is removed…. there’s a purpose for the meniscus. Hopefully they .did the appropriate procedure for Trigger’s meniscus. I’ll keep him in my prayers for a complete safe recovery. In the future, you may consider having a brace made for any large dogs you have just to prevent a torn ACL. Best wishes to you both.

  47. Lucy January 14, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Jenn, you may wish to consider purchasing a sling or borrowing one from your vet. I got mine at “4 flags over Aspen” dot com, online. It makes getting in and out of vehicles a lot easier! ;-) You may find one at the pet shop. Tho my ordered one only took two days. I was so happy. I’d sort of fashioned one out of a remnant of fleece by folding it lengthwise, leaving the middle uncut, while creating 3 strips at each end to braid and knot together for handles. It worked, until I had the real deal.

    Anyway, it’s good to have your dog HOME, isn’t it? Expect this first week to be a bit difficult, but I’m sure you’re up to the job. I’ll keep him in my prayers for a full and safe recovery!

  48. JennB January 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Thank you for all of the information Trouble & Fly’s Mom! I am in a way relieved that your pups took years and not months to develop the cancer (I thought it was shortly after the TPLO that they were diagnosed)..I will for sure keep an eye out on my boy! So far, I think Trigger had bad genetics..he had to have surgery on his elbows when he was 1..he has a hernia..and now this. I will look into a brace for his other leg! As for my other pups Rotties..their parents are in good health with no sign of any problems, but will still keep an eye out for sure! and the Border Collie..I think he’ll be fine.
    As for my Vet, I think he is really good at what he does..He did not remove the meniscus, he only removed 50% (the damaged area) of the one that had issues ..and he did it with a scope which is A LOT better.
    I can’t believe your Vet took your $$ to TRY an heal her when they knew she wouldn’t make it….some people are really horrible, but they will get what they deserve someday!!!!
    Thank you for keeping Trigger in your prayers =). I must say..today was a bit harder than yesterday. He felt like being more active and it was harder to GO SLOW on the short leash to take him out for his business…Im hoping he didnt hurt himself doing it.He did rest for at least 97% of the day so at least that’s good! …how long did it take your dogs to be able to go out without support? How long did it take your dogs to be able to walk a little? ..I honestly am scared of going back to work on Wednesday (but don’t have a choice to go in because I have a deadline for a project)…but let me tell you, it’s been a 24/7 day job here taking care of Trigs…I barely slept last night, making sure he was OK (which is not like me, I normally sleep really deep ….I must have the “mom instinct” without being an actual Mom haha
    Should Trigger be able to walk slowly on his leg without support in the next week or two?

    Lucy— How long would I need the support for? If it’s only for a week, I think I’d rather stay with the towel since it has already cost me $3500 and don’t have much more $$ to put into this =(. If I would need to use the “towel” for another month..then I’d consider it, because I’m really breaking my back right now!!
    As for the first week being difficult, I can definitely understand that lol..only day 1 home and it’s been rough. I think it makes it harder in my case because my BF is working 16h shifts during the weekend and we have 3 others dogs (2 being only 3 month old pups)..I cannot neglect the other dogs, so it’s been really stressful trying to furfill everyone’s needs, but I’m doing it — with the help of my little sister who is 12 and accepted to come over for the weekend to give me a hand (God praise her! :) )

    I have a question for you guys.. last night when I brought Trigger home, he had a little bruise, but nothing major…. today, the bruise got a lot bigger! is this normal or something to worry about?? I called the hospital and they told me not to worry, it’s normal….but I’d rather speak to people who have lived this then people who only answer what the doc says, but the doc hasn’t really been home with the dogs to see the actual results!

    Thanks everyone once again for the great chats..looking forward on getting more info on what to expect (maybe I wont need to freak out on every little change lol)

    Jenn

    • Trouble & Fly's mom January 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

      Hi Jenn,

      I can’t believe your TPLO surgeon didn’t send you home with a sling!!!!!! What the hell is wrong with him?!!!! Both of my dogs were sent home with slings (of course I was billed for them) but the sling is easier than a towel.. I remember I used a towel for my paralyzed German Shepherd…. it was horrible on my back and arms.
      To be honest, I can’t remember how long I walked them with support….. it was probably for a few weeks. Did the facility send a list of home instructions with you? Don’t assume that he’s fine just because he has the desire to be run and be playful. That bone needs to heal…. it is better to be safe than sorry. Take it slowly with Trigger…..
      As for the bruising, just for your info, when my Fly had her traditional repair, she was sooooo bruised and swollen…. I was in contact with a homeopathic animal practitioner from Australia and she told me to give Fly the homeopathic remedy arnica. The arnica was amazing! Her swelling went down and the bruising was only there minimally. Hope Trigger does well. I’ll keep you both in my prayers.

    • Lucy January 15, 2012 at 2:36 am #

      I’m still using it for Stetson getting into the Jeep. I catch him under his belly with my arm getting out. His surgery was in August. For everyday walking, you don’t need it beyond the first week or so. The large unlined is only $19.00. Remember at first, I mentioned I’d made my own with the folded and braided fleece. It had a bit more give, but worked fine anyway. You could also find the stuff they make the straps with and machine sew a long “U” shape to the folded ends of your towel… thru all thicknesses. Look up the Quick Lift online so you have an idea.

      Like I said, I’m still using it for the vehicle. While, he is certainly “capable” of jumping in on his own, his muscles are not ready for that until after the fourth month. They may injure the soft tissue jumping in and set themselves back 6-8 weeks . Stetson had a soft tissue injury while tethered when a young woodchuck wandered alongside my shed looking to build himself a new home under it. For Raven, I only needed it about 4 months of vehicle entry.

      My dogs went to weekly hydrotherapy sessions, the underwater treadmill. So constant transportation was a must. I also opted to take them to locales such as the lake and nearby exercise parks for their walks. If you’re doing your walking in your immediate neighborhood, you’d only need it for the vet visits, I’m thinking. But they DO save your back. I’ve not regretted the investment, and I had 2 dogs to be hauled around like Mapes Moving and Storage!

    • Frances January 15, 2012 at 4:57 am #

      Hi Jenn,

      One of my dogs had the TPLO 3.5 years ago and she is still ok and cancer free. My vet, who does referrals does follow all the surgeons’s TPLO patients because both of his pets had TPLO. So he is just as concerned about cancer as I am.
      My other dog had the TPLO 2 years ago now and is still cancer free. He had some bruising, swelling, fluid collecting on his knee and some popping and clicking. They said I should not worry but I did and brought him back down to the ver at least once a week for the first 3 weeks because I was so paranoid. But 2 years later he is ok.

      I used a slip lead as a brace. Instead of putting the lead around his head, I slipped it around his hind quarters. So not sure where you live but look into freecycle.org. It is a place where people recycle stuff for free. Groups are formed in communitied all across teh US and UK (maybe elsewhere too). It allows you to post a “wanted” and people in the community will email you or post back if they have anything. I got some x-pens and crates through there all free then when I was done with them and I saw someone need them I gave them away. So you might be able to get someone to give you one they no longer need. I have even “loaned” stuff if I wanted to help but also wanted to get it back.

      Also, if you have not watched the video on this site for slow, controlled, leash walking, try it. I always thought I knew what that meant until I watched the video. I kept my dog on a short leash but once they start feeling better, they are back to lunging at squirrels and crows and whatever else attracts them. I am glad I found the video while my guy Chester was still recovering cause he is a big lunger and has never made peace with the crows in my yard!

      Good luck Jenn. You and Trigger are in my prayers.

  49. Trouble & Fly's mom January 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Hi Jenn,
    I just wrote you a message and it disappeared… so I’ll try to recap. I’m surprised your surgeon didn’t send you home with a sling for Trigger. Both Fly and Trouble had slings. I can’t remember exactly how long I helped support them but it was probably a few weeks. Remember you need to let that bone heal…… traumatizing it is not good! The facility I took Fly and Trouble to had given me a protocol of instructions as to when they could walk, physical therapy, etc.
    As for the bruising, when Fly had her traditional repair done, she was sooooo bruised and swollen. I had contacted a homeopathic animal practitioner in Australia and she told me to give her the homeopathic remedy arcnica. I did this and the next morning the selling was down and the bruising was minimal….. it was amazing!
    I know it is very stressful being a caregiver… but keep Trigger quiet. If you don’t have a crate, get a pen…it’s for his own good. I know you’ll take good care of him…. just be patient. I’ll keep you both in my prayers. Hang in there.

  50. JennB January 15, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Thank you everyone for the info! I will look into all of your suggestions =)

  51. Cathy February 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    My 104 lb, vey active 7 year old german shepherd had TPLO surgery, January 19,2012.

    I begged and pleaded for the surgeon to send him home with sedatives as Chief is like a kid with Attention Deficit Disorder. Always hyper and on the go. The type that would wear the lamp shade at a party so to speak. He has a wonderful personality and used to do nursing home visits. All that said he came home with pain killers and metacam. Next he developed an urinary infection and many messes were cleaned up. He was put on antibiotics.

    The surgeon called me on January 25 to tell me that the small tumour they had removed from his front leg was benign – note this has nothing to do with the TPLO surgery. The surgeon told me that day that he would look into giving Chief sedatives when he came in the following week for removal of his stitches. I told him that Chief was very hard to handle and was very hyper despite being on a leash, wearing a cone and a sling when going outside. Actually I was at wits end as I would have to grab his collar as he came out of his crate and try to settle down and prevent excessive movement. I work out 5 days a week and am very strong. Yet I was having a hard time controlling him. He was just so hyper. Even the pinch collar did not have much effect. He never fell and was not running and jumping but he would circle around almost in a panic attack while I was trying to stop him. That was today and I came home along.

    Chief has been readmitted to the hospital. They took x-rays and 3 of the screws have come loose. They will be operating tomorrow morning. I believe the surgeon said that the plate was in place. I really did not retain everything he said as I am so upset. The surgery has to be minor as the total cost is only $800.00 and that include the xrays and required sedation today to do the xrays, hospital stay for two days, and the surgery tomorrow. The only additional fee will be for the antibiotics he needs as his urinary infection is not cleared up.

    My initial surgery cost in total was close to $4000.00 all in. The house is so quiet tonight. Chief’s twin sister Justice and step brother Deputy Clyde are also very sad and keep looking for him. His younger step brother Judge is being kept by a friend. Chief just has to get better as he saved my life a few years ago and now I have to help him recover.

    • JennB February 2, 2012 at 6:52 am #

      Wow, that is really sad that he had complications =(

      I got my Rottie TPLO surgery done on January 13th 2012 and so far so good! The first days were very hard and he seemed to be sad (probably the meds), so I felt heartbroken seeing him like that, but NOW..omg..all he wants to do is run and play with our 3 other dogs! My only concern with him the first few days was that it took him about 5 days before going to do his business (#2′s)…the rest was fine, he ate well, slept well and interacted well. I brought him to the vet about 2 weeks ago to remove stitches and the Vet said all looked well. He is walking on his leg (since the first day) ..and I’m hoping that all goes well when we go for the 2months follow-up XRay on March 13th!

      Hope your little baby gets better soon!! Good luck!

      • Cathy February 2, 2012 at 11:31 am #

        Yes it was just my luck as my research on TPLO indicates that only 10 -15% of the surgeries have complications.
        I am waiting on the surgeon to call as his surgery was first thing this morning.
        Thanks for your response Jenn. I will keep you posted.

    • Alan February 2, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      My lab had same surgery they did same thing he rejected the implant and had to have it removed. The old corded repair is much better and the vet never mentioned options to us. Now after 4 surgerys my poor yellow lab has scars and the vets answer is well sometimes that happens .

      We were also never told that a ligament can heal on its own. Do not leave that plate in there have them wire it lesss complications sorrty to tell you all this but tpl surgery is just major income for the vets.

  52. JennB February 3, 2012 at 5:44 am #

    Good luck today Cathy!

    I think it all depends on your surgeon/Vet…for me the TPLO was my only option..I tried putting him on restricted exercise and on bed rest for a month and a half and he was only getting worst…so surgery it was. I called many clinics in my area and no-one felt comfortable doing the tight-rope procedure on my dog as he is a Large breed..I’m kind of happy they were honest about not feeling comfortable rather than do it and it fails or has major complications..

    The surgeon who did TPLO on my Trigger boy is a specialist in the departement..it’s ALL he does! and he’s been doing knee surgeries for over 20 yrs. He is actually the only specialist ALL the clinics in my region use! He was very good, answered all my questions, uses less invasive tools (this is why it cost me $2000 to have him), uses stainless steel surgecial plate/screws…anyways all in all he seemed to really know what he was doing! I spoke to my Vet (which I know very well) and he told me that he’s never had a dog come back for a complaint after a surgery with Dr. Philibert (the specialist). Anyways..I’m in the Ottawa/ Gatineau region in Canada and if any of you need TPLO surgery done…I really do recommend seeing Dr. Philibert!

    All this to say that I think recovery has a lot to do with how the surgeon did the surgery! So far, it’s only been 3 weeks since Trigger’s surgery, but everything has been going really well! His incision area healed well..and he’s been walking on it since the first day after the operation (of course I keep him on a tight tight leash)..but since the first week, he’s already been wanting to play and run around which is sad because I need to tell him No all the time LOL…

    I also decided to sign up (free) to Top Dog Health..you should really check it out. The staff there are very fast at responding to any questions you have! I also bought the joint pills: GlycanAid-HA. I’m not sure if it works yet (only started them about a week ago), but they seem to be really good from what I read. They are expensive, but if it can help my dog recovery better and faster and MAYBE prevent his other knee from tearing, I’m all down for trying the pills! ..

