Surgery vs. Alternative Treatment – Dhani Doberman

surgery vs. alternative treatment

My dog has been favoring a back leg for months, but not been lame. He was playing, landed on my other dog, and yelped. At the time I thought it could have been a muscle strain, so I kept him on the lead for two weeks but to be fair he wasn’t lame! I took him to the vet and said I’d noticed he would sit but then slump. After examination, the vet said it was a cruciate problem so there was no need to x-ray, which made sense to me as an ordinary x-ray wouldn’t show a ligament.

I was advised to do injections for 4 weeks to help the joint. I did that and still tried to keep him calm. He found his opportunity one afternoon and saw a cat off the premises! He wasn’t lame until later; after sleeping he got up, took 2 or 3 steps wrong, and then was fine again. I spoke to the vet who then said they would like to sedate him and x-ray for a decisive diagnosis. I can’t pretend to be in agreement but thought I should put my trust in them.

He had his day at the vet’s (two x-rays) and when I was shown them they couldn’t see exactly…so they gave me a referral to an orthopaedic specialist. I was rather peed off at this and started to look for alternative treatments. Oh what joy when I came across people and vets who were in the same mindset as me! I don’t want to put my mate through this operation unless it becomes essential to his life!

I’ve cried buckets worrying. I postponed the op, not wishing to burn my bridges, and am getting a brace to try (ironically spoke to my horse vet this week and he agreed try the brace!) I think a lot of vets are too quick to operate rather than give time and care, which all us animal lovers are so prepared to do.

115 thoughts on “Surgery vs. Alternative Treatment – Dhani Doberman

  1. My dog had the same issue. It has been 7 months and she is almost as good as new. She still favors her right rear leg a little but nothing like before. I did not want to put her through such an extensive surgery. I take her swimming a few times a week and also give her Cosequin for dogs. Seems to have done the trick. She is running and playing again although we still keep an eye so she doesn’t over do it.

  2. Well, my dog Sammy is doing pretty well. It was 2 months of NO walks/playing outside…and only going out to putter in the yard and go do his business. By about 8 weeks, he started on leash walks, and eventually by 10 or 11 weeks he was back to his group walk/play group. Now he is doing great, except for a setback on Sunday, which was my fault. He has been so strong and doing everything from before, that I let him rip after several squirrels in a big park by my house. He over-did it and I can tell he is back to favoring the leg a bit. He is not lame, but its a regression. So, I took it down a notch again, continue to give Cosequin and give him smaller amounts of free play time at the park, that is more restricted. I know he will improve again, but I am not going to let him go that nuts again, now that I see the impact. Its not torn again…just a bit sore, and that is what his acupuncturist prepared me to expect from time to time. They are better off with moderate play and exercise, in my opinion. I also lift him in and out of the car.
    But, I am encouraged by his healing….overall. But, he is also 22 lbs…bigger dogs its not so easy, I hear. Good luck everyone!!!

    1. Hi Jojo
      That’s great that your Sammy is doing so well! My boston terrier Oliver just had surgery on his acl just over 2 weeks ago. He still isn’t using his leg. Did that happen with you or did Sammy start using his leg quickly after surgery? I’m feeling concerned because I’ve read quite a few blog where people have said their pups have used the leg shortly after surgery. Thank you!

      1. hey kayla,
        my dog had a tightrope procedure to repair her back left leg about 12 weeks ago and it was about 4 weeks before she was comfortable bearing weight on her surgical leg. recovery was going very well, at 10 weeks we had started exercising her with 2-5 short walks each day, but while i was at work she squirmed away from my wife while sitting on the couch, and is now limping on the opposite leg, not the one that we had repaired. but, i was very pleased with her recovery until this incident. my vet told me that she would get more and more comfortable putting weight on her leg. hope this helps.

  3. I have been resting my girl for over a week, mostly lead work but I let her loose in a little paddock now and then where she can stretch her legs and canter a little on her own and there is a noticeable improvement, she’s not limping anymore or pointing her rear foot but favours her right side when she stands. Like most of you I dread the thought of a tough operation with a horribly restrictive after care, also my friend’s dog died a few weeks after a cruciate op, the risks are huge but I am concerned that if I don’t get the problem fixed she may never be able to play and run as she did before, she’s only three and a very athletic Doberman but I’m concerned that arthritis is already setting in due to unstable joint. I am taking her to an orthopedic vet to have a thorough assessment of her situation. I am hugely sceptical of vets but this one has been recommended to me as someone very ethical who wouldn’t do anything that is not absolutely necessary. Good luck to her and to all of you.

