Conservative Management and Tightrope – Ellie

conservative management and tightrope

When Ellie, our 55-pound boxer/pit bull mix, was 3, she tore both ACLs within a couple weeks of each other. Our then vet immediately told us to have TPLO as soon as possible. However, My husband and I took to the Internet to see what we could learn about the whole ordeal. We opted for conservative management first. We did that for 6 months and she totally restabilized. She wasn’t limping or really nursing her knees at all.

Around the 6 month mark, however, her right knee started making a clicking noise every time she moved it. We then found a surgeon who said she had also destroyed her meniscus. He said that having the tightrope procedure could decrease her chances for arthritis later in life. We had the surgery and followed it up with 4 months of no running or jumping. We even blocked off our furniture and all of us sat on the floor and dog beds for that long. After 4 months we let her return to normal (we had been working slowly on increasing her walking, etc) and she’s doing great! We haven’t had surgery on her other knee yet because she shows no need for it and our surgeon said to wait until she seemed like she needed it. I think it’s important to note that this surgeon outright refuses to do the TPLO Surgery.

2 thoughts on “Conservative Management and Tightrope – Ellie

  1. how is she doing now? it’s such a horrible experience to go through. I tried conservative management on my own dog for about 10 months. He was improving slowly but he was improving. He can walk, run, but his gait changed and it just looks like he was dragging his leg with him and he runs a little funny too. I’m going to take him to an orthopedist tomorrow and have him evaluated. Kinda sucks to have to go through this… I have a feeling the orthopedist is going to recommend TPLO..which is what I wanted to avoid so bad. It’s such a scary procedure.

  2. Over the Labor Day weekend, my 4-year old dog tore her ligament. It was really hard since it brought back all of the heartache memories with our fist dog, M, who was hit by a car (had hip surgery) and tore her ligament two years later. M had TPLO surgery for her torn ACL/CCL. She sadly died two years later to bone cancer. We did not confirm the cancer with bone biopsy at the time since she was already refusing food and water. M was able to walk after the TPLO surgery after the long rehab. 15 years later, we are facing with the same issue with K. We rushed K to the same surgeon who seemed to have done miracle to save our M 17 years ago. I expected the same recommendation, TPLO surgery since that was his expertise. It will be hard, but we are willing to pay $6,000 for our beloved dog to be able to have a normal life again. Long story short, I had researched the bone cancer issue after M passed away. There was reported cases of dogs had cancer after TPLO surgery. This time, I looked into it more. There are more information on the internet this time. Although, nobody will confirm that there is definite link between TPLO surgery and bone cancer, it has been listed as possible rare complication of the TPLO surgery. The surgery is very invasive. I asked the surgeon during the consultation about cancer. He had actually went back to M’s file before our appointment and told us that his note indicated M had bone cancer. He told us that the cancer usually happen to breeds that are predisposed to bone cancer. Well, M was a mutt. From what we know, M was not one of those breeds. Well, when it is said that it is very low possibility of developing cancer, but when it happened to your love one, it seemed 100%. We have a friend’s son’s dog had the same condition a couple of years ago. His uncle who is a medical doctor/pet lover had advised against surgery we the subject came up. So, I researched more on the internet and came across a website that is dedicated against rushing to surgery, especially the TPLO surgery. As I have been reading it, it made a lot of sense. It prompts conservative management (very restricted activities) first for 8 weeks to see if the dog will show sign of healing, then decide if surgery is necessary. Our friend’s dog eventually formed scar tissue of the knee and eventually was able to walk and live a normal life without excessive stress to the knee. It has not been easy since K is an active 4-year-old dog. She also does not sleep through the night. Luckily, my husband works from home, so he could let her out few times a day. The recovery time after the surgery is very long as well. I was so desperate to get K back to normal and fearing of her tearing her other knee, I was ready to send her in surgery next week. I prayed and cried a lot the first few days when it happened. K seemed have sensed my emotions and surprisingly cooperative so far, probably some pain in her injured leg. They say pain is Mother Nature’s way of telling us “don’t over do it”. This website believes our bodies has ways of healing and believed a dog can possibly heal given the chance with controlled environment. The person started the website has his own experience and stated a lot of people have written to him with the same result without surgery. Here I am finding this website. We are doing the CM right now and hope for the best.

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