    Good luck everyone..it’s not an easy situation to be in when you love you baby so much and just want the best for him/her!

    • Cathy February 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

      Thanks for the response. Chief was done by a board certified surgeon at Alta Vista Animal Hospital in Ottawa. Philibert used to work there before going on his own. My quote for Phllibert was the same as Alta Vista. Both close to 4,000.00 including all drug, surgery, post op xrays, etc, etc. The surgery itself was probably around 2,000.00. My vet suggested Alta Vista due to the aftercare if needed as they are a 24/7 emergency and general practice clinic. I am not blaming the surgeon except that Chief should never have come home without sedatives to be used if needed and trust me they were needed. Chief has the human equivalent of attention deficit disorder. He is a wonderful dog and I have dealt with his disorder by keeping him properly exercised and thus tired. No problem with Chief as long as he gets lots of exercise.

      I spoke with several vets before making my decision. Philibert there was a 3 week wait before he could be done and my vet did not think he should wait that long. Alta Vista has 3 board certified surgeons on staff and all have great credentials.

      Chief is now home from his second surgery to repair the damage he caused to himself. The surgeon told me there was nothing I did wrong and could not have prevented this given his ADD, which by the way he now realizes the full extent of how bad it is. My own vet told me that she could not imagine sending Chief home from surgery without sedatives but then again she knows him well. My only regret is not that I was not assertive/aggressive enough . I should have refused to leave until given sedatives after the first surgery two weeks ago. Oh well guess I am still trying to blame myself. Anyways he is not sedated and is currently lying on his bed on the floor beside me sound
      asleep.

      He now has an external fixator on him and his leg is bandaged. This will give the leg more support which is good but it also means bandage changes every 3-4 days by my regular vet and yes another cost.

      To date I have spent:
      $185.00 – my vet – exam and blood work
      $3,700.00 – first surgery
      $95.00 – urinalysis and medication due to urinary infection
      $800.00 – second surgery
      $300.00 – 400.00 for culture urinary test as his infection did not clear entirely up with antibiotics given and pain killers and his sedative
      $27.00 – antibiotics
      More to come as not done yet and now already around $5,200.00. If all goes well this time I expect the total to be over $6,000 grand as still have to pay for bandage changes, more meds and final xrays. Might even be $6,500.00.

      He is worth it. I only want him to get better so we can start hiking on the ATV trails again and running through the bush behind where we live.

      I do have bad luck as Chief’s twin sister Justice also has a damaged ACL. Hers is only a partial tear and she will be operated on once Chief is further along in his recovery. Another $4,000 grand for her. She is mild mannered and I do not expect the same trouble but no way am I leaving the next time without sedatives just in case.

      Sorry this was so long. Thanks for reading. My advice is always verify that the surgeon is board certified for those in Ontario, Canada.

      Cathy

      • Trouble's Mom February 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

        Dear Cathy,

        I read your posts about Chief…. I am soooo sorry he had such terrible complications resulting from his TPLO. Not to scare you, but both of my Shepherds developed osteosarcoma (bone cancer) after their metal implants from their TPLOs corroded into their tibias. Thousands of dollars could not save their lives or my broken heart.

        I see that your Justic has a torn ACL. PLEASE…. look into conservative mangagement. My 105 pound Shiloh Shepherd tore her acl and I was NOT going to lose a third dog as from having an unnecessary TPLO. I had an orthopedic brace made for Kimber, did physical therapy, massage, water therapy, etc and YES….. SHE MADE A COMPLETE RECOVERY FROM HER TORN ACL WITHOUT ANY TYPE OF SURGERY!!!!!! It will be three years this May that she had torn it and she runs around like a wild girl! You’d never know that she had a torn ACL…. my regular vet wanted nothing to do with CM as he had his mind made up it wouldn’t work for a large dog. Well, Kimber is LIVING PROOF that a large dog may recuperate perfectly without surgery. Scar tissue formed to replace the ligament. You can see videos of Kimber with her brace while she was recuperating and without her brace (she only wore it for about 8 months. Just go to youtube and do a search for Kimber and conservative management. There is also a wonderful support group called “conservative management” at yahoogroups. There you will find lots of success cases and files to read. Thank God I did NOT listen to my vet for Kimber like I did for Trouble and Fly…. they would still be here had I known about CM. Best wishes to you and your pack.

  53. JennB February 4, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Oh wow! Well that is really ashame! I also called Alta Vista, but since Dr. Philibert was able to come the same week I called my vet (he was doing another TPLO at my Vet), I decided to get him done there. My dog is pretty quiet for the most part, but as soon as I pick up that leash..watch out! lol. He’s 100lbs so it’s not always easy to keep him quiet (plus I have 2 other Rotties and a Border Collie he’d LOVE to play with), but unfortunately for him…it won’t be anytime soon! I let them be together inside the house one at a time, but no playing (other than tug of war between toys which he lies down to do haha)
    I really hope Chief recovers well this time and pray that his 2nd leg is OK. Hope your other baby recovers well too when she gets it done!! You could maybe try “tight-rope” surgery with her instead of TPLO if she is less excited and weights under 70-80lbs..? If my boy ever has his left ACL tear, I’m likely going to do the tight rope surgery and his right leg should be strong enough to support it with the TPLO. The cost is SOOOOO much less..about $1000! Unfortunately not a lot of people want to do this procedure on my dog because he’s a larger breed, but I spoke to Dr. Philibert, and he is able to do it also…so I’d definitely want to go that route for the 2nd leg is ever it happens!

    BTW…your 2nd dog who needs to get TPLO..did you already bring her to the vet to get checked?? if not, you should call Pet insurance before going to the Vet…they’ll cover 80%!! ..my mistake is that I went to the Vet to get a diagnostic before calling pet insurance…I could of paid only about 800$ for TPLO instead of 3800$!!! lol…just a thought ;-)

    Good luck!

    • Lucy February 4, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      Wow. Cathy I am so sorry Chief ended up with so many sideline complications. That is rough. Tho I do know what it is to have to do surgeries on 2 dogs. Stets and Raven were 9 weeks apart with their surgeries… thanks to the monsoon season, prior to the eventual flood we had in our area. I hope your girl, Justice, has a better go of it.

      Stets had a post operative, woodchuck realted injury… yes he was tethered, and the bone was healed but even a soft tissue injury can set you back 6-8 weeks in therapy. Raven’s recovery was straight forward and uncomplicated. In fact, her thigh measurements are absolutely equal… 100% recovery!

      These are young active and athletically productive (agility) dogs. They love it so. Maybe they’ll be able to get back into it, mabe not. But whatever level… the dogs are worth the cost.

      Jenn, I agree the skill of the surgeon has a great deal to do with it. with both dogs, I had little to no swelling… at all. They had the less complicated and less gruesome TTO. They were on their feet and able to walk the next day. Glad Trigger is doing well!

    • Cathy February 5, 2012 at 9:17 am #

      Heh Jen,

      If I did not have bad luck I would not have any luck at all. Chief weighs now about 101 -103 since his surgeries but normally weighs in around 105 – 110 and his sister Justice is about the same. They come from big lines and are solid dogs. Ironic that Deputy Clyde is a year older (8), overweight (he does not exercise as much) despite being fed the same and he is showing no signs of arthritis, knee injuries,etc. He is healthy. I don’t know his background as I adopted him from a shelter at 1.5 yrs old. I guess one never knows why these things happen.

      I explored all my options and decided due to the size of the dogs that tight rope was not the way to go. No sure now after this experience.

      Yes, Justice has already been assessed. I self insured my dogs when they were puppies by putting away so much a month for each dog – instead of an RESP they have a DDIP – Doggie disability injury plan. Just thought that one up, think I am short on sleep and getting a bit delusional. All kidding aside they do have money put aside for this type of problem. I looked in to pet insurance and they wanted close to $100.00 with tax per dog 7 years ago. German Shepherd rate higher not sure. They at least then also only paid so much and there were deductibles and all that crap. All that said as much as I don’t like to spend the money, it is available.

      It is the pain and agony they go through that hurts me more than spending their money. I am trying to keep my head up as in January 2005 I my german shepherd Felon went to the vet and was diagnosed with lymphoma. Despite chemo treatments and the best of care he had to be euthanized on March 12 as the cancer spread and he was in bad shape. At least with this they can get better. I try and keep this in mind and look at the bright side.

      Hope your baby continues to do well. I also have four dogs – all German Shepherds. My two yr old Judge is with a friend for the next few weeks as he has a young dog and they tire one another out. It would be almost impossible for me to exercise him enough while taking care of Chief and Justice shortly. Clyde is inactive and a short outing is just fine as far as he is concerned.

      Thanks for your concern. Keep me posted on your baby and his recovery.

      Cathy

  54. Cathy March 4, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Chief is now 4+ weeks post-op from his second surgery. My vet has been seeing him at least one a week to change the bandage on his external fixator. She feels he is walking on it well at this point. He has developed an allergy to the self disolving stitches and has blisters at the second incision site. Both my vet and the specialist have confirmed that this sometimes happens and the site is not infected. Daily I clean the site, apply hot compresses for 5 minutes and apply antibiotic cream. Next I do physio on him which includes the use of a muscle stimulator for 10 minutes. He has to be kept sedated due to his A.D.D. As he get better he wants to play and can’t. He cried the other day when his two year old brother came to visit (he has been staying with a friend) and he could not play with him. Guess this is a good sign that he wants to play but very dangerous as he could injure himself.
    Needless to say I am going crazy as Chief is under 24/7 watch. I am at his point questioning if TPLO was the best method and will look at other options for my other dog Justice who has a partial tear in her ACL.

    • Janice March 8, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Our rottie had TPLO on Tuesday. Yesterday they noticed she wasn’t holding the leg as she should so booked her in for an xray today. This showed a major complication, the bone had split so another op followed where he has replaced the plate for a larger one and is happy with the result. It seems that the medication to keep her pain free can make them feel weird and she had been up most of the night circling in the kennel and possibly slipped or caught her foot in the bedding. We are so gutted she is such a softie and craves cuddles we miss her terribly. Just called the vets to check how she is and she is asleep. Poor girl hasn’t eaten since Monday but they can put her on a drip. She had the left knee done 2 years ago, there was an infection and another op to repair torn meniscus 6 months later. Hydrotherapy was brilliant for her and she loved it. We were told there is 15% chance of complications with TPLO but our specialist has never had this type. Just hope she keeps still in that kennel.

      • Cathy March 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

        Hi Janice,

        My prayers are with you, your dog and family. I know how difficult this is. Where are you from? I guess what I am asking is where did you have this surgery done? I am beginning to wonder about the truth of the fact that there are only complications with TPLO’s 15% of the time. If vets know the meds can cause dogs to circle in their crate then they should send all dogs home with sedatives. I was told that it was Chief’s ADHD that caused him to circle in his crate and yank on the leash when he went out to pee. I can tell you that without sedatives Chief would not be healing. He will be kept sedated just enough to keep him calm for another 3 weeks. He is able at this point to go for 10 – 15 minute controlled leash walks. He eats well and is happy enough given the circumstances. This is a rural dog who is used to a couple of bush runs a day, so it has been very hard on him.

        Chief has 3 weeks left until final x-rays and removal of the external fixator. My vet and not the surgeon has been changing his bandage once a week and she says the plate and everything is where it should be and he is walking well although not perfect due the metal bar in his leg which rubs on the opposite leg.

        Chief’s twin sister Justice has a partially torn ACL. I am considering tight rope surgery for her as I do not trust TPLO after this ordeal. Not sure but do not want to go through this again.

        Let me know how your baby is doing.

        Cathy

  55. Julia March 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Cathy my rottie had tightrope on both legs as they went within a week of each other and she had the surgery two weeks apart. We are now three months post op and she is doing so well, back to normal really. Wishing you and your dogs all the best x

    • Janice March 9, 2012 at 4:30 am #

      Hi Cathy, we are in the UK and the specialist is with the Oakwood Group. When we had the first leg done 2 years ago our vet explained the two types of procedures, the tightrope method could be done by him at our local surgery where as TPLO had to be referred to the specialist. He recommended TPLO as she is a bigger breed and this was better because of the weight. The specialist is highly rated, I know a few people that have used him and had no problems and have crossed paths with a lot of people who chose TPLO and all have been ok. One of my facebook friends in USA has had TPLO on their rottie and she has been fine, no problems at all and she was allowed home the day after, we have to wait 4 days.
      Ive just checked how Lottie is doing and she is more settled today because they reduced the morphine to half a dose. I have been feeling quite angry at the fact this set back was allowed to happen. We always think the vets is the best place for them but not in this case. Poor Cheif I hope he can soon enjoy his runs again. Its so hard because we can’t explain to them whats happening. Hydrotherapy is really good as it dosn’t put pressure on the joints. Lottie was so depressed 2 years ago after the first op with so much sitting around, swimming lifted her spirit and she was like a puppy again. It was the pool rather than the treadmill type.

    • DAISY March 19, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      Hi Julia,

      So pleased that your Rottie is doing well, I think it is the best of the knee surgeries a lot less invaisive. My Rottie is still doing well after cancelling her TPLO in August, still feel a little nervous sometimes when she is off lead and going mad, we swim her every 12 days to keep her leg flexable and her other leg strong, it was the swimming that realy helped. Feel so sorry for those owners and dogs that are going through TPLO and wish them all the best and after reading all the posts if my rottie had to have an op I would go Tightrope.

