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TPLO Surgery for Large, Active Dog – Benson

Dog Needs TPLO for KneeBenson just had his last check up at 7 weeks after his TPLO surgery. He can now gradually start resuming his normal activities. We agonized over which method to persue after we learned he had a complete tear of his CCL. TPLO sounded so grusome!

We did a lot of research, including talking to a veternarian at our state veternary school. Because of Benson’s age (not yet three), size (large) and activity level (very activie and loves to run), we decided on TPLO.

He was able to put some weight on his leg the day after surgery. The first couple of days were hard because he had the plastic cone on and was still groggy from the anesthetic, but after that he did nothing but improve. We followed the walking/icing/knee movement instructions fairly well and cut down on his food as per the vet’s recommendation.

We are very happy with the TPLO surgery results. I took him to the dog park for the first time since the surgery and he was so happy to be off leash, even though it was for only a short time.

UPDATE 11/7/11 – Benson’s owner checked back in to let us know he is still doing great. He’s just about as fast as he was before the surgery (he definitely looks pretty happy in the picture!).

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36 Responses to TPLO Surgery for Large, Active Dog – Benson

  1. Lucy July 16, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I am pleased to hear Benson is doing so well! It’s nice to see the dog enjoy a bit of freedom, after such an involved surgery. I understand having a active dog very well. =) And 7 weeks is a long time to have to lay low.

    Now, you’ve been doing range of motion and walking were you or are you considering physical therapy? You mentioned you were near some university vet schools. So I thought perhaps… an animal PT as well?

    Rave is 4 weeks post TTO (below). We did dodge the plastic cone! I’ve wondered, can you get “Disney Channel” with those things? Happily for us, we did not need the doggy diet. Like you, we are very pleased.

    Keep up the good work, Benson! You said big, did I miss breed? Just curious. I like to have a picture in my mind, that’s all. ;)

  2. Jaime July 27, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    Our 60 lb lab-mix had TPLO just over 2 years ago. The surgery and recovery were tough to get through, but we’ve enjoyed a very active lifestyle since then. Unfortunately, as is very common after one CCL, she just tore the other CCL 2 days ago. Due to her age 10.5 years, we’re going to do the traditional repair this time around. Her surgery is next Thursday. I’m curious to see how the results compare. If I think about it in a few months, I will post an update to compare the 2 procedures.

  3. Lucy August 10, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    That will be an interesting comparison.

    I believe with post op PT you can carefully and systematically rebuild the musculature of the affected leg to near or equal the strength of the unaffected leg. This will greatly reduce injuring the remaining leg.

  4. Kirsten August 25, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    Our 2 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix was diagnosed with partial tears in both legs last night. After reading everything I can get my hands on, I really would like to do the TTA but the Canine Orthopedic Specialist we took her to said he has seen much better results with the TPLO. So we’re now facing the question of both at once or stagger them 6 weeks apart. We live 3 minutes from a Canine Rehabilitation Center (it’s Colorado, we are obsessed with our dogs here) so we will do rehab as soon as she’s cleared for it. Does anyone know someone who did both at once or staggered them?

    • Claire Postma January 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      I live in the Netherlands and my 80 pound crosbred Husky just had both hindlegs operated upon, with 6 weeks apart. She doesn’t show much pain but the first two days were terrible, and now we are 9 weeks after her second OP and she had a mild setback from her last operated leg, but we are walking 5 times a day for 10 minutes, that is what she is allowed now, and she is since a few days on anti inflamitory medication again,be cause of this setback, but hopefully she will come through fine, she is 3 years old and has had 4 operation, one front elbow, one operation on a hind leg, that didn’t go well and two tplo operations now and she can’t wait to take up her social life and run with her friends again. I am slightly hopeful. But doing both was a good thing for my dog so far.And I hope your dog will be okay after the operations again. And will have a good quality of live. So I think if the second operated leg had not been operated already, so it was a complicated operation, she would not have this setback now. By the way the first operation for my dogs hindleg was a TTA and it didn’t work for her. It only made things worse….

      • Jim & Cheryl January 26, 2012 at 11:13 am #

        Thank you so much for the information. we are dealing with a top notch surgeon in our area and he has recomended the TTA surgery kind of scarry?

        Dakota goes in on march 26th for his first surgury! This surgeon is recomended by several vets in our area,so I think at this point we are going to have to trust that he knows what he is doing. We are teriffied for Dakota, but will stay strong for him (He is our 120 pound Baby)

        We are going to work on getting some weight off of him but it is hard because he cant be active and we only give him 2 c. of food a day now. Jim & Cheryl we are from Hudson,WI.