    1. I have a Staffordshire Terrier who had a tear. She favored her right rear leg and would not put any weight on it. I was scared to death about the surgery and decided to try conservative methods. She is almost 100% better. I also give her Cosequin. It has taken 7 months but to me it was 100% worth it.

      1. hey kari

        i have an american pit bull terrier and did a tightrope surgery to repair her back left leg, but 12 weeks later her back right leg is giving her major problems. did you purchase any kind of knee brace for your dog? and if so, which company did you purchase your brace from? I just don’t think my dogs surgical leg is ready to support her during another surgery recovery period and have been considering conservative methods.

  4. It has been 2 months since Lily (57lbs.& 7 yrs. old) injured her CCL It is a grade 3 which is one below fully ruptured. I had a 2nd and 3rd opinion and have had her on the Top Dog supplements for a month.She has gotten a lot better but I am really restricting her activities.
    The reason I’m going ahead with the surgery is because I fear her other knee will go out. They say they can get her back to 85%.
    This has been one of the most difficult decisions that I made about my pets. We are doing the conservative surgery. The TPLO seems crazy to me. Cut the bone to repair a ligament?

    1. Hi Katherine
      I’m curious to hear how recovery is going? I have an 11year old American staffy and we have opted to do the traditional surgery due to her age and while she is active we thought it would be a quicker recovery and easier on her older self. Our get fully backs our decision. Would love to hear how things are going!

  5. Katherine, I’ve heard vets saying even with the surgery the other knee may go. Are they saying the other knee will go only if you don’t do the surgery ?and what does it mean getting her back to 85% exactly? Does it mean that there is a 15% chance the ligament may tear? Does it mean that there are 15% of activities that she won’t be able to do? How can you control that she doesn’t go for that 15% or is it that her leg will not allow her to run that fast or turn that fast, etc? Sorry about the questions just trying to get a picture of the situation. Whichever your decision I wish you and Lily the best of luck.

    1. Lily is in surgery now. I will give you more info after I talk with the Dr.

      Her not being able to chase squirrels, deer and coyotes which are her favorite activities and the fear of the other knee going out helped me come to this decision.

  6. They told me the same thing about the other knee and I was scared but I was more scared about the surgery and the recovery.. it took 8 months but she is doing great. I bring her in the pool and let her swim a little and that has also helped.

  7. Hi all,
    Sammy’s setback is worse than I expected. I successfully did conservative management from March 16th – July 17th. 2 months of complete rest. 1 month of controlled, leash walks..then finally, in mid-June started off leash walking and letting him do small bouts of squirrel chasing. Then, July 17th, the day before a long road trip, I decided to let him run and chase squirrels a little longer, more squirrels that day, and of course, he over-did it.
    He did not limp till the next day, and now I am kicking myself more than ever.
    He struggles with stairs, and is using 3 legs to go down stairs. I pick him up whenever possible, but its a raised ranch and so there is a lot of up and down and I don’t always have the strength to hold him and keep him safe on stairs to go out and pee/poop.
    Anyway, our success story is back to being on hold. I know I let him go too crazy that day, and honestly thought a few days and he would be better…but I think he tore some scar tissue, and now we are back to square 1, I think. Its been 10 days, and mostly he is not lame, but is limping and I have tried walking him but it makes it worse. So, we are back to no play, no walks and limited movement. I will keep you posted on how long it is before he is feeling better…I have to realize that he will never be able to rip after squirrels anymore…his favorite activity and best exercise. Feeling discouraged but will keep trying and be patient…hopefully my Sammy will walk comfortably again. I will check in a few months down the road…and let you all know. I am going to do acupuncture/laser therapy for inflammation as soon as we get back to our routine in September.
    Peace everyone.

    1. It really takes a long time. I would not let my pup do stairs but I was lucky that both my kids could pick her up to go up and down stairs. Stairs can do a lot of damage. Two months is not nearly long enough. Mine favored her leg for a long long time. Months. It is just the last month that she is back to normal and it has been since November.

  8. Hope Sammy manages to get back on track as he was before and that Lily recuperates well from his operation. Please Katherine keep a close eye on the effect the pain medications are having on her stomach, she may need a stomach liner, these anti inflammatory/ pain meds are very strong and potentially very damaging. I would like to direct you all to this is a website full of useful information about ACL and guess what? They don’t sell anything! Best wishes to all.