      • julia March 20, 2012 at 11:05 am #

        Hi Daisy,

        Im so pleased that your Rottie is doing well and i keep my fingers crossed that there will be no need for an operation.Its amazing how much swimming helps them.I agree its such a worry when they are off the lead but life for them has to go on.I too feel sorry for all the owners who are having trouble after surgery.To be honest i never discussed options with my vet but did research at home and was expecting TPLO to be the method he would use,it was only when we took her in and signed the surgery form which stated he was doing tightrope procedure that i quickly jumped online and researched tightrope which was how i found this website.Thankfully both ops went so well and so did her recovery.After reading all the “horror” stories of poor dogs crying in pain i was crapping myself but Holly was such a good patient and Rottie’s are known for their resilience and stubborness and no doubt this is what helped her through it along with all the meds she was on.It seems such a long time ago now even tho she is only 4 months post op.Her fur on her legs has grown back but she had a patch on her back shaved for the morphine patch and so far the fur is refusing to grow back but she gets lots of sympathy from other dog owners when we are out walking.Good luck to you and your Rottie and i wish all the other owners and their dogs the best of luck x

    • Cathy March 20, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      Hi Julia,
      Glad to hear of your dog’s recovery. Hope all is still going well. Sure wish I had this kind of luck with Chief’s TPLO.

      • Julia March 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

        Hi Cathy, thanks for your wishes and I’m so sorry to hear that things are not good at the minute with Chief. I really wish you both luck and I hope Chief makes a speedy recovery. From what you have described you have given him the best care possible and I really believe that as I was exactly the same with Holly! Don’t blame yourself, I wish I could advise you but I know nothing about TPLO I’m afraid. I feel for you as they are our babies. Good luck and keep me posted. Come on Chief we are all rooting for you! X

  56. Cathy March 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Hi All,

    What the bleep is happening to Chief? Since his second surgery he has been watched 24/7 and is confined to the main level of the house where he can be seen. No stairs, no jumping, playing, etc. Just confined leash walks as per my care instructions. He has had his incision cleaned daily and cream applied, physio done daily by myself as instructed by a dog physio therapist. He even has a muscle stimulator that I use daily. If I go out someone watches him. Most of the time I am home. When clients come to my home office he is beside me. I have slept on the couch for 6 weeks and he sleeps on his dog bed below me, and his leash is wrapped around my wrist.

    Just this week the opening in his incision cleared up finally after weeks of care. He was doing daily walks on leash and not very far. I called Thursday for his final x-ray appointed in 2 weeks which would be the 8 week mark. On Thursday night he was fine.
    Not out of my sight. Friday morning he was limping. Took him to my vet who said at that he was still weight bearing some. She poked and prodded and he did not react. She said the screws and plate appear to be in place. His incision has healed and no longer needs daily cleaning, just keep an eye on the pins of the fixator but so far they have been good. She prescribed pain killers along with metacam and his sedatives. Thought he might have hit it on something in the house even slightly would hurt. She was not overly concerned and thought he would probably be ok in a day or two.

    Friday night after his pain killers and metacam he seemed to be walking ok. He let me do physio on him without any problem.

    Saturday morning he is hopping, toeing and favouring his leg worse than before the surgery. He received his meds and these have not helped. He does not seem to be in any pain while quiet. Just when trying to walk.

    My thoughts go to: is there a pin that has moved inside his leg that is pressing on a bone or muscle that is causing this? I am a basket case.

    He goes Monday morning to see the surgeon as they do not work on weekends and he is comfortable for the time being.

    I feel so bad but don’t know what else I could have done to assist him with healing.
    This dog was by my side 3 years ago when both my parents died within a day of one another. He is only 7 and just has to get better. He was extremely healthy and very active prior to hurting his knee.

    Anyone out there gone through anything like this with an external fixator used with TPLO surgery. If so any suggestions.

    • Beth March 19, 2012 at 6:53 am #

      Hi Cathy-

      Is there any chance of infection? My poor boy had a terrible infection post TPLO that never resolved until we did another surgery and removed all hardware. We are several years post surgery at this point and doing okay but leash walking only for fear the other leg will go. Another surgery is being avoided at his activity expense :( Best of luck. Sounds like you are doing all that can be done. Lucky Chief to have you.

      Beth

      • Cathy March 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

        Hi Beth,

        I spent most of the day today at Alta Vista Animal Hospital in Ottawa which is our specialty hospital in the area. Nearly $1,000.00 later, the surgeon thinks it may be an infection. He is having a culture done to determine which bacteria we are dealing with or if in fact it is an infection as his discharge papers says possible infection. The good new is Chief is healing from the TPLO but not completely healed, maybe 85%. The plate and screws (tplo) have not moved and the external fixator has not moved. The external fixator was put on after Chief’s second surgery to give extra support to the knee area to allow Chief to heal after our bad experience with the first surgery.

        I am beginning to dislike vets as much as lawyers in that I believe they have a licence to rob. Anyone considering TPLO and thinking it will cost around $4,000 (Ottawa, Ontario) prices beware. I am now approaching closer to $7,000 due to the complications. I do not believe the stats that say complications only arise 5% of the time. Chief has had nothing but the best of care and look what has happened. Just have lots more money set aside than $4,000.00. I paid $177.00 for antibiotics, $195.00 for metcam, $150.00 for the culture, about 360.00 for xrays and sedation, etc.

        Chief may have to have his plate removed. We will not know anymore until the culture comes back. The surgeon believes the infection is why he started limping with no apparent cause as all else looks good.

        My expenses continue as Chief still has to wait another month for his final x-rays and removal of the external fixator. If they remove it in one month the total time will have been 13 weeks.

        I do not believe I will entertain TPLO surgery again. I could have had tight rope done over two – three times for the cost of this.

        The main thing is it looks like he is going to get better but it will be a long time yet. I want him to resume his normal activity when he is well and if the other leg goes I will look probably go with tight rope.

        Thanks for your email.

        • Beth March 20, 2012 at 9:42 am #

          It can be really hard to trust and believe in the system when things go so wrong. Ugh. So sorry. I think I was out about $10,000 when all was said and done. My heart breaks for those pet guardians who are unable to finance the care these sweet creatures need. Blazer’s infection was a strep infection which was unusual. I had to keep him on clavamox for months—actually, he was on meds until several weeks after the plate removal surgery. I guess sometimes the bacteria adheres to the plate and until the hardware comes out the infection can linger. One of the hardest things about this whole experience for me has been managing my guilty feelings. Years after the surgery I still sometimes allow myself to feel angry for letting someone perform this surgery. But, beating oneself up after the fact just seems to be a waste of energy. I did what I thought was best at the time. And, all surgeries come with risks. It is just a bummer to see your best dog pal suffering.

          Thinking of you and Chief. I am so glad his bones are healing and that the hardware is intact. Hang in there.

          Beth

          • Cathy March 20, 2012 at 9:59 am #

            Hi Beth,

            My heart goes out to everyone who can’t afford these surgeries also. I just don’t like getting stuck with a bill of $7,000 or more when I was told 3,500 – 4,000. The surgeons say complications can happen but are unlikely. If they told the truth they would be eating at the food banks as nobody would have this surgery done. I believe complications are way way higher than the 5 – 10% they quote you. TPLO IN MY OPINION IS A MONEY GRAB, at the expense of my dog’s suffering, forget about my pocket book. I feel so bad for Chief who just wants to get well. I can’t stay home with him under 24/7 supervision for the rest of my life. What now, hire a dog nanny at 1500 – 2000 a month. We don’t know how much longer this process is going to continue. It has been 9 weeks already and will be at least another 4. Maybe another 8, 12, 16 who knows. I feel deceived by the process.

            I need to run my business again so I can continue to pay my bills. Chief has an account for emergencies which is quickly being depleted. I have saved 100.00 per month X 3 for my 3 dogs since I got them. The cash is there but the point is I feel ripped off. I never like to pay more for something than it is worth. I am p/o at this point. Not at anyone on this site, just the dishonest professionals whose pocket book is more important to them than the welfare of the animals. I do not mean to offend anyone and I know lots of people have had good luck with the surgery but I bet there are many more out there that have had bad luck that we have not heard from.

            Cathy

  57. Janice March 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Hi Cathy, Im not sure what the external fixator type surgery is but going on our past experience on Lotties first TPLO 2 years ago, we had two issues with lameness. The first was our fault when about 4 weeks into her recovery she shot passed me and sprinted down the garden. She came back limping and the knee developed a swollen area. The following xray showed one of the screws had sheared off thought the specialist said it should settle which it did. After a couple of months she developed another bout of lameness which resulted in further surgery to removed some damaged and protruding meniscus. During this he removed the plate as the bone had healed. He says he wouldn’t go into the knee just to remove the plate but if there for another reason he likes to take them out as sometimes they can niggle a bit. Hopefully your sugeon can put your mind at rest but these thing do take such a long time to heal.

  58. Cathy March 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Hi Janice,

    I just responded to Beth in a lengthy email. Chief had TPLO surgery that went bad. When he had his second surgery they installed the external fixator to give his knee more support.
    This is a metal bar pinned into the bone of the leg. Google external fixator dogs and there will be pictures. Chief may need his plate removed. I have covered most of this in my other email. How long was your dog healing in total?
    Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my concerns.

    Cathy

  59. JennB March 20, 2012 at 4:20 am #

    Cathy,

    I am so sorry to hear that about Chief (I live in Aylmer, QC) and was with Dr. Philibert (which used to work at Alta Vista, but now is a mobile surgeon –he is great!). He came to my Vet in Aylmer on January 13th 2012 to do TPLO on Trigger (a 4 yrs old male Rottie) and so far so good. It’s now been 2 months and a week…he had his xrays done last week and everything looked great. I was really nervous about getting TPLO done, but I’m happy with the results for my Trigger boy..but seeing these stories, I truly feel really lucky that he was Ok. I’m still not out of the bushes, need to still be careful, but the critical part is done =)

    As for TPLO pricing, I was actually quite straight-up with my Vet last week about the price..

    About two weeks ago, Trigger tore his other ACL…so here we go again with surgery!..but I didn’t want to do TPLO again (not because it didn’t work, but simply because it’s WAY TO EXPENSIVE!). Since he’s a 100lbs boy, they always say TPLO, TPLO TPLO for large dogs…and I really sat down with my vet and told him No TPLO this time. He has one “good leg of steel” now, he doesn’t need two. We finally came to the conclusion that I wanted to get ExtraCapsular (kind of like tightrope, but it’s on the outside of the knee instead of the inside) done on him, but instead of using the normal 80lbs “fishing line” he will use 120lbs “fishing line” to do the procedure. He has done some before on large dogs with success, but also warned me that it MIGHT not hold and I really need to be careful for the first months (OK..I JUST WENT THROUGH TPLO WITH TRIGGER, I THINK I CAN HANDLE THIS lol). Listen, for $1200 (tax, meds, anest..etc included) and no chance of my dog having all these TPLO complications, DO IT!
    Trigger is booked for April 4th..ExtraCapsular..I’m hoping it goes well!! –poor boy, no dogpark for a year !!! ..at least he’ll get to come camping and swimming with us this summer =)

    anyways, then my “why the hell is TPLO surgery so expensive came out”… I told him; I’ve done a lot of Research on TPLO when getting Trigger operated on the first knee, and see that Vets are taking LARGE cuts when it comes to TPLO. Why would this procedure cost almost $4000?

    His answer is that there is a Patent on everything regarding the TPLO procedure; from the TPLO procedure itself to every tool used. Vets/Surgeons who want to perform TPLO need to “buy the course patent” type thing and they are not allowed to show other people how to perform it…
    Then the tools….well my specialist, Dr Philibert, had the best! He had the tiny microscope or whatever to remove some of his meniscus (way less invasive then the other way used..) and his tools alone are worth about if not more than $100,000.

    Obviously, at $4000 each TPLO, it doesn’t take that long to get your $100,000 back, but just the fact that they need to pay a Patent is why it costs so much. I work in the Patent/TM/Copyright industry, so if that’s really the case, well then it would make sense. Unfortunately, I can’t look this up at my workplace.

    Sorry if there are times it is hard to understand what I want to write..I’m French LOL =)

    • Cathy March 20, 2012 at 5:51 am #

      Hi Jen,
      I follow everything you are saying. Lawyers have a reason things are so expensive, so do vet. This is bull! I know the legal field too well and can tell many many stories as to the way many lawyer overcharge, why, because they can. Most people are not trained in the legal field and have no idea. For examples in estate law, most lawyers and I stress not all cause there are a few that don’t, charge 5% the value of the estate to settle it. This is so wrong as an estate worth 2,000,000 can be less work to settle than one worth 100,000 so why would the estate with 2,000,000 pay the lawyer 100,000 while the 100,000 would only pay 5,000. I experienced this while helping a friend settle an estate. I did the work for them for free and it took me maybe 20 hours and that was looking things up because I never practice estate law. Sorry about the rant but I feel vets are in the same position as lawyers. They charge this much because they can get away with it.

      I am glad to hear Trigger is doing well with his TPLO. I sense your frustration with the cost. I am also aware of Dr. Philibert and will use him if ever I have to do TPLO again. My friend Dale has a golden retriever who had both of her legs done by Philibert without complications. This was about two years ago and the legs were done less than a year apart.

      I am mostly concerned about Chief at this point. There is no way we can change this unless we all boycott TPLO’s for a few months. Guess what the price would go way down.

      I will keep you posted as to what is actually going on with him. He is walking better today on his leg than he was. Maybe my vet was right after all, he may have just hit it on something even slightly that cause him to be in pain. We will know when the culture comes back. Got to go, make some money now to pay the vet bills.