        • Jim & Cheryl June 26, 2012 at 6:21 am #

          We wanted to let you know that Dakota had the tplo surgery in March and seems to be recovering very well-we still take him in to keep his hips adjusted! doing well.

          • Lucy June 26, 2012 at 10:48 am #

            Good to hear Dakota’s recovery is coming along. So you’re about 3-3.5 months into this… halfway there! Lots of leashed walking for now, I expect. I’m sure keeping his hip adjusted is helpful, and comforting. Do you have PT available in your area?

          • Jim & Cheryl June 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

            Yes our vet does PT. he hasnt been on a leash for about 3 weeks and is doing very well. We are so happy to have him doing so well!

  5. Lucy August 26, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    Oh dear. I don’t think there is a wrong answer here. Both proceedures have good success, and there is obviously no danger of tearing the other side… as it’s already done.

    And to confuse you even more, does the orthopedic surgeon offer what is being considered intermediate to the two you mentioned, the TTO?

    His story isn’t up yet, but 8-9 weeks after Raven had her TTO done, Stetson was in for the same surgery! In fact his staples come out today. I would recommend this surgery to anyone facing the situation. And I have had friends who have had TPLO’s and TTA’s.

    You are fortunate, as we are also, to have a Rehabillitation center nearby. Perhaps you could place a call to the center and ask what they think about having both surgeries at the same time, since I am not a professional.

    My own inclination would be to have both done at the same time. The reason being, I can see a benefit to more even muscular redevelopment. If you stagger the surgery, it would seem one leg will be 6 weeks behind. This may not give you and even gait which is needed for the “correct” muscles to engage.

    Another thing I’ve found is to have complete pain management. Initially, the dog will be on an anti-inflamitory. You will be grip wrapping ice packs to the leg(s) to manage swelling the first few days. At 7-10 days the staples will come out. After that stay on some form of pain meds. My vet and therapist agree, about 2 months. Talk to your vet.

    Then, depending on which proceedure you had done short(on lead only)walks will begin. Believe me, 100-500 feet out and back is enough twice a day. I learned from experience with Raven. Walks should be as limp free as possible otherwise, you may be strengthening the wrong muscles? I did just a bit more than I should have with her. No physical harm, but no help either.

    Also, you will need a sling! Google “4 Flags Over Aspen”. The non-fleece lined is $19. Lined is #27. Good luck! My hat is off to you. You will be doing two legs at once, and I am doing two dogs at once. =)

  6. Kirsten August 26, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    Thanks for the post-op help, I have been primarily focusing on the surgery and haven’t learned much on what to do after wards yet. I stopped by our rehab facility yesterday and spoke with their head physical therapist. She said without a shadow of a doubt she’d do a bilateral TPLO. She said she doesn’t like the results she’s seen from TTA and just like you said, rehabing both legs at once creates more even muscle development. Unfortunately it also creates a higher chance for complications, but I guess that’s just part of the deal at this point. Mentally I’m a mess, trying to figure all of this out. I just really want to make sure she’s not miserable for a month after. She’s such a happy dog, it would break my heart to see her so sad. I will definitely check out the sling and ask my vet for a pain management plan. Thanks!

  7. Lucy August 27, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    Kirsten,
    Most of us, I am sure, were mental messes. I know I was… both times! Absolutely no better the second time around. It’s pretty scary stuff. And you have the added concern of what if she’s in more pain due to both legs being done. The vet will undoubtedly have the dog on a morphine drip the first 24 hours at least. With 2 surgeries possibly your dog may have to stay an extra day in hospital with the morphine. As to being miserable for a month? With 2 legs it’s hard to say. Undoubtedly your sling will come in very handy! ;) Both of mine actually felt pretty by the second day. Between the Deramaxx and the gel ice packs, I’m sure you’ll see improvement very soon. She will still be a happy dog! That part comes back pretty darned quick, honest.

  8. C. C. September 11, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    My 8-yr-old Yellow Lab is on her 2nd day after TPLO surgery, and both of us are going nuts. I’ve put her in an old fashioned wooden playpen (vs. her crate) because I can reach her to do PT, feed her, etc. without worrying about her trying to escape. (She hates her crate and is beginning to hate the playpen.) She whines loudly and frequently. I can’t tell if she needs to go out or if she’s in pain. I’m concerned that I’m taking her out – on leash, with a sling – too often (4x already today, and she’s only been awake for 5 hrs). She has a Fentanyl patch and is taking Tramadol and Rimadyl. We have 2 other dogs who don’t understand what’s going on. One of them is very protective of Sandy and stares at me suspiciously when I do PT/icing. I have to send them both to the back yard before I can take Sandy out in the front yard, and the smarter dog (the protective one) seems to be picking up on that and is resisting going out.

