Kona – Double Extracapular Repair


I am very concerned after our visit to the Vet last night. Kona our 72 lb. Lab is needing surgery on BOTH back legs! She was running around a few days ago with the neighbor kids and came back in limping. One knee is completely ruptured and the other torn. Our Vet warned us that if we only did 1 leg the other would most likely rupture within 10 days after surgery due to the added weight she would put on it. We are going to try a combination of Extracapular Repair and the Conservative Management supplements after the surgery to help stabilize her back legs. The Extracapular Repair helps to stabilize the joint while the tissue can reform to support the leg.

We probably would have tried Conservative Management only if it was 1 leg or if the right leg was not completely ruptured.

(I wanted to know for sure so we took her in for XRays last night)

Small NOTE: if your dog gets sedated, take piddle pads in the car.

I am most concerned about getting her out to the yard in the first 2 weeks after surgery. I was thinking I could manage if it was just 1 leg. We will re-arrange our house to set up a recovery area in our main floor bathroom and I will move my office down to the kitchen (we have a 2 story home and I work from a 2nd floor office). I have no idea how I am going to get her outside by myself. Even with a sling and a leash, she is very strong and has a very high pain tolerance.

Hope all goes well…


7 thoughts on “Kona – Double Extracapular Repair

  1. My 4 year old 65 lb german shepard mix had bilateral acl tears and has been recovering for about a month now. The first week is the hardest but it gets easier every day and it helps to be prepared. Message me if you have any questions I can help you with. I wish I had someone to ask things because recovery is quite different than one leg.

    1. Hi Kathleen, my dog just injured both cruciate ligaments. I am bringing her to an orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday and I know he is going to recommend surgery. I’m not sure if they’re completely blown or what but right now she won’t use her back legs at all. I am willing to do the surgery if it is the only way get get my Piper girl back to herself but I’ve been seeing some success stories with conservative management even with two torn cruciate ligaments. Your post is a couple years old now so I’m wondering how conservative management worked out for your pup. It has been just over a week since she injured herself and I do see improvement, not in the use of her legs, but her demeanor. She seems more alert and wags her tail and smiles and she seems like she wants to be active but we don’t let her out of her nest (I took the top off her crate and put some foam padding in under her blankets and I call it her nest.) How long after your dogs injury did you start to see an actual improvement in her ability to use her legs? I know every dogs recovery timeline is different so it may take my Piper longer to get there. I don’t see surgery as a quick fix because recovery from that is also extensive. I am willing to do literally anything it takes to get my girl back happy and healthy so any information you have would be so greatly appreciated.

      1. Conservative Management works for some. It depends a bit on the breed and size of the dog as well as age and lifestyle tendencies. If you have a larger, young, active dog… then it is very highly likely that any partial tear will soon become a full tear, and you’ll then be facing the surgery decision again.
        You have a dog where both cruciates have sustained damage. In my opinion, the only chance for successful CM would be to have the dog fitted with knee braces on both sides that she would wear every day. Sorry if that sounds blunt. It is from the perspective of one who has large breed very active dogs (2) who were young when the sustained their injuries, during flood season. I followed up their surgeries with animal PT and while they are able to walk seemingly normal (6-8 weeks when the bone is healed) about soon after, it takes a full 6 months to rebuild those muscles.
        Mine both underwent a relatively new procedure, The TTO or triple tibial osteotomy, which incorporates the best of the TPLO with less invasive features seen with the TTA and tightrope procedures. I was very, VERY pleased with the outcomes for both dogs.
        Laured, there are not right or wrong answers here. If you feel CM would fit the bill for your girl that would be your best decision. However, if you feel she is very active and quite young enough to want to enjoy life as she did prior to her injuries, then surgery now would be your best decision.
        I chose the TTO which is available in my area for my Rotties, and I could not be happier with my decision. I did have a wonderful little Cocker Spaniel who at age 11 ruptured his knee. Smaller dog, still active, etc. I did a tightrope on him and it worked well for him and he lived to be 17! It would not have worked for my large breeds. I am 100% certain.
        You know both your dog, her activity level, age, and your finances best, and I know how much you must love Piper. Have a wonderful outcome whatever you choose.

  2. Sorry about Kona.

    I have to agree with your vet, that the other leg isn’t very likely to hold, though it might do better than last 10 days.

    For getting out to potty, the best solution would be a ramp. You can also try Bottoms Up leash or Pick Me Up Harness.

    Personal note, I think she’d prefer having her recovery area set up so she can be with everybody, perhaps a play pen of some kind could do the job and she wouldn’t have to feel isolated.

    Note: conservative management can also involve a stifle brace (your girl looks like she is a senior dog?). That could be one option.

    Best of luck

  3. Oh dear, poor Kona. Your vet is being very honest. You can opt to do both surgeries concurrently. Then use a sling, a bottoms up leash, or pick me up harness. Vet offices often have slings they loan to clients as a courtesy.

    You can do this, honest. The first days will be the hardest for you and her. Adequate pain management will make it easier. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your vet. My girl was just fine on Rimadyl and Tramidol, but the Rimadyl upset my boy’s stomach (vomiting), so we tweaked and played around a bit until we found a reasonable solution for him.

    An X-pen (or crate) in the living room would work nicely. Place it where she will be with the family she loves. At first, all they do is rest… then eat…. then potty on lead (and yes if there are more than 2-3 steps to your house a ramp is a good idea). The first time she has to crouch a bit to pee will break your heart, but it gets better. Each day is just a bit better.

    After about 10 days the sutures come out. Soon after your vet will let you know you (probably by 14 days) can begin to walk short distances… like 25 feet and back twice daily for a week. Gradually, this distance increases… maybe 30-50 feet and 3-4 times a day. Take it slow and steady. Use your sling as long as you need. The whole process takes a good long time.

    Will you have the option for cold laser treatments and physical therapy? I was fortunate enough to have a PT center less than an hour away, with an underwater treadmill. If not… you can get there with just walking.

  4. Hello,
    I am looking for some information. Hoping you all might be able to help. My dog, Lumpy, injured his back right knee. The vet said surgery, but I really want to try CM. It has been just short of two weeks and he is starting to walk very slowly on it. Just wondering how long it will take for him to be walking on it constantly? Now it is a slow walk but then he will hop a few times before putting the right leg back down. I am totally new to this but really am hoping this works. i have him on rimadyl, pain meds, and glucosamine supplements. Any info is helpful!!

    1. CM takes a very long time. What happens is scar tissue fills in and becomes the “support glue” that holds the joint together. The joint is still compromised and after 6 months you may continue to see a slight limp and some obvious muscle loss. You will need to continue his meds. Drugs like Rimadyl and Deramaxx are hard on the tummy and some dogs need alternatives that may not work very well. as well.
      CM may work for you if you have a smaller bred or less active dog. We considered it for a Cocker Spaniel who was 11 at the time. We opted for a tightrope for him. He did very well, happily able to run and play for many years to come.
      My experience with CM is not directly my own but thru a friend who’s dog did CM the same time as my dog was recovering from surgery. It takes 6 months (bone heals 6-8 weeks, rehabbing muscles 6 months) either way. He had been very active. His outcome was that he became less active and there remained a slight but significant limp. Was he still happy and otherwise healthy? Of course, yes.
      Best wishes for your boy Lumpy.

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