      Cathy

    • Sherri March 20, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      JennB,

      I have a Rottie who had the extracapsular repair done 2 1/2 years ago. He weighs right about 105 lb’s. I too had my arm twisted, almost literally, to have TPLO done. I couldn’t even get vets to discuss anything else with me. One even became quite angry with me when I asked about other options! Finally found an honest vet who sat down and discussed all options with me and we decided to do the extracapsular repair. He used 100 pound test filament. My boy healed up without a hitch, his leg muscled out well and he has since had complete use and comfort with that leg. The thing with the line possibly breaking is this: usually by the time that happens, IF it happens at all, the leg has built up tough scar tissue over the area and that supports it. I had two dogs have this procedure done, I would never, ever have a TPLO done.

      I do believe TPLO is a huge cash cow for these vets that run their McTPLO clinics and do nothing else. I was sent to two of these clinics with my dogs and heard the same, well practiced spiel each time. Sat and watched all the dogs ahead of us scheduled for TPLO one after the other. Surely not EVERY single dog needs a TPLO! This was where I got spoken to quite rudely when I simply asked about other options. With my first ACL dog I even had it scheduled but cancelled it the day before because I was so sick to my stomach over it. You would not believe how that office harrassed me, calling me multiple times a day to reschedule! I had to get ugly with them to finally make them stop.

      I think it is so dishonest how so many people are simply being told there is no other good option for their large dogs. I think it’s criminal actually. People want to trust their vet and think their vet is honest and working for the good of their animal and I’m afraid it’s just not so in a lot of instances. I felt very, very lucky to finally find a good, honest vet.

      As far as price: I paid $1100.00 for the surgery. If you include the initial consult, x-rays and meds it came out to right around $1400.00. Very reasonable compared to TPLO! With the added plus of no horrible complications and a sound and comfortable dog.

      Cathy:

      My gosh, I feel so badly for you and your dog! I hope they finally are able to get Chief straightened out and back to his normal life. My heart goes out to you and him and the other’s here who’ve had horrible TPLO complications. I wish you the best.

      • Heather March 18, 2013 at 6:48 am #

        hi,
        do you guys think it’s as much a “cash cow” business for TPLO when it is done at a vet school? just curious, I am planning to have mine done at a vet school and did so because I was hoping it would be a better option than a private practice if a faculty surgeon performed the surgery.

        Thanks

        • Anthony/Benito March 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

          just know that when it comes to TPLO, you have to be board cert. to even perform it aswell as pay do do it because its a patten procedure , you just cant go around doing the TPLO anytime you want ,because its something that requires lots of money to learn and lots of money to do properly , becaue you could wind up losing your licence and getting a lawsuit filed against you aswell, dont let anyone B.S YOU about doing TPLO, I learned that the hard way, luckily my dogs doing ok now but only time will tell, GL

        • Paula April 15, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

          Please DO NOT go to a vet school. I did, and I really regret it. Unqualified residents do the surgery. I barely saw the supervising surgeon after the surgery. Residents, interns, and students did all the follow-up care. I couldn’t get a straight answer about anything–they all contradicted one another. I believe they injured my girl while doing the 8-week x-rays. She came out limping and hasn’t stopped–that was last June. Took her to another surgeon who fixed her torn meniscus and found that her caudal ligament was injured. He is suggesting a “reversal” of the TPLO–cutting the bone and putting it back almost to where it was. I don’t know what to do. My girl was an amazing agility dog, and now she is lame. I repeat: DO NOT TRUST ANYONE AT A VET SCHOOL.

  60. Holly March 20, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Hi All!

    Sorry to hear of all the complications you are having. I have only read one comment about the home care and rehab for these dogs. I have Newfoundlands and have a couple of my dogs have repair, one currently. I know lots of Newfoundlands around the country that get them and one 1 that had a bad go of it afterward. Not to say that vets don’t make mistakes but I think alot of the success of this surgery is a direct result of the home care; i.e. being properly confined, while some folks think its mean; its a lot less mean than having to have the surgery repeated or the dog living with permanent damage. There must be respect for what has been done to the knee, my dogs are NEVER off the leash, the leash goes on before they even leave the x-pen or crate. I live in Alaska so I am currently having to chip and scrap Ice away from the porch and my husband built a ramp down the few stairs into the backward. I am diligent about the icing and range of motion exercises, they also wear a collar no matter what. It only takes one time to get bacteria in the incision or remove staples. Like I said some of the responsibility does rely on the owners. Again not to say that things can’t just happen because they do, even in humans. Some of the things mentioned here about bacteria etc, could just as well happen with the tightrope or other corrective surgeries, not just the TPLO. If you actually look at the success rate of the tightrope (at least in large/ Gaint breeds) its not worth trying it for 2 reasons, setting the dog up for another likely surgery just to do the TPLO and the cost, you know will have your 1500 or so for the tightrope and then the 4000 for the TPLO. Also I care health insurance on the dogs, yes it help pay for TPLO’s, at least mine does. I have 5 dogs on it, glad I have it for other things as well.

    Good Luck!

    • Cathy March 20, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      Please read what I have done for this dog. I am sensitive at this point regarding the lack of care cause this just is not the case. Here is a history of his care. It is long. Pet Insurance was not for me but I do put away $400.00 every month in case of emergencies and have done so since they were puppies. I just do not like to waste my hard earned dollars.

      CHIEF’S TPL0 EXPERIENCE

      Background on Chief:
      - Purebred German Shepherd born Nov 18, 2004. (7 years old)
      - lives in the country with his twin sister, Justice, and adopted brother Clyde (8) and Judge (2).
      - Chief is the equivalent of an ADHD child. He is wonderful with people and used to do nursing home visits. As long as he is exercised often he is easy to live with. Thus, he gets lots of exercise running through the bush behind my residence or cruising the various trails near our home.
      - no medical issues to be noted, minor leg injury on right leg at age 1 – pulled muscles and an anal gland infection at age 1.5. Diagnosed with minor arthritis in his hip last year. Note: Not enough to slow him down.

      - Early January 2012 he was out in his fenced dog run with the other dogs. He came in holding up his limping on his left foot and toeing by times. I treated with metacam for 3 -4 days and when no improvement he went to see Dr. Michele Dutnall. She confirmed my fears that he did in fact have a completely torn ACL.
      - Spent a few days researching the best way to proceed and determined that due to his size and activity level , TPLO surgery was the way to go.
      - MADE ARRANGEMENT S FOR JUDGE TO LIVE WITH MY FRIEND DALE UNTIL CHIEF WAS HEALED AS THESE TWO ARE PLAYMATES. My older two dogs are less active while in the house.
      - Visited Dr. Liptak for a consult and scheduled Chief’s surgery. I advised Dr. Liptak of Chief’s ADHD and that he would need sedatives to keep him quiet upon returning home in order to allow him to heal properly.

      - Chief had his TPLO surgery and came home the next day. He was very hard to control. Sedatives were not given. That said he wore his cone, was assisted up and down the 4 steps to get outside with a towel under his belly, all prescribed meds were administered as directed. Chief would circle in his crate. Note, this is a dog that lived in his crate at night until about two years old. He would scream. He developed a bad bladder infections and most time simply could not get outside on time. He would be lying on his dog bed and he would pee, if he made it up perhaps he would get to the ceramic area or close to the front door but just could not wait.
      - Dr. Liptak called about one week in to his recovery. I advised him as to what was going on. He called a prescription into my vet, Dr. Dutnall to deal with the urinary infection. He said he would wait until the following week when Chief came in to get his stitches out to deal with the sedative request. By this time I was at wits end due to Chief’s behaviour and it was a mistake on my part to have agreed to this.

      - NOTE: THIS DOG WAS NEVER OFF LEASH OUTSIDE, NEVER BROKE FREE, AND WAS IN HIS CRATE WHEN HE COULD NOT BE WATCHED OR I HAD TO GO OUT DURING THE FIRST TWO WEEKS. There were times even during the night that Chief would wake me up from the noise of circling in his crate, or I would come home and he had been circling as the giant size crate he was in had been moved by him circling.

      -Chief arrived to see Dr. Liptak for stitches/staples removal. Dr. Liptak looks concerned about the way he was walking. I advise Dr. Liptak that the urinary infection has not cleared up and that he often makes a mess. At that moment Dr. Liptak looks at Chief and Chief was urinating on the clinic floor. He then feels his incision and could feel a screw loose. Chief is off for x-rays which show 3 loose screws. He is admitted for surgery first thing the next day.
      - Chief has his surgery. Dr. Liptak calls who advised that his surgery had went well. The plate had not moved. An external fixator had been installed to help give the area more support. When they did the surgery they found 3 screws loose and one missing. While in their custody and tethered he had managed to get another screw out. This screw was not found and is still in Chief. Dr. Liptak advised that Chief’s injury was consistent with him circling and not from running and jumping. This was not my fault, or anything I had allowed him to do. He did need to be sedated. I guess my question here is: With all the knowledge that Dr. Liptak now had about Chief’s behaviour why was he not properly sedated while in Alta Vista’s custody? THE RESULT IS THERE IS A SCREW IN CHIEF’S BODY THAT NEEDS TO BE REMOVED. I DO NOT WANT TO WAIT TO SEE IF IT WILL CAUSE A PROBLEM LATER. GET IT OUT NOW PLEASE.
      -Chief comes home the day following surgery with sedatives and other meds. He is so much different and easier to look after. This time I am not using the crate and have decided to put my life pretty much on hold for the next 8 weeks. I am home all the time and we all live on part of the main floor which consists of no stairs, kitchen, dining room, family room, front entrance. The second level stairs are blocked off. There is nothing he can jump on. Besides he is watched all the time. I work at the kitchen table and he is beside me on his dog bed. The other dogs are not near him except when supervised. At night they would all lay in the same room together but I was there. There was no playing allowed. The couch in the family room is my bed and Chief sleeps on his dog bed below me with his leash wrapped around my wrist. This in case he hears an animal in the bush during the night. I did not want him to take off quickly, especially during the first few weeks.
      - When I have to go out, my friend Dale sits with the dogs. If Dale is not available Chief goes with me. He is never out of my site and never left alone in the vehicle. I even get gas where someone pumps it. If Chief can’t go with me, then I just stay home. Fortunately, Jan and Feb are quieter months in my line of work. Has this cost me financially, yes it has, but Chief is more important than money.
      - As I type this Chief is sleeping close to me. The other two adult dogs are elsewhere in the house.
      - There were days when I did not even shower as there is no shower on the main floor and there was nobody to watch Chief.
      - Chief’s bandage needs to be changed regularly. Dr. Dutnall assists with this. He develops a blister type substance in the area of his second incision. The full bandage needs to be removed and just the ends of the fixator covered to prevent injury. Dr. Dutnall keeps an eye on his progress. She is happy with the way he is walking. All acknowledge that his gait is off due to swinging the left leg out to walk to prevent the external fixator from hitting his right leg.
      - At the end of week 2 and at the suggestion of Dr. Dutnall, Chief goes to visit a dog physiotherapist, Carrie Smith. Carrie examines Chief and gives me a few exercises to do with him daily and I purchase an EMS machine. She tells me to return at 8 weeks after the external fixator is removed.
      - Everyday, Chief’s incision is cleaned as per Dr. Dutnall’s directions and his physio is done. He has also been walking as per the directions I received. The first two weeks very little. Week 3 – 6, usually once a day starting out with a 5 minute walk and working out way up to a slow maybe 15 minute walk over the weeks. He misses a couple of days of walks due to weather but was always attended to for cleaning and physio purposes.
      - Chief was walking well and had no problem walking up the 4 stairs to get in the house. He was also assisted with a towel under his belly going down as he had trouble with this, I think due to throwing his leg out a bit while moving due to the external fixator. Of course he is always on leash.
      - Chief is always assisted getting in and out of the vehicle with the leash and belly towel.
      - All appointments Dr. Dutnall changes the bandage and notes that there is not infection coming from the open incision area. Fine needle aspirate was done. Pictures were taken and sent to Dr. Liptak. Both doctors’ concurred that Chief’s body would eventually take care of the incision problem and no meds or cultures were required. The pins around the bars going into Chiefs body also looked good. She also advised me that the plate and pins are in place.
      - I called last Thursday afternoon to make Chief’s 8 week appointment for X-rays and removal of the fixator. He was doing so well. Note: He was still being kept sedated and was going to be kept this way to prevent him from being too active before he should be.
      - Thursday night Chief was fine. We got up in the middle of the night and I took him outside to pee. He was not limping at this time. To my surprise mid-morning he started limping. NOTHING HAS HAPPENED AND HE HAD NOT BEEN OUT OF MY SITE AND WAS NOT WITH THE OTHER DOGS.
      - I had a vet appointment to get his bandage changed. Dr. Dutnall noticed that he was limping although using his foot some. She suggested that he may have hit it on something in the house even slightly and hurt it a bit. Nothing that I am aware of but possible I guess. She examined him and said that nothing appears to have moved and that while being examined and poked and prodded he did not even respond which would not be consistent with damage to the area. No temperature, no swelling and no infection. She prescribed Tramadol and we decided to change him from meloxicam to metcam for a few days as we both feel the metacam does work better. She told me that his incision had healed finally and that his bandage did not need to be changed. To keep an eye on it and if there was any crusting come from the pins then to clean the pins with a q-tip. The incision did not need to be cleaned daily now.
      - Saturday morning Chief is hoping on 3 legs and I am beside myself. I called Alta Vista and left a message. I also called Dr. Dutnall. I advised her that he did not seem to be in pain but is not using the leg. The pain seems to be when he has to put pressure on it to walk or go up the stairs. Having his exercises done with the leg did not seem to bother him. We agreed unless something happened that he was in extreme pain that the best thing to do was to keep him quiet until Monday morning and take him into Alta Vista.
      - An appointment was set up with Alta Vista for 11:45 a.m. Monday.
      - Saturday night Chief’s blister above the area of the incision is back. A warm compress, a cleaning and antibiotic cream are applied.
      - Sunday I checked the incision and the blister has broke and bled some. He is cleaned again.
      - Sunday something tells me to change his bandage. Perhaps this was a result of extensive research on the internet regarding external fixators and complications.
      - I removed his bandage Sunday afternoon and found the bottom pin appears to be moving within the bone. The only time he reacted was when I was gently working in the area of the bottom pin. This area was open, red, inflamed but not infected. The hole around the pin was larger than it should have been, looking as though the pin has been moving within the bone in his leg. I cleaned the area and put antibiotic cream on it and then bandaged it back up. The top pin looked the same as always.