    I guess I just needed to vent. You’re right that this is very scary. And extremely stressful. My stomach is in knots, and I feel like I’m on the verge of tears every moment. My husband is out of town for days, so he’s no help now. My 22-yr-old daughter has been great. I don’t want to complain too much to her. I love Sandy, but now we’re $3,000 in debt, I’m overwhelmed at the office, and I’m wondering if this will all be worth it.

    Any reassurance you could give would be appreciated.

    • Andrew Giaimo September 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

      My 7 year old black lab is on her 7th week post TPLO surgery. Day 1 (being away from home) was the worst. Day 2 being reunited with her Beagle brother – heartbreaking and touching. He too is very protective of her and upon meeting they held their foreheads together for five minutes as if they were hugging. 85 lb. labs aren’t the easiest to get around on a sling. The swelling is very common, so icing it and doing the PT’s is doing a lot of good. Dory’s surgery was $4,500 and at seven weeks post, was worth every penny. She is walking around the house. She even did a sneak jump on the bed. Tomorrow is day one of Water Therapy. If it is availble to you, I totally recommend it. Her surgeon said it’s one of the best PT’s for her. Of course, you can’t do until week seven or so. As, I can see the feeling of being overwhelmed and being on the verge of tears is also apparently very common. You’ll get through it. My social life is finally coming out of remission. But be patient and strong. For yur own sanity and your dogs. Some things I did get Dory to pass the time are Dog Puzzles. They are like 12″x15″ boards with little drawers filled with treats they have to maneuver around to get open. They have a variety of them. It keeps her mind active and brought her out of her depression. They also recommend Kongs to pass the time. Week one and two are the hardest. Week three and four get easier. You’ll start to notice major improvement then. Hopefully Dory will be walking around the block next week and on her way to her five miles a day soon after. She is seven years old and from the time she was three months old, we have never missed a day of walkingat least three miles, so the thought of her not walking at all every day was frightening. Thank God for week seven. Good luck. My writing skills are a little off tonight, sorry, but you’ll also find that a good bottle of wine will help out your own sanity during those nights of dog guilt. Take care and good luck.

  9. Lucy September 12, 2011 at 3:53 am #

    Most often, I’ve found when caring for an injured dog, that a calm matter of fact approach is often most soothing in the long run. Caring is OK. You don’t want to give the dog reason to feel sorry for herself. You want her to get about the business of healing.
    It isn’t always easy! We can well guess how painful and confusing it is for them. Still… she is on significant pain medication. A day or two “in the dumps” sort of, will pass quickly and you will see improvement! Honest! They are valiant creatures.
    Is it a playpen where the side panels just connect together and allow you a gateway? She really needs the crate rest. It is so important, Certainly you can see, with other dogs in the house and needing to walk with a sling, how confinement is actually a bonus. You will have weeks and months to gradually and methodically bring that injured leg back into shape.
    Raven is at 12 weeks, now. She is looking pretty good,actually. Basically, we go for daily walks. I find about 1/2 mile or 15 minutes per walk is tolerable. She does PT: We have a set of exercises to choose from. And, at this juncture, she does the underwater treadmill for 20 minutes weekly. It’s a s-l-o-w and gradual process. You will see.
    Stetson, is at 4 weeks. He can only walk to the end of the block and back twice a day. It takes t-i-m-e. He sees the vet tomorrow and after that, will start the same regulated and methodical PT on the 29th. It really doesn’t help to rush things.
    Now you will likely be walking the dog for short potty distances only for a while. Your vet will likely have you using a sling most of the time. You chose an excellent proceedure for your dog. Know that if you follow thru slowly and methodically rebuilding those muscles, thus avoiding further problems… she will recover well! Don’t give up. Be consistant. It takes at least 6 months to a year of hard work depending on the dog, the proceedure and your dilligence. I am sure you will have no trouble in the dilligence department. You love her!

  10. melissa October 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    my 5 1/2 yr old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is currently at the hospital recovering from the TPLO surgery she had this am. I am scared and nervous about her coming home. I am afraid i will give into her pleas to play with her sister and get on her favorite couch. How careful do you really need to be?
    thanks

    • Lucy October 13, 2011 at 12:51 am #

      Very careful! This is involved surgery. It is the equivalent of a surgically broken leg. You will need a sling, in fact, to help her in and out of cars for some time to come.

      Initially, you will need the sling just to help her get around.
      She will arrive home pretty much not wanting to do anything at all. The several few days, you will be grip wrapping gel ice packs to her leg 2-3 times a day. She will be on pain/antiinflamitory medication.

      She will be allowed on lead potty breaks only for quite some time. In my opinion nearly 6 months, while she is rehabilitating and building that muscle back to within 1/2 inch of the other side.