    1. This was the first site I looked at. I agree that it has a lot of unbiased information. This is why I didn’t do the TPLO. Cutting a bone to fix a ligament just didn’t make sense to me. One thing that was pointed out to me was that we aren’t sure that it is a Vet that is providing this information. But, whoever it is does provides great food for thought.

      1. Hi Katherine,

        I agree with you 100%. Our 6 year old Doberman likely has torn her ACL and after being given the pitch from the surgeon I was dumbfounded. Hack the tibia in half, change the angle, grind the joint plane and screw on a metal plate??? What??? How does that replace the torn ACL and stabilize the joint??? I discovered an article stipulating that the organization that apparently came up with this ACL surgery is closed down? The article claims that vet surgeons quickly jumped on the bandwagon to embrace the big money and that the ACL surgery success stories are hyped and there is no evidence as far as the American Vet Society is concerned that this surgery is as successful as the hype. More like 15%. Like others here, I am excessively stressed and worried about our girl. Her back left leg was not 100% for years from some unknown condition and then the good back right one’s ACL got injured. So far, with conservative management the back right ACL injured one has improved but after an idiot down our street startled her on bathroom walk the left got injured. It has been 3 weeks and she is still favoring the left leg. I am feeling desperate to do something but I just can’t accept this TPLO solution. I am not a surgeon but have some intelligence and this TPLO is butchery in my opinion. Below is the article I came across on the ACL/CCL ligament injury dilemma.


        1. Thank you for sharing the link at The most helpful articles/website I’ve read. God Bless you and your dog.

        2. I was researching for our 6yo rescue doberman and came across this site….although they are several years old.

          Our boy has a left hind leg issue…only light toe touching when standing…obviosuly protecting…but will run and play when excited…only to suffer the obvious consequence afterwards.

          I was worried about bone cancer as I know this to be more common in dobies. But vets say they think knee and ACL issue. (No x-rays taken yet cause they think I am over thinking and reacting.)

          The thing is that my husband is a retired 30 year sports orthopaedic surgeon (who put together our Alaskan Malmute after car accident many years ago…and saw first hand the difference of the anatomy of dogs vs. humans) and says ACL surgery on dogs just is not successful becasue of the limited anatomy surface of their femur and tib/fib.

          Knowing this…I am intrigued, however, on the comments regarding braces. I would love to hear more on the pros and cons people have had using them with ACL issues.

          Any and all thoughts/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

          1. I would check out which I used as my Bible for help on this. My dog, Prince, had an ACL issue three years ago and we didnt go for surgery, with time and conservative management he is doing fine 🙂

  9. I phoned the vet today and cancelled Luna’s next week’s appointment . Having spent hours reading about ACL I have decided against any operation at all and having made that decision there was no point seeing the vet as I’m already doing conservative management. Two reasons made me take that decision. 1) The operation is not a magic bullet. The after care restriction is very long and very slow so I rather restrict her now and give her body a chance to heal itself before shaving her bones, altering the shape of her joint, etc I can always operate her later if necessary. This is not an emergency situation. Her life is not in danger. 2) if I asked Luna whether she rather have her bones cut off etc or be helped to take it very easy so she can heal herself I can almost hear her answer so I must give her that chance. With two weeks rest she’s already improving but not sufficiently, this will take months but it’s the same with the operation, nothing is immediate and so far she’s going in the right direction. I’ve read the arthritic risk will be there with both operation and conservative management. The key is proper exercise and good nutrition. I’ve come to realize that letting a dog run around like crazy in an uncontrolled way, like I was doing, is not proper exercise, it’s damaging exercise. We are all flesh and bones. There will be no mad crazy running for Luna in the future but there will hopefully be lots of fun walks in the park and trekking trips with her doggie friends. She may escape now and then but I will try to discourage it because I know she has a weakness, she doesn’t, it is my duty as her carer. So this is the plan and I’m keeping my fingers crossed but I feel confident. I will report periodically how she is doing but this is a long process. She’s a very patient girl I’m not so but I will have to be. If there’s a setback we will start again. I wish all of you and your beloved four legged children Sammy, Oliver , Lily the very best of luck and look forward to reading in a few weeks, months that they are all doing well.

  10. I have a 17.5 pound carin terrier that tore her ACL. The vet that made the call did not x ray since he would not be the one doing the surgery. I am suppose to take Marley to another dr. who would be doing the surgery for a consultation and they are to take an X-ray. . Very confused on what to do. This happen last Monday it is sunday. I have been keeping her in a kennel giving her rimadyl daily and joint goodies. She is still not putting any weight down. Should I take her back to the vet just to get an X-ray to see if its so bad that it possibly couldn’t heal without surgery. She doesn’t seem to be in pain but she is nine years old and surgery extremely costly and no guarantees.