      CHIEF TODAY HAS HAD: 2 TRAMADOL (100MGS EACH)
      1.5 ACEVET (25MGS EACH)
      PILLS ARE PLACED IN CHEESE TO GET HIM TO TAKE THEM. He also had one chicken strip treat but has not had any other food. He takes his metacam at night with food.

      I CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH THAT THIS DOG HAS ALWAYS BEEN ON LEASH WHLE OUTSIDE, UNDER SUPERVISION 24/7 AND CONSTANTLY SEDATED. HE HAS NOT FALLEN.
      DALE BY DOG SITTER HAS A GOLDEN RETRIEVER WHO HAS BEEN THROUGH 2 TPLO’S SURGERIES SO EVEN MY HELP HAS EXPERIENCE IN THIS AREA.

      CHIEF CONTINUES TO EAT WELL and appears to be himself as much as possible given the effects of the medications. He so badly wants to be able to walk properly first and later on run and be a dog again.

      WHAT THE BLEEP IS GOING ON? PLEASE FIX MY DOG!!!!

      • christine September 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        My lab just had a second surgery for his tplo he had a fracture right after surgery. Now he has not only internal plates and screws but outside also.
        I was told mine would never be the same. My suggestion to anyone who is looking at TPLO surgery go to a specialist in this type of surgery. My baby is only 5 and just sick over this.

        • Lucy September 15, 2013 at 3:14 am #

          Oh my goodness. I’m so very sorry this has happened to your dear boy. Those external fixators look pretty gruesome, don’t they? Downright scary.

          So at this point you must be back using the sling to help him about and keeping the area clean and dry, I expect? Weeks of healing ahead. Hopefully, after a time he can do some physio? Is it available in your area? I’d try looking into it to optimize the outcome as much as possible.

          I found PT invaluable. The facility had an underwater treadmill which we did for about 10-12 weeks. Then there were exercises to tweak this muscle or that.

          • christine September 17, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

            Thanks I’m searching places with some PT. The problem is his right leg is also week. Vet said if this surgery does not work we are looking at amputation. I don’t think I can put him through that.

        • Janice September 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

          It’s such a worrying time. Our Lottie had TPLO in 2010 on her left leg which was straight forward. In 2012 she had the same on her right leg which turned out to be a nightmere. The op went well but during the night while in the hospital she had a fall (they think) and the screws came away splintering the bone. The specialist said he hadn’t seen a complication like it. He replated using a larger plate which made her completely lame. Eventually he removed it and used external fixaters. It was 6 months before we could take her out of the house. Its been just over a year now and she still walks low on it. She manages 2 short walks a day and has hydratherapy once a week. Lottie is 9yrs old now. Its a very long and slow road to recovery and because they feel fine, it’s so hard to keep them from jumping and getting giddy.

          • Lucy September 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

            Dear Lottie girl has been thru the mill. I’m sorry of course, and am quite hopeful the hydrotherapy is going to be helpful. I did the hydrotherapy for my dogs. Rave was straight forward. Stets had that soft tissue injury so his was slightly more complicated… but nothing at all compared to your Lottie. L-o-n-g recoveries do happen. Best!

  61. Janice March 20, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    This is an update for Lottie 8th March. She is still in the hospital. Her original TPLO went ok but overnight managed to split the bone which resulted in another op. Since then she has managed to pull the staples out twice and now has infection. Part of me thinks we could have watched her more at home while the other thanks god she is somewhere she can get immediate care, We were expecting her home last Monday, then this Monday, now I could be Thursday. The specialist said he can appreciate that we want her home and she wants to come home but he would feel happier to see the infection sorted out. I Just wish this could be explained to Lottie.

    • Cathy March 20, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      So sorry to hear about Lottie. As you can tell from my recent posts my views on TPLO are not good at this time. I thought I was doing the absolute best for my Chief by having TPLO done. I researched it, talked to different surgeons and vets, etc.
      Now I am sorry I ever heard the word TPLO. I hope Lottie comes home soon. We all look for ways to blame ourselves when something goes wrong. I am the first one that would admit if anything had happened like a fall as it would be to the dogs detriment for me to not tell the vets the truth. It is the dog health that I am concerned about and not about me covering something up. I am sure you have done a good job at taking care of Lottie. My prayers are with you.
      Cathy

  62. JennB March 21, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    I feel so bad for you Cathy and Janice! I hope your precious babies will be ok soon! It’s so unfortunate that it went that bad! I really feel blessed and lucky that my Trigger boy’s TPLO went well! I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this must be on both of you! Best of luck!

    Sherri — thank you for the information on ExtraCapsular… it inspires me! I really hope he doesn’t break the “rope”. Since it’s 120 lbs and he’s only 90-95lbs..I’m pretty confident =)
    How long did it take your dog to recover..to be able to fully put his leg on the ground and walk?
    With TPLO, Trigger was able to “walk” within the first 2 days (of course not a long walk, but he was able to put his foot down and apply some pressure) ..it completely blew me away!..He was able to properly walk without any sign of pain within a week.
    My Vet told me that ExtraCapsular will take longer… I’m hoping he’ll be able to be off leash by October-November this year!! ….and go swimming in the next 2 months! ..Am I ever glad all this is happening during winter time! I want him to enjoy summer with us; camping, swimming!!!! =)

    • Sherri March 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      JennB – I would think you would have no problem with off leash walking by Oct/Nov. Cody’s post op and recovery was very similar to TPLO. He was using the leg right away but of course during the post op period he was confined and leash walked only. He did get away from me in the yard one time a few weeks after surgery and pulled up lame and scared the bejeeber’s out of me! But he was fine. Stinkin’ dog! I honestly can’t remember how long it took before I let him do any running around. He’s pretty laid back so it wasn’t too hard but I’m thinking about 8 to 10 weeks that I really kept a handle on him and then when I did let him go it was in a small area so he couldn’t work up any speed or anything.

      We’re 2 1/2 years out from the surgery now, he lives a normal life which includes running and playing with my other dog.

      Best of luck to you and Trigger, I hope you will keep us posted how his extracapsular goes.

      Cathy – I agree with you, I think TPLO probably has a much higher complication rate then is being reported and that, while in some instances poor post op care is to blame I think many owners, like yourself, do everything right and still have a bad outcome. Best wishes to you and Chief.

      To those who have had a good outcome with their dogs TPLO, I am very happy for you. I’m sorry to come across so negative about it, it just infuriates me that so many vets push it so hard and refuse to even offer alternatives. They also down play the possible complications, some of which can be devastating.

  63. Janice March 22, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    Thankyou so much for the good wishes for Lottie. Good news this morning, she is clear to come home. The first thing she wanted when we got home was the toilet, food and a drink. now she flat out asleep. She is on Rimadyl and Tramadol for pain, Synulox and Trimacare (antibiotics) and Zantac (antacid), we have to go back in 10-14 days.
    In herself she is fine. She is allowed to have the buster collar off as long as we are around. We dont usually bother with the collar but after pulling these out twice Im a bit paranoid. She does hold the leg in a strange position but maybe when its getting used a bit and we eventually get back to hydratherapy it will be ok. The specialist said she may have to have the plate removed if it doesn’t settle. Its so good to have her home after two weeks and two days.

    • Cathy March 22, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Janice,

      So glad to here Lottie is home and progressing. Chiefy is using his leg again and the surgical area that would not heal over has a scab on it and looks the best it ever has. There is one other area that has a blister (ulcer as the vets call it) in the area of the external fixator – probably from rubbing when he walks. It is much better but not 100%. The only difference is almost a week and 3 days of antibiotics in him now, tonight will be the 4th dose. He is acting more himself again. Not perfect yet but much improved. I am keeping these area bandaged for a few more days she he can’t get at them and am praying they clear up completely.

      Keep me posted on the progress of Lottie please.

      Cathy

      • Janice March 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

        Cathy
        Here is a Lottie update. She came home last Thursday with just a small part of the wound open and red, the rest looked ok. The specialist said it was very slowly healing. Over the weekend the wound errupted in another part as well as the original area, both areas were so painful looking I called the nurse for advice on the Saturday. And twice on Sunday. Monday we took her back for a check on it. Charlie (the specialist) came out to the car to save her moving about and he didn’t charge. Its hard to know what is acceptable with the infection. At the moment its not looking too bad but he said the infection could be there until the plate is removed. We just have to try and keep it under control while the bone heals (8-10 weeks). If the infection gets out of control they will remove the plate and think of another way around it.
        I hope Cheify is better soon, Its such a worry and so draining when your babies are sick. We can’t explain things to them.

        Janice

        • Cathy March 28, 2012 at 7:00 am #

          Janice,

          I just got off the phone with Dr. Parker from Alta Vista Animal Hospital in Ottawa. Finally someone that seems to know what they are doing. Chief has an infection and has had for some time. It is responding to the antibiotics prescribed last week at a cost of nearly $177.00 for two weeks. Similar drugs for humans are likely $75.00. This is just bull crap. Thank god Dr. Liptak my surgeon was on holidays when Chief went in for his semi emergency appointment. Chief was at my own vet weekly and she sent Liptak pictures of his open wounds and the blood type substance leaking out. He concluded that Chief’s body would take care of itself and that no culture or antibiotics were needed. I did not feel right about this but let it be as the so called professionals were guiding me. No more me being meek and mild with these professionals. If I do not feel something is right they will be told so. Sorry but I am so p/o at what has happened at Alta Vista. On the flip side Dr. Parker seems to know what he is doing and says I can deal with him from here on in. Guess they work separately or there is no loyalty from one surgeon to the next.

          If your baby Lottie continues to leak from the surgery area for too long then take other action. I pray that it does clear up. I am sorry but how long since Lottie’s surgery was done? Chief leaked for over 6 weeks. The pain that my poor boy endured due to incompetence is so sad and unnecessary.

          I am frustrated beyond means. When I questioned Dr. Parker regarding a drug store prescription for Chief he admitted there was probably one very similar. Last week I was told that there was not drugstore version of this drug not by him but by his staff who said they had asked him. They just did not want to prescribe it from a drug store as that means no money in their pockets. Vet specialists and lawyers rate the same in my books and that is really low. Unfortunately they are both necessary evils in life at times.

          I know you will keep a close eye on Lottie and do not be afraid to speak up. I will even relay my story to your vet and surgeon if necessary. Chief has suffered for weeks because Dr. Liptak missed that he had an infection. This is just so wrong.

          I am embarrassed to admit it but my background is legal (no longer work in this field) and I am good at lawsuits but really hate them as our justice system is very broken and usually the only winners are the lawyers. May have to do a lawsuit before this is over as my costs would have been way less if I had a competent surgeon to begin with. This is so sad.

          I pray that Lottie heals and you don’t have to go through the hell I have been through needlessly.

          Thanks for reading and my prayers are with Lottie and you. Sorry for the rant. I am just so upset and want my Chiefy to be able to run through the bush chasing squirrels and enjoy being a dog.

          Cathy

          • Janice March 28, 2012 at 9:51 am #

            Cathy

            Lottie has an infection and is having the maximum in antibiotics. The wound has dried up and looks a lot better than it did on Monday but there are two areas where you can see there is a little build up of fluid. Charlie said if we left her there they would put a drain in and clean it up but it should sort itself out. His words were more or less the fluid is better out than in. She has an appointment for the usual checkup next Monday and hopefully get some if not all stiches out. I hate her being kept in because she has to toilet in her pen and they pop the pills down her throat where I can wrap them in sliced meat and she has to wear the buster collar all the time, where we take it off when she can be watched. But the infection is in charge and if she has to go back I will take her. Every day the the plate is in gets us nearer the 8 week mark when it can be removed. Lottie is 8 years old and has already had a brush with a grade 2 tumour. I just hope we get through this and give her time to get back to hydratherapy and everything she loves before its her time to leave us.
            Im sat in her pen with her now she loves the company.
            Its the most horrible thing to watch them go through and if they were human babies and any mistakes were made, doctors would be held accountable. Its really hard to trust vets when things don’t go to plan, like its easier to be angry and blame them, something I felt. But Lottie did pull the staples out twice hence the infection, that was 2 weeks ago. I hope you get chiefy sorted they are our family and a lot of vets can understand that these days.

            Janice

          • Cathy March 30, 2012 at 11:42 am #

            Hi Janice,

            So glad to hear Lottie is coming along. She is only 8 so I hope she has a long long time left with you.