      Rebuilding that muscle to a “safe” point takes months. One of my dogs is 4 months post surgical and has only just been approved for trotting, on lead. She won’t be approved for running for a few more weeks, until her measurements come up to within that half inch differential. To allow them off lead or to “play” with their friends could cause a tear on the other side. In the beginning, before bone fills in and heals, you could cause problems with the surgery itself. Do not fool yourself that way, as it will be the dog who suffers.

      Please, take it to heart when you are advised not to let them play. Listen when they tell you “on lead only”. One of my two is a constant battle for me. He wants to initiate play. He hasn’t even had his first post op x-ray yet! My girl (9 weeks ahead of him) is much better about it. The boy tries at least daily the last week or so. I can not allow it without risking injury to the other leg, and… quite frankly? This has been involved, time consuming, difficult, and expensive enough. Not that I complain. I love them and want what is best for them.

    • Andrew October 13, 2011 at 4:21 am #

      EXTREMELY! They will give you a list of instructions. Follow then to the tee! The bigger the dog, the longer the recoop. You don’t want to make it longer than she has to AND you don’t want to pay another $4500.00. No matter how much she’ll try and guilt you into letting her on the couch and “ruff” housing with her sister, don’t give in. She is going to try and mask the pain to make it look like sh’e all fine…she’s lying. Follow the orders of the vet. I found that a calendar helps and making little milestone treats make it seem not so long. Cut her food in half and get her something to occupy her mind, i.e. kongs, dog puzzles (yes they do have them), etc. Be patient and follow the instructions of her surgeon and she’ll be back to almost normal. DOgs who tear the one ACL are prone to doing the other, so my lab is going to be retiring from Frisbee, but everything else is almost great. 12 weeks post op on TPLO. She’s even taking swim therapy and by cutting her food in half is able to get in that two-piece collar. :) Good luck.

  11. C. C. October 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    First, to Melissa. Please don’t let her play or jump onto furniture unless you want to repeat this surgery!

    Second, to Andrew and Lucy, thanks so much for your encouragement! Sorry I didn’t get a notification that you’d written, because your responses were very helpful and would’ve reassured me. We’re now into Week 5, and Sandy is doing much better. She’s smiling again. We walk her several times a day, just a half block and back, or around the house. She’s always walked on leash, and she’s not allowed to climb stairs or get up on furniture. My daughter or I sleep on an air mattress beside her every night. I worked from home the first 2 weeks, then worked half-time at home, half at the office for the next 2 weeks, now am working full-time at the office. We kept her in the playpen (with sides that opened up so she could walk out) for 10 days. Now we’re keeping her confined in our carpeted TV room with a baby gate at the door so that she and the other 2 dogs can see each other and touch noses.

    I took her to the vet 2 weeks post-op for a checkup, and he said she looked great. The following week when she went off meds, was tough. She whimpered a lot, and she didn’t walk as well as she had when she was medicated. But now she rarely limps, although in the evenings she’s a little creaky sometimes.

    I took her back to the vet at 3 1/2 weeks post-op because a nodule had popped up on her incision, but the vet wasn’t worried, and now the nodule has disappeared (maybe related to sutures dissolving?).

    At 8 weeks she’ll have x-rays to be sure the bones have healed properly, but she’ll prob. have to walk on-leash (and be kept off the furniture/stairs) for a while after that.

    So yes the first couple of weeks were very stressful, but I think it will be worth it! Thanks again for your comments.

    C. C.

    • Lucy October 13, 2011 at 1:12 am #

      Yes, It does get easier. I’m glad to hear C.C.’s coming along so nicely! Time seems to pass less quickly when you are in the middle of something that causes stress and worry. You’re doing a great job!

    • Andrew October 13, 2011 at 4:26 am #

      Great to hear sh’e doing well. Dory is on her near 13 week post op and doing great. Loves the swim therapy. Appreciates her walks more (even though, they are only a block long). She is making strides. The vet said she has about 8 – 9 weeks before FULL recovery is expected. Which will make for about almost 5 months total. After week 8 though, it’s been great. We’re hoping that LIfetime will do a TV movie about her struggles and triumphs. :) Good luck

      • C. C. November 30, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

        Suddenly we’re struggling again. Sandy is just past week 11 post-op. We’re walking her 3x a day, once around the block, once to the end of the block and back, and once around the back yard (always on leash). I also take her very slooooowly up or down the back steps maybe once a week. She is very creaky when she gets up from a nap, but once she starts walking, she’s fine – no limping, and she doesn’t seem to be in pain. She lets me touch her leg w/o pulling away. I’m debating whether to take her back to the vet, because they’re going to charge me for the assessment x-rays/anesthesia, and I’ve already paid them $3,000+. I asked if they couldn’t just look at her and see if she’s progressing ok, but they insist on x-rays. If the x-rays show a problem, we can’t afford to “fix” it. So do I pay for peace of mind? Or will I be paying to find out that we may have to put her down because the leg hasn’t healed properly? My daughter poo-poos me, because she says I’ve been extremely careful with Sandy. (I’m still sleeping downstairs with her on a mattress on the floor, and we keep her barricaded in that room with a baby gate, rarely letting her out.) I’m tired of being so careful. If I’d known it would be this difficult, I’m not sure we’d have gone through with it. Advice?

