Callie – CCL, TTA Surgery with Complications

Callie partially tore her CCL in November and had been doing underwater treadmill therapy and cold laser therapy with our holistic vet. She was doing better until a setback in April when she ran off the deck at a neighbor’s dog, tore some fibers but not completely torn. Then in June, she snuck out when patio door was open and sprinted to my neighbors and ran back and and at that point, she had torn it completely.

We immediately saw our traditional vet (holistic vet on vacation) and she confirmed a completely torn CCL and recommended surgery. So, we had surgery consult with a board certified ortho surgeon who recommended TTA surgery. I asked about stem cell injections and he said would not work with a full tear. So she had the surgery. Surgery went well but she was very antsy and had a hard time settling at night once home. She pushed out of her closed in area and climbed up the stairs 1 week after surgery. I panicked and called the hospital and they said as long as there is no change in her use of the leg, she is ok. There was no change as she continued to toe tap and was improving in ability to walk for the next 2 weeks.

Everything changed when the dreadful day came when I was driving her to her rehab eval appointment, she began to cry in the back seat and when I arrived at the hospital, she had already suddenly passed away. The ER doctor said he suspects a blood clot. My regular vet and the surgeon have no idea what happened and stated this never happens. My holistic vet however says it is always a risk with surgery.

I am devastated. I lost the love of my life suddenly at age 8. She was healthy. We followed holistic practices, good nutrition, supplements, low exposure to toxins. This should not have happened and I continue to search for answers. I came across this site in the hope that someone may be able to help me understand what happened to my beloved Callie because I am so heartbroken. If I could have changed anything, I would have looked into PRP (platelet rich plasma) or stem cell therapy when the CCL was only partially torn. However once torn completely, from what I have found out, surgery is the best option.

If anyone here has had any experience such as mine (and I am hoping no one has had to experience this tragedy), please reply to my post as I desperately am searching for answers.

9 thoughts on “Callie – CCL, TTA Surgery with Complications

  1. Its been 5 weeks now since we lost our Callie and I continue to wonder and search for answers. If anyone has experienced complications with TTA surgery or have experienced any similar situations, please comment. Thank you.

  2. Hello,
    I am so very sorry for your loss.. I have no insight to give as I am currently in the predicament of choosing between a TTA vs TPLO for my 8yr old pit 🙁
    I pray that she recovers well, and remains the happy, energetic, loving friend that she’s always been.
    Forgive me for responding to your post without having answers to your questions, but I just wanted to remind you that you were a wonderful parent to your Callie, and she was as lucky to have you, as you were her.
    Love and warm thoughts Xx

    1. Thank you for your kind and supportive words. My heart still aches for Callie. Its hard to believe its been 3 months since we lost her. I am coming to accept that there are no answers to what happened to her. I have come across the recent research regarding taurine deficiency and grain free diets and DCM and suspect may have played a role in Callie’s passing. So hard to tell. I wish I would have gotten a second opinion about the surgery but my guess is that other vets would have recommended surgery bc her ACL was a complete tear. Is your pit’s ACL completely torn? Have you gotten a 2nd opinion to help you decide between TTA and TPLO. I am not an expert on it, but what I read on this site and what I was told by Callie’s physical therapist, is that TTA has an easier recovery and less chance that body will reject the implant compared to TPLO. Maybe get a second opinion. Good luck to you and your pup. I will pray for healing.

  3. I am sorry to hear about what happened to your callie 🙁 I am currently trying to decide what route to go in for my 5 yr old furbaby.. I am just wondering if you could go into more detail about what you said regarding Taurine deficiency and grain free diets/DCM? (What does all of that mean? Definitely going to have to get surgery… just having a hard time deciding what type… and trying to find one with the least risk…) Any information/advice is appreciated. I hope you’re feeling better by the way.

    1. One more thing. I recently read some info about the Posh knee brace for torn ACL and people having good success with it. I wish I would have looked into this more for Callie. But bc she had been going for underwater therapy and chiropractic/acupuncture, it still ended up tearing completely so I assumed it would not have healed on its own if this PT didn’t prevent it. It’s so hard to tell. And it depends on the dog. Surgery definitely has its risks but sometimes it is unavoidable. Have you gotten a second opinion?

      1. I’ve gotten a few opinions… First vet said tplo…second vet leaned more toward tta but said either would be ok… Ive been on all the fb groups and everyone u talk to says something different… About to call siue and vss tomorrow and see what they say… I want to do a brace but EVERY vet i talk to say it wont help bc its completely torn and her second is injured on its way… I just have no idea… I know that we could just brace and do nothing but her arthritis will be worse if we dont do surgery… But im terrified of the complications…

        1. I hear you. I know its a very hard decision. I too asked both my regular vet and orthopedic surgeon about a brace and was told because it was a full tear, that it wouldn’t heal with just a brace. And that arthritis woiuld kick in. And it made sense to me bc the tear initially was partial and she did PT underwater treadmill for 6 or 7 months and had 1 set backs where the tear weakenend but not torn and then it tore fully. This happened despite the therapy we were doing and that made me believe a brace wouldn’t work if it tore despite the tx. I also worried about the other CCL tearing on good leg bc it would be carrying all her weight. Yet I have read about people using the Posh brace stating it was effective and did not weaken the other leg nor did it cause arthritis. I don’t understand how though. I had considered prolotherapy and platelet rich plasma (PRP) for her too but could not find a vet experienced with this. Have you looked into this? I have read many opinions stating that TPLO carries more risk of osteosacarcoma and implant problems that are harder to correct than implant problems with TTA. recovery from TTA is said to be easier too. Callie’s PT who is holistic, suggested TTA over TPLO once we decided surgery was the way to go. What breed and age is your dog?

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss!
    Am also searching for answers on my little doggie.
    She went for ACL repair surgery 2 weeks ago yesterday and has been her normal happy self, was even finding it hard to keep her still.
    Vet was happy with bloods etc before surgery and very happy with outcome and wound a week after, was a healthy girl with an ACL tare but she sadly passed away suddenly during the day yesterday.

    We don’t know what’s happened! We are all in complete shock and heart broken!
    Vet says coincident and couldn’t have been from the surgery eg no blood clot, as they don’t go close to any vessels etc
    No sign of infection or anything as she was her happy self and eating her food like normal.
    Vet also asked about snakes and spiders and if there was any vomit etc around, no marks on her and no sign of vomit or anything around. It’s a complete and utterly horrible mystery!
    She was such a beautiful healthy little 7 year old Westie and we are heartbroken! They take a piece of our heart each time a beloved animal leaves us!
    Hugs to you and your family in this hard time!

    1. I am so, so sorry that this happened. It is absolutely devastating. It doesn’t make sense bc your dog was recovering well from her surgery from your message. Our vets told us to keep her moving to prevent a blood clot. Callie wasn’t moving around as much as yours seemed to but I was getting her up and about several times a day and walking her on the sidewalk as suggested. I, unfortunately, have never gotten an answer as to what happened to my girl. It took me a long time to accept there is no answer but I have accepted it. I was devastated for a very long time. I had never experienced depression like I did when we lost Callie so I understand how you are feeling. They are like our children. The only explanation I could come up with is a blood clot. The ER suggested a clot. But I don’t know for sure and your vet said it isn’t near vessels to cause a clot, I really don’t understand this. I had started to suspect DCM bc Callie was a golden retriever and the research was just starting to get released on the correlation btwn DCM and grain-free diets but it has since been debunked so I don’t think this was a cause. I have had to come to accept that God was ready for Callie and that is why we lost her. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. If you end up getting answers, can you please share. Your situation is so similar to mine.

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