            When Chief was released from the hospital the second time, his entire leg was bandaged and kept that way for about 2 – 3 weeks. Of course he saw my vet who kept in touch with the surgeon and had the bandage changed. It was a new incision where they did the repairs. There was no way that he licked it cause it was infected with the bandage on it. Yes, I am blaming the surgeon for not prescribing antibiotics when the wound did not clear up for over 6 weeks. Once they took the bandage off as they felt it was better to leave the wound open so that it would heal, then it is likely that Chief got a lick in when nobody was looking, That said the infection was already there. I am done blaming myself when in this case the blame does fall with the incompetent surgeon. As I already said in a previous email what bothers me the most is the pain my poor boy endured. Yes, the fact that I am housebound and unable to make the same income I am used to is not impressing me. I had planned on 8 weeks of reduced income not 16, 24 or who knows how long.
            I am just thankful that I am self employed and able to do this as most could not if working for someone.

            Keep me posted on Lottie’s recovery. Chief is doing better day by day. He will be on the antibiotics for a long time yet. Could be a couple of months. His external fixator bar should be removed in about 3 weeks.
            Today we are 10 weeks since the first surgery, and I am sure I aged 20 years.

            Take care. I appreciate your emails and updates on Lottie.

            Cathy

  64. jennb April 18, 2012 at 4:08 am #

    Hi everyone,

    so I thought I’d come give a quick update on my 3 1/2 year old Rottweiler, Trigger.

    He had TPLO surgery done on his right knee on January 13th 2012 and so far everything is going great! His post-op x-rays showed it healed well and he is walking fine on it. I did not have any complications, thank God! I used Dr. Philibert from the Ottawa/Gatineau region and it cost me about $4000, but was worth it.

    Back in February, unfortunately, my Trigger boy tore his left ACL…here we go again with surgery!! Well I got surgery done on him April 4th, 2012 and it is going great!…Guess what..it wasn’t TPLO this time, I did ExtraCapsular surgery (only cost me $1200!!!). Recovery is a little longer compared to the TPLO (it took him 1 1/2 weeks before putting weight on his left leg, compared to the TPLO that only took 2 days..) With that being said, I am still very happy with the results and am hoping the “lfishing line” holds. My Vet used 120 lbs line (my boy is about 100lbs) ..and he had to order it special since they normally do not perform this surgery on big dogs (they normally use 80lbs line). Anyways my Vet was happy with the surgery..so hopefully it goes well the next few months!.

    Same as the TPLO, post-surgery recovery at home is really key to how your dog will heal. I’m taking it really slow with my boy and am hoping all heals up well!

    So far, I think I should of done ExtraCapsular on his first leg instead of TPLO..not because TPLO didn’t work for me, but because the cost is soooooooooo much cheaper and the end results should be very similar!!!!

    anyways for anyone who is in the Ottawa/ Gatineau region and doesn’t want to do TPLO on their dog, go see Dr. Greg Varney (Varney clinic) on Principal Road in Aylmer…He is the ONLY one who performs other surgeries on dogs over 80 lbs!

    I’ve been going there for a very long time and love that place!

    Good luck with your babies everyone =)

  65. Tony Tohme April 18, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    Hello Jenn,

    I’m glad to hear your Trigger is doing great.
    Odds are if one knee ligament is gone the other knee will go too.
    My lab (2 year old) had hers done by Dr Philibert last week April 13. She is doing great, she started using her leg from day 2, the incision is clean and I’m happy with the result.
    Now she has another appt with Dr Philibert May 25 for her second knee :-(
    I feel bad for her she’s gonna miss the summer fun. I used TPLO because I didn’t want to risk it and after thorough research its seems the best method for large breed dog, plus my insurance covers 90% of the cost :-)

    Anyways, I have one litte concern, I noticed that around the incision there seems to be a black/Reddish spot developping, not sure if she is licking her leg during the night so I went and got her a E-collar and will monitor it for the next couple of days to see if it will go away.

    The cold patches definitely helped with the inflammation, however she (Keisha) have a high pain threshold so I grdually stopped the pain killer pills and kept her on the antibiotics/antiinflammatory but only because she didn’t seem to be not bothered, I can touch her leg massage it and gently stretch it without her getting disconfort.
    I hate pain killer pills and If it’s not really necessary I would stay away from them.

    So far so good and we still have a long way to go but I’m glad she’s through with the first knee.

    Good luck to all.

    cheers

    • jennb April 18, 2012 at 5:01 am #

      Tony,

      Good to hear everything is going well =) You will see, the first surgery is way more hard on you then the second. When you have more experience, you feel less stressed haha.
      As for the black/reddish marking..are you sure it’s not bruising? I know my boy seemed fine the first day, and then day 2-3-4..he bruised up pretty bad, but it went away pretty fast.

      Who are you insured with?

      When I spoke to pet insurance companies, they told me they’d insure one leg, but not the 2nd leg if it ever let go, because they know the chances are high of it happening (60%). ..you better make sure you’re covered for your May 25th surgery..
      How much does it cost you per month for pet insurance, if you don’t mind me asking? I looked into the President’s Choice pet insurance, which was the less expensive and had good coverage, but they were at 80% covered and only for one knee… I’m curious to know who you’re with =)

      Thanks!

      Jenn

      • Tony Tohme April 18, 2012 at 5:24 am #

        Hi Jenn,

        I’m covered under Trupanion insurance.
        The insurance is cusomtizable to fit your budget.
        Their coverage is always 90% but with different deductibles which will determine your premium,
        I chose the maximum premium which is 86$/month and 0$ deductible.
        It will never go up, coverage is not determine per occurance, so as many times per year as needed they will cover you always.
        Yes the other knee is covered.
        With the 86$ i included the extra benefits (hydrotherapy, accupuncture, hyp displsia)

        I bought the E-collar yesterday, I will keep an eye on it to see if it gets better.
        I should have gotten the e-collar from day 1 but I gave her the benefit of the doubt however she couldn’t help but licking it.

        Let me know if you have any other questions

        • jennb April 18, 2012 at 7:00 am #

          That is great to know..I will definitely check it out for my other 2 Rotties and Border Collie when they get older! thanks =)

    • Cathy May 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      Hello Tony,

      How is your lab doing? My Justice had TPLO done on April 26 as she completely tore it the day Chief had his final x-rays. Chief and Justice are twins and this just has to be genetic. Hips are great but guess weak ligaments are in the family somewhere. Justice is 9 days post surgery and is doing very well. Not the same surgeon that did Chief. Justice is very laid back where Chief is ADD so that is certainly helping. Justice will need her right side done as it is partially torn. Just hoping it holds out while the left one heals. I did not use Phillibert as he had a one month wait. Dr. Parker seems very competent and so far so good. I would not allow the surgeon who operated on Chief near my baby girl Justice.

      I am going crazy as I have been housebound since mid January with Chief and all his complications and now with Justice. The bonus is that Justice once her staples are out will be ok left for a few hours in the crate where Chief was flipping out despite being crate trained. Her staples come out next Thursday and I am praying all is ok with her and no further surgeries are needed. Guess I am just paranoid after my experience with Chief.

      Please let me know how your dog is doing. By the way what is your Lab’s name?

      Cathy

      • Tony May 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

        Hi Cathy

        I’m happy to hear justice is doing good.
        Don’t worry it’s not generic it’s just how labs knew angles are.
        My lab (Keisha) is doing great.
        She using her leg as I if nothing happened.
        But I’m keeping her immobile and in right leach.
        She’s in her third week so far

        I have another appointment may 25 for the other leg.
        Couple of advice based in my experience.
        If you have a crate, use it at night and when you’re away.
        Get an ecollar to prevent her from licking the wound.

        I didn’t have to be bound at home to look after her as I can’t take off from work.
        So during the day she is crated with
        And I got a lot of raw hide bones to keep her busy.
        I only take her out to singer business
        Your justice will feel brand new in her second week don’t get
        False sense of relief an let her roam without the leach her bones still need to be healed.
        I still have another 16 weeks before both legs completely heal and start on rehab and small walks.
        My insurance covers her hydro therapy which is good for her during rehab.

        Btw I stopped medications
        Except the anti inflammatory pills on the third day gradually as she exhibits no pain. I hate to keep her on pills that have a chance of damaging her liver.

        Keep her food at miniinum since she is not
        Active you don’t want her to gain weight.
        It’s not good for her knees.

        Keep in touch and let me know how justice progresses.

        Cheers.

  66. Janice April 23, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Here is an update on Lottie. She went back to see the specialist today, 6 weeks after her TPLO with major complications (the bone split). She still wasn’t taking weight on the leg and the antibiotics only kept the wound infection at bay. They kept her in to xray which showed the bone wasn’t healing. So its back to the begining, he’s going to get the infection identified to make treatment more specific and do a bone graft. Hopefully by next Monday he will operate again removing the plate to apply the bone gaft and take the metalwork outside the leg. This is all new to us and we would appreciate hearing of anyone elses experiences.

  67. Cathy May 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Janice,

    How is Lottie doing? Hopefully the plate has been removed and all is coming along as well as can be expected. It is so stressful on the dog and the owners.

    Chief had his final x-rays done nearly 3 weeks ago now and his external fixator removed. His bone was not completely healed but progressing well. His only restrictions for a month was either on leash or allowed off leash as long as supervised. In other words the surgeon did not want him running through the bush for hours unsupervised. He is allowed off leash on the trails as long as he does not go to far ahead of me. Things seem to be coming along and until today the only medication he is still on his anti-biotics. He is just finishing 6 weeks of them as prescribed to his staff infection.

    I think he over did it a bit today outside as he is limping slightly but still using the leg. Scares the hell out of you when this happens. My friend has a golden retriever who has had both legs done via TPLO. He said it was not uncommon for her to limp a bit for the first few months after her surgery if she did a bit more than usual. Probably just me being a concerned Mom.

    Please update me on Lottie when you have a chance.

    Cathy

    • Janice May 8, 2012 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Cathy
      Here is an update on Lottie. She went back to see the specialist 6 weeks after her TPLO with major complications (the bone split). She still wasn’t taking weight on the leg and the antibiotics only kept the infection at bay. They kept her in to xray which showed the bone wasn’t healing. So it was back to the begining, he removed the plate and did swabs of the infection to get it identified. She stayed at the hospital all week to give her time without the plate to get on top of the infection before anything else was done. The infection was identified and a week ago he did a different operation using fixators. There is a rod down the centre of the bone and three that go straight through the leg, plus some keeping these in place. Its a feat of engineering. But poor Lottie has trouble getting comfy. We were told to watch she didn’t catch it on anything, well today that happened when going back into her pen, one of the bars got hooked in the wires and she pulled it along. I phoned the vet and managed to speak to Charlie, he said it should be ok as long as she is still walking on it. He said they are all thinking of her as she has spent quite a lot of time in there. Since our insurance cover was used up he has kept costs down not charging for hospitalisation and one of her operations. She has a check up next Monday. I have been using the facebook part of this site and put a pic up of Lottie with her fixators.
      Its good to hear Chief is doing well. It can take a long time for them to reach 100% and its a heart sinking feeling when they develope a limp. Lottie has trouble every winter with her shoulder and the knee that successful TPLO.

      Janice

      • Cathy May 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

        Hi Janice,
        Thanks for the update. Sorry about all Lottie’s troubles. Chief wore an external fixator for 12 weeks after his second surgery. He had it removed 3 weeks ago today. His fixator was on the inside of the leg which allowed more stability for healing purposes. His plate remains in. Due to infection which appears to be under control but remains to be seen if it lasts as he just finished 7 weeks of antibiotics today. If the infection returns they will have to remove the plate.
        I have reduced his exercise the last couple of days and he is not limping now. His leg is a bit “wonky” but I think that is from the external fixator being in for so long. It was on the inside which prevented it from catching on things such as furniture, the crate, etc but it affected his walking as every time he walked the bar rubbed on his opposite leg. In fact he could not go downstairs unassisted until the bar came out. Going up was no problem. Hopefully the leg will get back to normal. As long as he can run and play without pain I can live with a little deformity in the leg if it does not return to normal. He will be starting underwater treadmill therapy as soon as Justice get her stitches out which is this Thursday. At that time I will feel comfortable leaving her in the crate while I take Chief for therapy.
        I am not sure how much I said in my last email so if I am repeating myself, sorry. Justice has been a charm since her TPLO surgery almost two weeks ago. I am not expecting any problems on Thursday when she see the surgeon to get her staples out but after my experience with Chief I honestly cannot say that I am not worried.

        Please keep me updated on Lottie. I understand how hard it is when they have external fixators drilled through their legs. Not pretty.

        There are days when I do not know how I am going to do it with two recovering from TPLO at the same time. I have to keep going. Justice will need her right leg done shortly after the left on heals so I guess I will be dealing with these issues for several months yet. I love my dogs. They are the only family I have so I will get through this.

        Cathy

  68. Lucy May 11, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    Wow. Lottie and Chief have had more than their fair share of difficulties. I hope things begin to steadily improve for both! Add Justice to my well wishes as well! You deserve clear sailing with her.

    Cathy, I have had two dogs with surgical rapairs from injuries sustained 9 weeks apart. There were days I felt a bit besieged. You will too. But in the long run, I always felt that doing two concurrently would be easier than two consectuively.

    I was able to double up on my PT (hydrotherapy) appointments, for example: One at 10 and the other at 11 on the same day. If it helps either of you… it’s worth the effort. Rave made a full recovery in 6 months. Stetson, had a few self inflicted set backs, but is also fully recovered from his TTO. It took him 9 months, because he’s such an impulsive, powerful goober, but he did it.

    You won’t regret the time or effort you put in once you see your dog as they once were. Sometimes, it may fall just short of that, but none the less, a good result. I see how fortunate I was to get two dogs back to 100%. Good luck. Wishing all speedy and uncomplicated recoveries from here on in!!