        Thanks in advance.

        • Andrew November 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

          CC, it’s a natural reaction to be worried. Dory had her surgery in July and I still treat her like china. It’s getting colder now and, like people, I would imagine the cold air will effect their joints and muscles more. Have you tried any water therapy to strengthen the muscles? Maybe, it’s her body telling her that it’s not time for those three walks. Try lessening them for a bit and see if that alleviates the creekiness. AVOID the stairs, too. My doctor said she may not be ready for those until January. (6 months pre-op. Vets are very expensive. I hear your pain and too are reluctant to take Dory in for her last xrays. $200 a pop everytime. Good luck and my prayers are with you and your dog.

          • C. C. November 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

            Thank you, Andrew. I’ve been reading a TPLO website that encourages exercise, slow stair-climbing, curb-walking, hill-walking, stand-ups and sit-downs, etc., even at this stage. Based on that, I’ve worried that we weren’t giving her enough exercise. I think I will take her to the vet. Our Christmas won’t be quite as generous, but hopefully the vet will reassure me, and that will be a nice gift in itself.

            Thanks again,

            C. C.

        • Lucy December 1, 2011 at 3:38 am #

          Oh CC! You are concerned, but let me try to allieviate some of your concerns. Sandy is 11 weeks post op. If she hasn’t had her post op x-ray she is overdue anyway. It is “normal” to do that at 6-8 weeks to make sure everything is healing well and bone is filling in properly.

          At this juncture, there is usually no specific healing or physical problems. Is Sandy still on pain meds? She should be! My gril Raven has taken Tramadol 2 tabs twice a day for at least 4.5 months before she did well enough to be without it.

          My boy Stetson is another story! He was on the same dosage, and he’s his own worst enemy. His x-rays showed perfect allignment of the implant and great new bone growth. This means everything is A-OK! Once past this point, with his type of surgery, there are no specific worries that something will “undo” itself.

          He is at 16 weeks, now, and I called the vet last week again. He’s had the exam and the x-ray. What he needed was an increase in his pain meds. He’s a bit dorky and impulsive now and then and keeps getting soft tissue injuries, which take literally weeks and weeks to heal. This impedes his progress, obviously.

          He is now on Tramidol 2 pills 3 x daily, and has room for increase to as much as 3 pills, 3 x daily. He has also been placed on Rimadyl, 2x daily. The added pain med has helped tremendously and we are again on our way to healing.

          What I am saying is there is likely nothing wrong, take her in. It may turn out all she needs is either pain meds, or an increase in her pain meds. If she hasn’t had her post op x-ray get one so you will know she is healing properly. Once you have that assurance, there is only the remaining 6 months + of walking and therapy.

          Get her on and adjust as necessary, her pain management regimen. Some vets sometimes tend to ignore this aspect. Point it out. It is crutial to the recovery. This may be all your girl needs.

          Also, are you doing daily deep tissue massages? You should be. I do Stetson 2-3 times a day! It helps stimulate the bloodflow and promotes healing. Your vet may offer cold lazer treatments which accomplish the same thing.

          • C. C. December 3, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

            Thank you for responding – Sandy has an appt with the vet for x-rays on Tuesday. Fingers crossed that it will go well.

            She’s having a bad day — after days of cutting back on her exercise, being especially careful on her walks, this morning I turned my back on her for a few minutes and she climbed up on the couch. I helped her off by holding her hips, but she’s now terribly creaky. And it’s BOTH legs, not just the bad leg. I was interested in what you said about “soft tissue injuries.” I hope that’s all it is. Usually when she gets going on a walk, the creakiness disappears and she seems absolutely fine, exhibiting no signs of pain at all. I hope she’ll be ok tomorrow morning. This evening she planted herself in the front yard – wasn’t interested in walking at all. Now she’s snoozing beside me. She doesn’t weep or whimper at all, as she did for several weeks after her surgery – I hope that’s a good sign.

