Conservative Management Success – Annabelle

conservative management

I cannot praise this website enough and thank you to everyone who has contributed. I feel qualified to give my 100% endorsement to using the conservative management method because I have experienced both TPLO surgery and opting out of surgery and following the CM method. There is NO WAY that I would ever recommend the TPLO surgery route to anyone.

My first dog, Durango, a black Lab, got a ruptured ACL at age 6. The vet recommended TPLO surgery (cost over $3,000) and since I knew no better I agreed. The surgery went ok but it was a long and painful recovery for my poor little girl and a year or so later she ruptured her other knee and again, since I knew no better, I just trusted the vet to perform another surgery. Durango always walked with a limp after that and got arthritis in both legs. On rainy days she could barely walk.

So….more recently when my 7-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog had a knee injury and I had her checked at the vet (a different vet now, because this is about 10 years later and we live in another state), of course the first and only thing this vet recommended was TPLO surgery (about $3,000). This time, unlike last time, I was not in a position to be able to pay $3,000 and I just cried when I left that office. UNTIL…..I got home and searched frantically for another option. Thankfully I found this site and Tiggerpoz site and was blessed to find the conservative management approach to help my dog. I followed it every step of the way and Annabelle recovered. But, you might have guessed within about 6 months she injured her other knee, which is very common among dogs with knee injuries, since they favor the good leg.

conservative management

Again, I followed the CM approach and today (over a year later, don’t have the actual dates handy) she is actually chasing squirrels again!!! This is a (just turned) 9-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog who has more energy and is more active than she was before the surgery…’s a miracle and I have this site and these people to thank!!!!!

I want to spread this news so that vets will stop trying to make money off surgery that is not necessary. My vet was not happy with my decision but now cannot deny that the CM works. Unfortunately I still don’t think this is what he will recommend to his other patients for the obvious reasons. Sad but true.

THANK YOU FOR THIS SITE AND ALL OF THIS INFORMATION….IT HAS TRULY CHANGED MY LIFE. I hope my 2 different experiences can help someone else decide what is best for their dog.

13 thoughts on “Conservative Management Success – Annabelle

  1. Wow! Thanks for the share. I’ve had a lot of trouble with arthritis and pain in my 7 yr old BC/Pit mix since her second surgery (which required three additional surgeries for corrections). She’s now on Carprofen daily and is very stiff, some days more than others. I think CM begins even before the injury. I don’t think I’d exercise my future pups in quite the same way I did with her, but hindsight is always 20/20. It’s great to know about both of your experiences, with and without surgical intervention.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing!! My 7 y o lab has partial tear. We’ve changed to a raw diet and are doing water therapy 2-3 times a week. Also walking 1x for 20 minutes each day. Curious if you did custom brave and what your experience was if you did? And what other things your CM strategy included. Thanks so much again!!! Love this resource for bring us all together!!

    1. My dog was diagnosed with a partial tear but he is limping worse now. Hopping on 3 legs. I’m worried it progressed to a full tear. We are still doing CM. NO walks, except for potty break and sniffing in the yard. I added bone broth with turmeric to his diet, Glucosamine chews. Still hoping for healing as we really are hesitant to do the TPLO.

        1. He is actually much better. He had a slight relapse in June and slightly limped again. So we put him back in the pen for around 2 weeks. But he is walking okay now. Slight stiffness right when he gets up. But no limp. We keep his weight down. Continue the golden paste, glucosamine chews, fish oil. He also still does his acupuncture once a month. Just be very patient. And don’t let him go nuts. We never go to the park anymore. Because I don’t let him go off leash. But he is used to the new routine and is happy

        2. Update: we are at the 7 month mark and Ruby is doing much better. The limping at night is decreasing and we are slowly starting longer walks but still no off leash – no way am I ready for that! But, for anyone in the beginning of this process, please know that youulooks need to be patient as this is a long process!

  3. My 5 year old American bully, Ruby, had been stiff at night inconsistently on back left leg. After a lot of activity, we would notice it, but she walked it right out. But, was always fine on our walks, she showed no sign of suffering. I took her to our vet to be examined and was told her left knee was sprained but not torn and she is not a surgical candidate. We were prescribed 2 weeks of rest and rimadyl. Rest is tough for our active girl, but we did our best and she showed signs of improvement, no limping. Until, we decided to do too much. And the limp returned right before her recheck. After 2 weeks, vet said to give Rimadyl as needed and to be careful as knee could tear at any time. I am going to begin conservative management for next 2 weeks to see if she continues to improve. Using Rimadyl as needed but also joint max triple strength twice daily and 1400 mg of fish oil along with her homemade diet. No x-rays have been done and I’m doing my best to let this heal. Thinking of looking into acupuncture and would be interested in water therapy if I can find it in my area. I am comforted by others success stories as we go on this journey.

  4. you’re doing such awesome stuff Andrea! All the right stuff. 🙂

    We have a very similar story. I did all similar things, but water therapy has been the best by far. I have a great one about 45 minutes from my house. we go every tuesday and Bella loves it. Our trainer is amazing.

    Anyone in the Seattle area should check out Gretchen at SplashDogSpa in Edmonds. She’s a miracle worker.


    1. Thank you Heidi! Since my post, we continue the conservative management and all is going well. Ruby is adopting her new calmer lifestyle. I am looking for water therapy in my area because I would love to have her start that to assist in her recovery. How long has your Bella had this issue?

  5. We just past the 3 week mark and I see improvement…starting to increase our daily exercise very slowly and down to 1/2 tab of Rimadyl daily. Some days, no limp is noticed and if she does limp, it’s quick and appears to be stiffness only. Her behavior in the house has improved and she is so much calmer. I hadn’t realized how crazy my dogs were until I had to keep Ruby calm
    (I have a 16 lb chihuahua mix too) Anyway, week 2 of increased glucosamine (triple strength joint max) and 1400 mg of fish oil. I pray that we continue in this positive direction so my pack can get back to our active lifestyle. I know it won’t be exactly the same, but we are working towards our new normal. Positive vibrations to all!!

  6. There’s something I don’t quite understand about Annabelle’s story. The writer says : “She is actually chasing squirrels again!!! This is a (just turned) 9-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog who has more energy and is more active than she was before the surgery…..” Before the surgery? What surgery? Didn’t Annabelle’s both knees healed with CM? Am I missing something here?

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