    • Cathy May 11, 2012 at 8:31 am #

      Lucy and others,

      Lucy you are so correct in that this will be all worth it when my dogs are as they once were. They are rural dogs with acres to run on, bush, atv trails, etc. That said I am always with them so they are in no danger and it keeps me exercising.

      Justice had her staples removed yesterday and the surgeon said things are perfect at the two week point. Today was official removal of the cone day. The surgeon wanted it left on one more day to allow the little holes from the staples to close over. She slept beside me last night on her bed on the floor and not in the crate. I think she liked that better.

      Chief is not limping anymore. I cut his exercise routine down for a few days to see if the limping would go away. This weekend will tell the story when he returns to more exercise. (Chief is 14 weeks post his second surgery and one month since the removal of the external fixator)

      Janice, how is Lottie doing now? Hopefully better and coming along in the right direction.

      My advice to anyone having this done is the following:

      1) You know your dog better than your vet or the surgeon. In my case Chief has ADHD. He is 7.5 yrs old but has never really left puppy hood. I knew he would need to be sedated to recover. The surgeon disagreed. I did not push the issue.
      Chief injured himself while at he animal hospital due to lack of sedation and he injured himself at home, yes even while crated. Once on the sedation he began his recovery. This whole story is just to say stand up for what you need for your dog as you know them better than the vets and could prevent a tragedy like the one that happened to Chief. I have learned from this situation and it will never repeat itself. I plan to own dogs forever so what Chief went through will not happen to one of my dogs ever again.

      2) Research the surgeon and his background. The second time I used a different surgeon but the same hospital and things are much better. Two reasons, Justice is much quieter than Chief and the new surgeon, Dr. Parker I believe is a better surgeon and also much more personable and certainly not defensive when asked a question that goes against what he might believe.

      Dr. Philibert has an excellent reputation in the Ottawa area. He is usually booked up for at least one month. At least he has been the two times I have tried to book him. Dr. Parker is also a good surgeon. Cost is about the same give or take $100.00.

      Good luck to anyone who is going through. Please let me know how your dog is doing.

      Cathy

      • Janice May 16, 2012 at 5:41 am #

        Hi Cathy,
        Lottie went for a check up on Monday. Although we feel positive about her leg at the moment as its in the right position, she is putting weight on it and the infection has cleared up, Charlie is still cautious about the bone healing. He says that if the bone has trouble healing once sometimes it stops trying. He wants to keep an eye on her and she has another check up in 2 weeks. The only medication she is taking now is the end of the antibiotics and rimadyl. How are Chief and Justice now.

  69. Cathy May 16, 2012 at 6:02 am #

    Hi Janice,

    Glad to hear Lottie is progressing in the right direction.

    Justice had her staples removed last Thursday and this Thursday is 3 weeks since her surgery. She got a great report and no problems to date.

    Chief started limping again last Sunday. This seems to happen when he is not on Metacam and after exercise. The surgeon said as long as there was no swelling or oozing of any time in the area of the operation then it is probably just muscle irritation. He said to keep him on Metacam for another month. Some dogs just take longer to heal than others. Given his lengthy infection, I personally doubt if much healing happened until the infection cleared up. I am trying to restrain him from too much exercise which is hard as Chief thinks he is still a puppy. This is unrelated but I am very nervous. Chief has to see the vet today as I found a lump – palpable, squissy, round, about the size of a prune on his right side in the rib area. It does not appear attached to anything and moves quite freely. Everything I have read says this is likely just a fatty lipoma. He is happy,active, eating, and there is no pain when I move this or push on it. With everything he has been through I have to wonder if it has something to do with all the meds he was on for so long. Chief is not fat although a big dog. I do understand that he is middle age at 7 and lipomas occur in middle aged and older dogs and not only overweight ones.

    If my luck could not get any worse, my ex’s father who I was very close to died last week and was buried on Monday. Monday night I had to rush my 2 yr old Shepherd into emergency. He has been staying with a friend while Justice recovers. Dale said that for a day or two Judge had not been himself but was still eating. I went over Monday night to see him and knew something was wrong. He was not the Judgie that I owned. He was sleepy, sad looking, gums were darker than normal and gooey and his breath was so bad
    I wanted to throw up. After some research on the internet, we decided to take him into Ottawa to Alta Vista emergency hospital instead of waiting to get an appointment with my vet. Initially the vet missed the problem after examining him but agreed something was wrong. She put on a pair of gloves and stuck her hand quite far back in his mouth. Low and behold she pulled out a stick about 2 inches long that was encased in both side of his upper gums. Infection had started but not too bad. He was put on antibiotics and metacam for pain. He is now back to his normal self.

    Not sure how much more of this I can take before I need some drugs myself. (lol)

    My prayers are with Lottie. I will let you know how Chief makes out today.

    Cathy

    • Cathy May 16, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Janice,

      Chief just has a lipoma – fatty tissue. I have to monitor it but after doing a fine need aspirate and testing it on slides the vet is 98% sure it is just fatty tissue. Wow, I can breath again now.

      Hope Lottie heals soon. It is so hard and even more hard on us owners I am sure.

      Keep me posted.

      Cathy

      • Janice May 16, 2012 at 11:27 am #

        Hi Cathy

        Thats great news, what a relief.
        We have two other dogs besides Lottie, one of them Lizzie has a fatty lump on her chest. It was checked by the vet in the same way and given the all clear.
        Hearing about what happened to Judge reminded me of an experience I had many years ago while still living at home with mum. She had a shepherd called Sheba and one day I came home from work to find my mum so upset as Sheba was scatching at her mouth which was bleeding and her paws were covered in blood. On looking into her mouth I could see a bone across the roof of her mouth, trying to scatch it out was only wedging it tighter. I calmed her and then pushing the bone back quite hard managed to free it. I felt quite chuffed with myself.
        I hope you feel better soon, its horrible when everything goes wrong at once.
        With Lotties misfortune my health has suffered, not eating or sleeping, fretting so badly. The worst time was the unexpected 2 weeks she was kept in the hospital. Thinking she must feel we’ve abandoned her.
        Recovery can be like a yoyo but we’ll be happy just to get Lottie back to swimming.
        I’ll keep you posted on Lotties progress and let me know Chief and Justice get on. I bet you can’t wait till the three of them are back together and this is all a distant memory.

        Janice

        • Cathy June 23, 2012 at 11:27 am #

          Janice,

          How is Lottie doing? I have not been on this site for awhile. Praying she is doing wel.

          Justice is now 8 weeks post surgery and goes for her final x-rays this Tuesday. She has done extremely well with no complications. Hard to believe she is Chief’s twin.

          Chief went back on Metacam for about one month or maybe a bit more and was doing great. I took him off it about two weeks ago and he seemed to be doing well until last night. He did have a slight mishap. Not sure how it happened but he and his brother Clyde were both walking up the garage stairs and somehow Chief’s left leg got caught on Clyde’s back. Yep the one he had operated on. He managed to get it off without falling. He was in a weird position for a moment. Later in the evening I noticed he was limping again. I put him back on metacam. This morning he was doing much better. We went for a 3 km walk on leash only and he started limping again near the end of the walk. We have only been doing leash walks for awhile now to give Justice time to rehab and Chief time to finish healing from his lengthy tplo nightmare.
          I am hoping he has just pulled something or it could simply be that he will need to be on some type of medication – metacam for the arthritis that is in his left leg. The last time he started limping he had not really done anything drastic either. A few days back on the meds and he was great again, doing long walks with no limping etc.
          Every time this happens with Chief I go into panic mode. I know I am doing everything I can for him but sometimes that does not seem like enough.

          Cathy

          • Lucy June 24, 2012 at 3:26 am #

            Oh Cathy, I know how it goes!  My 2 were 9 weeks apart healing from TTO surgery.  Raven was a no set backs, steady rehab and PT.  Stetson started out strong, too strong.  He was a bit rambunctious despite my efforts to the contrary.
            It doesn’t take much.  Believe the limp!  Dogs are stoic and seem to bounce back from what may seem a minor set back when in reality… they may have set themselves back 6-8 weeks. 
            In the way of as brief and explaination as I can make this, Stets was tethered when an errant woodchuck came into the yard.  Stets went ballistic.  He limped for the day and it was gone… it seemed.  So we went back to our routine. 
            I took him back to the surgeon… nothing structurally damaged.  He said it could take several weeks longer owing to the incident. 
            I’d also called the PT who said the same.  We continued the hydrotherapy.  I cut back on the walking, and gradually built it back again.  I did deep tissue massage, Warm compresses, and pain meds. 
            I was amazed as it really did take as long as they said!  In fact, it took him the FULL extra 8 weeks to just maintain where he was.  While Chief’s incidental injury may seem like it’s over.  You may want to take it easy, medicate as you are already doing, and don’t underestimate.

            I’m hoping for the most minor for you. Sometimes stuff just happens. It can’t be helped. Don’t be surprised if the limp comes and goes. Ease up when it’s there. Slow and steady… and he’ll get there. Give Chief some extra lovin’s from me.  

          • Cathy June 24, 2012 at 5:41 am #

            Hi Lucy,

            Thanks for your info. Chief is about 20 weeks post surgery – first surgery end of January and second one two weeks after due to screws loosening up. An external fixator was put in at that time. Earlier emails talked about this. He has been close to 10 weeks since the external fixator came out. The infection that he developed and the incompetent surgeon missed without a doubt affected his recovery. Note: Justice had a different surgeon.
            I may need to look into underwater therapy. There is a place I can go to but everything is such a drive from here due to living in a rural location.
            It is such a heart ache when every time he has a setback. For two months since he got his clearance he has been allowed only limited off leash runs as per instructions to give him time to heal fully.
            I will be asking the surgeon about Chief on Tuesday when I see him for Justice’s final x-rays and exam. This surgeon took over from the “bad” one. They work at the same hospital but don’t seem to really like one another very much.

            Today Chief is much better so I will take him on shorter walks until I talk to the surgeon.

            I will keep you posted. How are all your dogs doing?

            Cathy

  70. Carol May 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    hello everyone, my dog is 13 years of age and has torn ccl right stifle as the vet puts it.
    gave us an estimate of $3600. not sure what to do. They asked us if we wanted to put her
    down. What do i Do…???? what are my options with an older dog. she is not overweight

    • Kimber's Mom May 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      Hi Carol,
      So sorry to read that your senior girl has a torn ccl. Sadly, I lost two of my TPLO dogs to osteosarcoma (bone cancer) after the metal implants used in their procedures corroded in them. So when my 105 lb Shiloh Shepherd tore her ACL, I refused to have this procedure done on her. We looked into conservative management and long story short, she made a complete recovery withotut surgery. You may wish to get educated on conservative management and the protocols used. Also, if my dog absolutely would have needed surgery, I would had the traditional repair done. This is less invasive. You can always have an orthopedic brace made to aid in her recovery from surgery. The TPLO is an invasive procedure with many risks including cancer…. most vets do not disclose this information. I wish you the best with whatever route you decide to take.

    • Janice May 17, 2012 at 4:42 am #

      Hi Carol
      I agree with Kimber’s Mom, explore all avenues. TPLO is major surgery whatever the age, not to say that it wouldn’t work so well on an elderly dog, its just if there are complications it would be tough. There is so much out there now to help with mobility problems. In the darkest days of Lotties complications when I thought she might loose the leg, I found myself looking wheels for her. People have them why not dogs. One thing for sure is dogs adapt so well to their situation.
      Janice

    • Sherri May 17, 2012 at 9:31 am #

      Carol, definitely look into conservative management for your older dog, or the traditional repair known as Extracapsular Repair if you decide on surgery. It is muich less invasive and much less expensive. I have a 5 year old Rottweiler who weighs 105 pounds. He has had this procedure done on both knee’s with excellent results. The first knee was 2 1/2 years ago, he just blew his left knee three weeks ago, we are now two weeks post op from having the traditional extracapsular repair done and he has healed up with no problem whatsoever. Note that this is not the TIghtrope procedure, that is yet another one.

      Some dogs do indeed do very well with conservative managment and that’s something I’d certainly consider with an older dog.

      Also, in reply to the person that mentioned her dog’s acl tearing “again” after having TPLO? Cathy I believe you are correct. According to what my vet told me the torn acl is removed during the surgery. Even if it isn’t removed the ligament does not heal, it will only develop scar tissue around it. But I was told the torn pieces and debris are removed at surgery to clean up the joint. So lameness and loss of use after tplo would not be due to a ligament tearing “again”. Something else is going on there and I would be looking for answers. A lot of nasty things can crop up years after tplo so I would really want to know what’s going on in that leg.

    • Lucy June 24, 2012 at 3:56 am #

      Oh I’m so sorry. Put her to sleep? Oh goodness no. She may be elderly and you may wish to treat it conservatively with no surgery. She will need pain management. She would benefit from therapy if you have animal PT available in your area. Cold packs and pain meds will help. Walking will be leashed only potty bre aks for a while. Then gradually, very slowly begin leashed walking.

      The underwater treadmill is great as it allows the dog to use the muscles and work the restatance of the water. At the same time, they are relieves of some of the weight bearing. A bit later, swimming might be an option.

      You may wish to ask about a leg brace. There are 2 theories. Without the brace, the leg builds up scar tissue and that helps hold the knee together. The muscles redevelop and the leg works, tho there is generally a permanent limp. With the knee brace, they have less incidents of reinjury, but the muscles tend to recover more slowly as they are not called upon as stringently to support her. Ask and investigate. You will make the choice that is right for her.