            The vet took her off pain meds @ 2 weeks post-op. I will ask him about putting her back on them. And I haven’t been doing deep-tissue massage because he didn’t mention that. I do stroke that leg/hip, and she seems to like it.

            Thanks again for responding. On Tuesday I’ll post the results of the visit with the vet.

  12. Lucy December 4, 2011 at 4:01 am #

    Sandy, if I’m remembering correctly, had the TPLO. As a more involved surgery, perhaps only 2 weeks on pain meds is insufficient. Tho I imagine some vets think, if it hurts a little they won’t try things they aren’t ready for. Yet, even if that was the case, Sandy forgot herself and jumped on the couch. Don’t beat yourself up. I used to leave a few shipping boxes on the couch. It seemed to do the trick!

    I’m looking forward to hearing what your vet has to say when he sees her. You must be so worried. Stetson is doing better with the increase in his meds and an anti inflamitory. I’m hoping soon you will see a similar result with Sandy!

    Just keep in mind that soft tissue injuries (if that’s what the vet decides) take a very long time to heal. It would not be unheard of for her to reinjure, even slightly, from time to time. It’s a discouraging set back, but you deal with it as it happens. You do your best in the mean time, and otherwise simply manage the pain with drugs.

    Your vet might show you a diagram of the musculature of the dogs thigh. He can show you how to do a deep tissue massage: The sartorius* runs along the front aspect. It is very ropelike. Slightly behind that is the tensor fascai latea. The middle gluteal it high on the hip with the superficial glutesl just behind. The biceps femoris* runs from the back (near the anus) down across the outer thigh to the front of the knee. Obvously there are more but the main ones where tension resides is the sartorius and the biceps femoris. You run your fingers along the length of the muscle (in the same direction they exist). For the sartorius, use the thumb and forefingers. The biceps femoris is likely very shrunken and withered at this point. It is a very large muscle, that on your healthy side will likely be a bulging mass. This will be one of the last to “come back”. What massage does? It stimulates the bloodflow to the area, relieves some tension, and promotes healing.

    I do deep tissue massage before exercise, so the muscles are supple and warmed up. But I don’t expect it matters in the end, whether it’s before, after or in between. I like to focus a bit on the gluteal muscles as they (not having been cut into) may be used to compensate for the more injured muscles… making them sore. I also like to massage the back of the knee as it seems to help my dogs relax, and allow some gentle range of motion exercises. Remember to massage the unnamed muscles on the inner thigh too.

    Cold lazer treatments may also be an option your vet may offer. The result is along the same lines as the deep tissue massage. The massage, however can be done daily, and your don’t have to go in to the office. I generally do twice a day. I may do three if there seems to be a problem. Mine push each other out of the way for first crack at a massage. I’ve had Stetson “present himself” with intent to get a massage when he wants one. They like it! It must feel ever so good. AHHHHH…… =)

  13. C. C. December 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Sandy’s bones have healed! We can let her off leash for 5-10 minutes at a time (but not to bolt around the yard), increase the length of her walks, and can even let her take stairs carefully. But I’m not comfortable doing ANY of that now. She’s in a lot of pain today, maybe because the vet had to manipulate her leg during the x-ray, maybe from getting in/out of the car. She has been whimpering. I wish I’d gotten some NSAIDS for her – didn’t think of it. I’ve been putting a warmed towel on her hip/leg, and she seems to like that. We’re going to take it easy with her for a couple days and then will start walking her a few days a day again. Thank you all so much for your help! I’ll be back, I’m sure.

  14. Lucy December 7, 2011 at 2:41 am #

    Then call him back and ask to speak with him on the phone. Explain your concerns on Sandy’s pain. He should be willing to grant you a prescription for you to pick up. Mine did! In fact that’s exactly how I got the increase in his Tramadol dose and the addition of the Rimadyl. Make the call! Good lord you’ve spent enough money there… you just forgot to ask. It doesn’t take a separate visit. Just say you need to ask him about pain meds as you forgot the day of the appiontment. If he’s busy have him call you back.

    Do it. It’s not fair to Sandy to be in pain or uncomfortable all the time. And I don’t know if I agree entirely with the 5-10 minutes off lead, just yet. Now. I’m not the vet of course. If you have a calm dog whom you can stop from running (of course just now she’s in so much pain, she won’t want to anyway) then don’t risk it. It’s not the “healed leg” you need to worry about, it’s the other side! The healed one is fine… just painful.

    But until those muscles are rebuilt thru leased walking, etc. I wouldn’t want to risk the same injury to the other leg. Just IMHO.

    I am so very happy to hear her bone is well healed. That means she is at least on her way. It’s a giant step in a very, very long and tedious process. But it’s one hurdle out of the way. WTG, Sandy!

  15. C. C. January 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    We’re nearing the end of the 4th month now. Two weeks ago a neighbor, seeing Sandy laboring, said it looked like arthritis and offered some leftover rimadyl (her poodle was unable to take them). I’m giving her 75mg twice a day, and she’s doing MUCH better. It makes sense. I’ve been so cautious with her lately because she has been creaky that I haven’t been walking her as much. And of course it’s very cold now – no wonder she’s creaky. Now she loves her walks. I even let her off the leash once a day. She doesn’t run or even trot … just pads around the back yard, nose to the ground, happy as a clam. I’m also giving her Cosequin DS 3x a day and will continue that for another month or so, then will drop back to once a day. I’m not doing deep tissue massage but more of an effleurage, and she loves it.

    The supply of rimadyl is almost gone. I’ll take her to the vet next week and see if he agrees that it’s arthritis and will give me a bottle (of the cheaper, generic stuff!).

    I’ve still been sleeping downstairs with her, but my husband insisted that we get rid of the mattress on the floor, and I can’t take the couch anymore, so I’m going to head back upstairs and hope Sandy will come too. Thanks to you all for your advice.

  16. Lucy January 5, 2012 at 2:51 am #

    At 4 months, both of my dogs were still on both a pain medication AND an antiinflamitory. Rimadyl is used for arthritis, and also as a general antiinflamitory. Your dog does not need to actually have arthritis in order to benefit.

    There is no generic equivalent and it IS expensive, but there are other medications. My boy Stetson could not take Deramaxx, it made him vomit. Rimadyl made him queezy (lost appetite) and nauseous as N-saids often do. The final solution,for him. was the Tramidol for pain, and Meloxicam for inflamation.

    Talk to your vet. See that he or she thinks. If your dog is limping and holding back, then there is likely still a bit of pain. And I agree that cold can be a very good reason. However, one small caution. Your dogs pain has held her back from “doing too much too quickly”. Once she has less pain she will want to do more.

    This is where you, as the responsible owner, can be vigilant and err on the side of safety. Put her on a leash. She needs lots of on leash walking… not running or trotting yet. Forgive me, but I’ve had this drilled into me by an excellent Physical Therapist. I beleive it has been crutial in the recovery of my dogs.

    Raven came along nicely, problem free. Stetson is a bit more impulsive and rambunctious. So even on lead he would do something to cause himself and injury. Soft tissue injuries take 6-8 weeks to heal, and the throws a monkeywrench into his recovery. So it is wise to keep your dog on lead and simply control the walking… lots of it.

    Good luck. I’m glad you found the Rimadyl works.

    PS: Stairs are still probably a bit much for her just yet.

  17. Brad E January 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    I have a German sheppard that is 3 days post opp TPLO on first leg and she has other leg in 4 weeks.The bad thing all 3 ligiments in both legs tore.So its making it alot tougher on her.She doesnt want to put any weight on the TPLO knee and the other knee is real bad so its breaking my heart to watch her go through this.I hope in a couple of days she starts to try to put weight on it. As of now I have to use a towel to walk her and im going to order a rear harness tomarrow to help.Also she still has alot of swelling and bruiseing.Also they done the most recent tear first and the other leg was in worse shape,and the Doctor said he did that to lessen the risk of arthritus.So it is really tough on her cause the other leg is very lame.So I will post her recovery process.

    • Lucy January 16, 2012 at 3:19 am #

      Oh Brad, your poor girl. This must be heartbreaking for you to watch. And you’ll be watching it all over again in a few weeks. I am guessing the fact that all 3 ligaments were torn in both legs had something to do with not doing both surgeries at once? It would seem likely as most advocate doing the legs at the same time. Perhaps it was too involved to do both.

      Oh yes. Do get a sling, at least. I got mine at 4 flags over Aspen dot com, the unlined is $19.00 and the fleece lined is $27.00 in the large (Shepherd size). It makes life easier on both you and your dog.

      It will still be heartbreaking to see her potty. Urinating will be difficult enough. She won’t have a bowel movement for a few days as she was without food for the surgery. Pain will hold her back a bit, but I’d expect it to be very uncomfortable for her. Fortunately, she is a girl. You won’t have to remove the sling and may be able to give some light support? For a boy you’d remove the sling for urination.. Hopefully your vet sent you home with a fentanyl patch and a good supply of pain meds.

      Icing the leg helps. I used the reusable gel ice packs secured with grip wrap a few times a day. My dogs would raise their legs just a bit when they saw the ice pack coming. It showed me they knew it would help.

      The first day is the worst and you are past that, now. One day will dissolve into the next and you begin to notice the improvement! You’ll be very protective and cautious. You’ll focus on even the smallest details, as often happens when we see our dogs going thru something like this. Each day it will get better. She will improve and she will heal.