      Last, the less invasive surgical options, such as a figure 8 are your other options. We opted for that route with our 11 year old Cocker Spaniel… and he lived healthy and happy to age 17! Now a larger breed, I’d have chosen differently.

      Weigh your options, and make the choice that seems best and right for both of you. Best wishes, and I hope she is feeling better soon.

  71. Lucy June 26, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Oh Cathy. You are so caring and responsible, of course your heart would be in your throat even with the smallest of setbacks. It makes ‘full recovery’ seem so very far away, and less unattainable. But it is attainable. It just might take 3 months longer that original expectation of 6 months. He’ll get there, too. Maybe a bit more time than Justice but it will come.

    I hope you are able to arrange that hydrotherapy. It certainly helps. The biceps femoris is sort of a stubborn muscle. It is the last (and bigest) to come back and is the one that gives the leg it’s overall normal and healthy look.

    Stetson has it now… and it took FOREVER! We put an ankle weight on him and worked on stairs for a month or so after the hydrotherapy. But he’s 100% now! He is, he IS!! It just took longer than Raven, but they are both there! YAY!

    Yesterday, Rave was limping slightly and intermittently on her left front. Then… she began licking! I checked. She had a 3/4-1″ slit on the outer aspect of her “ring” toe! I couldn’t believe it! So off to the vet! Well it’s clean and dry… no staple, thank goodness! That would have hurt!! All I can think of is “One foot two foot red foot, BLUE FOOT”, because she has a blue bandage! She put it down after the vet wrapped it and immediately picked it back up. Ya think she was holding out for a sling?

    Janice, what news of Lottie? Last I knew she was hoping to be swimming again soon. I hope the yoyo is on the way back up again for her.

    • Janice June 26, 2012 at 9:32 am #

      Hi Lucy,

      Here is a Lottie update…It was 8 weeks on Monday that Lottie had the operation to put four pins in her leg and for all that time there has been an infection at the site of the top pin. This operation followed a failed attemp to get the bone to heal which wasted 6 weeks. On Monday she went in for an xray to see if the bone was healing or not. Things are looking good, the xray showed signs of fussion. The pin where the infection is has been cut off as far down as possible and could now heal over. We have Baytril for another 2 weeks then have to report in by phone with an update. If all goes well she has an appointment in 4 weeks for another xray and the rest of the pins removed. If this happens he will want her to stay in for a couple of days. She isn’t a bouncy dog and eating and sleeping are her favourite passtimes, so it hasn’t been too difficult in keeping her still. I think we are still a good way off from swimming.
      It’s good to share our stories as complications are the minority, so can leave you feeling isolated.
      Thankyou for thinking of her.
      Janice

      • Lucy June 26, 2012 at 10:37 am #

        I’m glad Lottie is doing better. As you’ve mentioned, complications are a minority. This thread seems to give owners the “you are not alone” feel for which I am glad. In the end I’d like to believe most take time and end well enough.

        I’m glad he’s allowing a few days in for rest after the expected pin removal. I hope it’s healing more swiftly now. It should, with all that’s been done, it seems. Give dear Lottie loads of LOVE, as I am sure you do anyway… with a few of her favorite skritches from me.

    • Cathy June 26, 2012 at 10:55 am #

      Hi,

      Justice went this morning for her final x-rays and she is healed. Wow, what a relief after the Chief ordeal. She of course has to work back into a regular routine gradually but all is well with her. Chief is back to normal since being back on the metacam. The surgeon feels that he agitated the operated leg when his leg got caught up on Clyde’s back going up the stairs. Clyde tried to race ahead of him up the stairs and somehow Chief’s leg got caught on his back for a short time. He does has arthritis in this leg so it is likely he just upset an already sensitive area. He has to remain on the metacam gradually decreasing his dose and it is a wait and see.
      Hopefully we get the summer in before Justice has her right leg done which is already partially torn but managed with metacam. We all need a break.
      Tonight I get to go and sleep in my bed. I have been sleeping on the couch since early February in order to care for my dog(s) who were unable to do the stairs.

      Janice, I know all about pins in the leg and infections as Chief went through this. His external fixator was in for about 3 months. Previous posts have talked about his ordeal. It was a very trying time for all of us. I still have my dog, he is happy and we are slowly getting back to normal. All but my bank account. LOL.

      • Lucy June 27, 2012 at 2:46 am #

        Good news for Justice. Glad Chief is making some gains again, too. SCHEESCH! I thought I had it tough doing double duty with surgery on 2, nine weeks apart with all care running concurrently. Believe me… I got off easy by comparison!! I can’t tell you how much I admire you guys. Hope all goes better with the passing of a little more time.

  72. Melissa August 8, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    Hi all,
    my dog Duke has had 2 TPLOs in the last year and a half. First one, his hind right leg was operated on in March of 2011- our other dog had run right into him full tilt which resulted in an ACL tear. Then the other leg went within 6 months. He had his 2nd surgery in March of this year and in his first week he had a slight setback when he slipped and fell in the bathroom- I was heart broken thinking it for surely failed at that point. But after some anti-inflammatories and antibiotics he was good to go in a few weeks.
    The last month hes been walking like a champ, back to his old routine of 2 mile walks a day. However yesterday after chasing a squirrel up a tree, he began to limp again! He looks more stiff than anything so I am praying hes just sore and over did it. It breaks my heart seeing him go through these surgeries and hes only 3 years old!
    Is it common for a TPLO to fail after 5 months? Or am I just over reacting

    • Janice August 8, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      Hi Melissa,
      Our rottie had her first TPLO two years ago. We had problems months down the line after letting her go chase squirrels. It turned out to be some of the meniscus had moved and was protruding causing the discomfort. They way it was explained to me is, after the knee has been through TPLO the meniscus has to settle itself, usually ok sometimes not. Lottie had an operation to have hers trimmed and had the plate removed at the same time as this can sometimes niggle a bit. Since then we have let her off lead to run but not chase squirrels as this can be more of a twisting, turning run. Before the operation she was given lots of time and rest to see if it settled itself. There are probably lots of reasons for the soreness but this was our experience.
      I doubt the TPLO failed.

      • Cathy August 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

        Hi Janice,

        Sounds like Lottie is doing much better. So glad to hear this. You also had a hard time with her recovery. I am wondering if perhaps Chief’s plate should be removed after reading your post. There is still a possibility that they may have to do this as the surgeon explained that sometimes after a staph infection that it can come back as the infection can be hard to get rid of in the area of the plate.
        So far he seems to be doing really well except when running on rough terrain or rough housing a bit too much. Keep me posted on Lottie.

        If you read my post to Melissa, do you think it is possible that Justice’s right leg healed itself ? She is running like nothing is wrong with it and is off all meds. This is weird as I was planning on having her right leg done late this fall. I really needed a break after Chief’s rehab and then Justice right after him. Keeping my fingers crossed but not holding my breath that she will not need her right leg done.

        • Janice August 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

          Hi Cathy,
          Lotties first TPLO two years ago is the one I was referring to in my
          message to Melissa. The one done on the other knee this March is the
          one that gave us all the problems. We still have four fixators in her
          leg, each time she goes back for an xray he chops off a bit of the
          metal work on the outside of her leg. But the pins remain through the
          bone and to the inside of the leg.(really hard to explain without a
          photo). The bone is healing but slowly and he dosn’t want to rush it
          or we could find ourselves starting all over again. We are all so fed
          up for her. She’s starting to get smelly and needs a bath. The
          infection cleared up after chopping the pin down to below skin level,
          so it could close over. But last time she was in he chopped the second
          knee pin down, this isn’t healing at all as he left it a bit long and
          its irritating the skin making it bleed. It will be 22 weeks on Monday
          since all this started. She has an appointment for two weeks next
          Tuesday. keep your fingers crossed for her.

          • Cathy August 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

            Hi Janice

            OMG what a horrible time for you and Lottie. I can relate as poor Chief went through hell. He is doing better but I don’t think he will ever do as well as his sister Justice.

            Keep me posted. My fingers are crossed.

            Cathy

  73. Cathy August 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Hi Melissa,

    Your heart does sink when they start limping. Like Janice, I doubt that the TPL0 has failed.
    My german shepherd dog Chief had his left rear done in late January and the TPLO did fail which resulted in a second surgery, lengthy infection – 6 weeks+ of antibiotics. He also had an external fixator drilled in to the bone of his leg for over two months to allow it to heal. $4,000 operation turned into around $7,000.00. In Chief’s case I believe the meniscus was cleaned out during the first operation as it was damaged. To date he can walk two – three miles on even ground on or off leash and he is fine. I find when we walk on the atv trails which are very uneven in nature, it is not uncommon for him to limp after or if he rough houses too much with my other three shepherds. He is finally off all meds now and when he over does it a bit I give him a shot of metacam and he is fine until he over does it again. They did tell me that he had significant arthritis in the knee so perhaps this is why he limps on occasion. I have spoke to the surgeon over this and he does not think it is anything to be concerned over given his symptoms. His suggestion was to give him metacam as needed and only as needed, not everyday unless required.

    On the flip side Chief’s twin sister, Justice had TPLO surgery in late April on the same leg. Chief had just got his external fixator out and had his final x-rays where they determined he was not quite healed but healing, when she blew hers. It was the same day. A week later she had her operation. Her rehab was without incident and today she is running full tilt and never limps at all under any circumstances. They told me that her right leg was partially torn but honest to god since the left leg was repaired she is running like there is nothing wrong with her right leg. She is off all meds and has been for awhile.
    Is it possible for a partial tear to heal in a 97lb (not fat) german shepherd?

    I would talk to your surgeon about your dogs symptoms because we are only owners with experience with TPLO. I can certainly tell you about the hell I went through with Chief with his rehab and how heavenly rehab was with Justice. Two things Chief is ADHD and had to be sedated for two months while recovering and he had a different and I believe less than competent surgeon. Justice’s surgeon was great and he now looks after Chief also.

    Keep your head up I am sure Duke will be ok. 5 months is not that long and as explained to me some dogs take much longer than others to heal. Duke is young at 3. Chief and Justice are 7 and will be 8 in November.\

    Hope this helps.

    • Janice September 6, 2012 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Cathy,
      Just an update on Lottie. She had the rest of the metal work removed last Tuesday and was home the same day. I didn’t want to say anything too soon incase the bone broke again (I read a story of a dog with the same complication that this happened to) this has been at the back of my mind. But we are over a week away from this and she is having two 5min walks a day. she is limping but when you think its been 6 months altogether since any walking, so all her muscles will have become weak. She has a check up in 2 weeks. Hope Chief and Justice are doing well.

      • Cathy September 6, 2012 at 9:57 am #

        Hi Janice,

        Great to hear from you. I am so glad that Lottie is doing well so far. It is hard to be optimistic after having so much bad luck. Chief, Justice, Deputy Clyde, Judge and I are praying for Lottie’s recovery.

        Justice is doing very well. What I don’t understand is the fact that her right cruciate is also torn but she shows no signs of any lameness, pain, etc and is running like the wind. Can these actually heal and the surgeons do not want us to know that? Justice has been off all meds for several months.

        Chief is also finally doing very well. It is about three weeks since he has limped or needed any meds. I have had him on some atv trails which are rugged and these in the past have caused him to limp. Yesterday we went on a short bush walk – no trails at all. Walk was short more due to the heat. He did very well and they all had a blast chasing squirrels and chipmunks. I am not confident that this will last but maybe just maybe he has finally healed. The arthritis will probably act up from time to time and he will need some metacam.

        It is hard to watch them get older, Chief and Justice will be 8 in November and Clyde 9. Judge will only be 3. I hope we have many more years together and I will do anything in my power for this to happen.

        Keep me posted on Lottie.

        Cathy

  74. Karen November 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    I had TPLO surgery done for my Niobe a week ago on November 2, 2012. Right now I am just hoping and praying that she will heal nicely with this procedure. She is getting back to her happy self so I am keeping her confined. She has not put down her left hind leg as of yet, but the Vet said it can take time for that…..Is this true? I did not have the procedure done until 3 weeks after the injury. During those 3 weeks prior to the surgery she kept the leg up. So maybe this is just out of fear of the pain? I’m glad I found this website and just pray she doesn’t get any complications I am ready about on here. I can’t stand any animal hurt in pain, expecially my own.
    Karen (Huntsville, AL)

  75. Cathy November 13, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Hi Karen,

    Hope Niobe is doing better. Is Niobe using her leg yet? I do believe dogs heal at different rates. Most of on here are not experts just people who have been through this ordeal. I am the one you probably read about with the twin German Shepherds – Chief and Justice. Chief’s TPLO experience was hell, first surgery screws came loose, second surgery they installed an external fixator, infection that the surgeon missed (useless that guy was) and on and on. Finally we are back to normal. Chief is fully recovered and off all meds. He does have some arthritis in the operated leg so every now and then he take some Metacam but not often. His sister Justice healed completely in 8 week and was without incident. The rehab instructions must be followed. I did the same for both dogs. Some accused me on this site of not doing as I was told and caused Chief’s problems. This was not true and I will say no more because I have lengthy posts describing what happened. Both dogs now run like the wind despite turning 8 on Nov 18.

    It was hard to watch my animals in pain but in the end it was worth it as I have both my dogs able to run and play again. Some days will seem like forever but looking back on it is not as bad as when it is all happening.

    Please let me know how Niobe is doing. I would not wait much longer if she still is not starting to use that leg before having her checked out. Better safe than sorry. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if your not sure of your surgeon. I did and when Chief changed surgeons he received the care he required to heal.

    Cathy

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