      Do you have animal physical therapy centers in your area? I am fortunate to have one. My PT is about an hour away. You have time, search. See what you can find along the lines of hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill) or, eventually swimming.

      I will be thinking of you and your gril a lot over the next few days. Come back with updates and concerns. This first part is the toughest… on BOTH of you. You will not be at ease until they have passed.

    • Jim and Cheryl Levers January 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      Hi Brad we have a 120 pound golden retreiver that has the same thing going on both acls are bad and have been given the notice from our vet that we have no other choice other than to do both surgeries,so we are looking for a surgeon in our area right now! we hope that it will get better for your baby. we swear that our golden was breed with a horse he is so big we have a female named Bailey that had both of her femoral heads removed when she was 7months and 12 months old she had severe double hip displacia and she is 6 years old now and is running and jumping like a pup she is doing awesome. We are hopeing to help Dakota back to a good life too. one thing that we swear by is a product called Dod gone pain or dog pain away made by Estrella Naturals its for hip and joints and is all natural and not very costly you can check online for the product. It has done our female wonders over the cosequin ds tablets. would highly recomend it. hang in there the altermantive is putting your baby to sleep wich would be more painfull so even though youve been dealt a tuff road lets hope her quality of life will return like our Baileys life was spared and have had 6 wonderfull yeras and going strong. We are not looking forwadr to this journey but now know that we have no choice . :-)
      Jim & Cheryl (Dakota)

  18. Rose March 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Hello to everyone, I will just be embarqing on the journey you have all been on recently. Sometime (hopefully) in the next month. My 2 &1/2 year old Rottie/Boxer mix, Rosie has torn her right CCL and partially tore her left-chasing a squirrel of course. Long story short she has to wait to have the surgery #1 because theres something going on w/her liver and #2 Im looking for some finacial help w/it thru different programs. But I did want to add a comment suggesting having your Vets call in prescriptions to Walmart or possibly another Drug Store. Rosies been on antibiotics for her liver and Tramadol for her pain for 2 months now. The 1st time I got the meds from the Vet and it cost an arm AND a leg.Now that I get them@Walmart its ALOT cheaper! Unfortunitly not all Vet meds can be gotten@any drug stores but you might be able to ask your Vets for a human equalvilant. I have saved over $200 so far! God Bless and good luck to you and your best friends :)

  19. Cathy April 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Hi,

    Guess I am not alone. My 7 year old female german shepherd named Justice partially tore her right cruciate ligament last fall. My vet thought it should just be managed for the time being. I planned on getting her done but was hoping to get through to spring as I live alone in the country and things get very icy. In early January, Chief who is a twin brother to Justice came in from playing one day with a torn left cruciate ligament. His situation could not wait as it he was in pain. Within 3 weeks he had his surgery and the nightmare began. I have posted many times about the multitude of problems with his surgeries. Yes plural surgeries X 2 on the same leg. Just today Chief saw the surgeon for his final x-rays and the removal of his external fixator. All went well except that his bone is not quite healed but doing well. His only restrictions now are no fast running and no jumping. It is best that he be kept on a leash for another month and keep increasing the lengths of his walks. This is all good and he seems so happy.
    This evening I was out in the back yard with Chief, Justice and Clyde (my 8 yr old Shepherd). They were playing a little but nothing excessive. The next thing I know Justice is limping bad and it is her left leg not the right one that has already been diagnosed as a partial tear. I don’t have to be told but she has torn her left cruciate. For the past week after completing our walks she has been limping on the left leg on and off but not toeing with it. I thought until tonight that she might have just been sore from running so much after a relatively quiet winter due to lack of exercise as my time was devoted to Chief. Chief had so many complications that I could not leave him without having someone with him thus Clyde and Justice lacked exercise. It looks like I am starting over with Justice and real soon. Both legs need to be done. I am not sure if mentally I can go through this again. I have basically let my business slide and stayed home since January to take care of Chief. I have not slept in my bed in about three months. I have been on the couch as Chief has been unable to do stairs and needed 24/7 supervision. I am feeling sorry for myself but I can’t believe that the same day Chief is finally better and I can now leave the house without having him watched, Justice completely tears her left cruciate. I believe this must be genetic somehow to have this happen to them both at the same time. My 8 year old who is not related does not have these problems. I would have expected him to have this type of problem first as he is quite overweight and not as active as Chief and Justice. My twins are very large German Shepherds and perhaps slightly overweight by some people’s standards. That said they are both very active and come from huge lines – Mom 105 lbs and Dad was 110lbs.
    Any words of support will be muchly appreciated.

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