  11. Hi Tami,

    Will she let you ice it? Watch the videos on top dog. They are really informative. The xray only rules out breaks and cancer. The ACL (CCL) is soft tissue. They have to palpate the area to see if the joint is loose.
    Also, the say dogs under 20 to 25 pounds do better with conservative management than the bigger dogs. Post check out Tigger website mention in one of the previous posts.
    Best of luck.

  12. Roger, the best source of information on ACL injury is He is a Godsent. I suggest printing the whole website, every single tab, all 100 pages of it because there’s invaluable information in every line but too much to absorb in one go. I’ve been in your situation, seeing your beloved dobbie hopping on three legs is very distressing but I have learnt to calm down. Her life is certainly not in danger and she only feels pain if she was to put weight on her bad leg which she will do only when she’s ready.
    Like yours my 3 year old Doberman must have had knee problem brewing since she was a pup because she would not sit square but only July 2016 started pointing her toe, then limping and eventually hopping like a kangaroo. Very sad to watch. Tiggerpoz has become my bible but twice I’ve made the same mistake: after six weeks she appears so well that I drop my guard and bingo we have a set back. We’ve had two major setbacks each one six weeks apart, the second one for no apparent reason, but she has healed quickly from those, by healing I mean no kangaroo hopping and no limping. The days are terribly slow, one day feels like a week. I think her scar tissue is forming but it will be months before it hardens fully, maybe six or more until she’s ready to run and even then I will plan her outings carefully to avoid traps and setbacks.
    Keep persevering, keep reading Tiggerpoz , he goes into every aspect of ACL injury. Conservative Management will help both knees but healing is very slow but think of all the positives: no infection, no ruptured stomach ulcers, no elizabethan collars, no second operations, no leg amputations, no bone cancer and most importantly you still have your baby with you. My best friend lost her dog a few weeks after TPLO. I will continue strict CM until spring 2017 if she’s not healed by then I will have to consider a traditional fishing line surgery. I’m lucky to work from home so keep Luna with me at all times. She’s accepted her new life like if she understood, sometimes she looks at me like asking how much longer? It’s sad. My car has become her portable crate, she loves being in it and going for rides. I put her in a crate at home if I can’t be with her but never for more than two hours which means I’m pretty grounded. I have reduced her two main meals drastically instead I make shakes in the nutribullet with a little kibble (Canagan or Orijen), one pitted date, a few almonds, a pinch of Equine Cortaflex, Turmeric, water, etc then pour it in a large Kong ( cover the little end hole with a kibble pellet) then wrap them with cling film and freeze them and that keeps her entertained for hours, it’s the best thing I’ve found. I bought a packet with four kongs and give her four lollies a day. I also carpeted all slippery floors. No stairs at all, no jumping in sofas, really strict CM. Please keep me posted and please share any tips. With all of you in love for our beloved little friends. Best of luck to all X

    1. Hi Lucy! I have a 3 year old Pit/Shepard mix that partially tore his ACL over a year and a half ago. I too found triggerpoz and tried conservative management and had some success for about a year until we got another dog and they were rough housing and he reinjured the leg. I tried conservative management again for about 7 months but we just couldn’t get him better. I understand how hard it is to keep a high energy dog quiet I went through it for so long. The problem I had after the 7 months is he lost so much muscle mass from lack of exercise we finally opted for TPLO. Well really my husband, I on the other hand would have never done the surgery. I can tell you 6 weeks post op today that I regret ever doing the surgery. He has had numerous infections, we are currently battling staph and the vet says they may have to take the implant out if the antibiotics he’s on don’t work. I am very afraid after all of the horror stories I’ve read. My vet does not seem to be too concerned. I am cautiously optimistic, I have to be at this point. He starts therapy on Saturday hopefully this gets him using his leg again and he’s on the road to recovery.

  13. My poor pup was doing so well after conservative management for about 5 months but I fear she has re-injured her ACL. She took off after some deer and that was that. RIght back to square one.

  14. Don’t give up. My pup tore his in March and i put him in strict CM for 8 weeks and slowly increased activity. He limped for a day in June and went back to the pen. He was fine all the way till end october. but started hopping on 3 legs after trying to jump. He’s back on limited exercise again. but has started using the bad leg again. I stress everyday if Im doing the right thing, but there are just too many horror stories with TPLO. I feel sad that he can’t run and play as much but at least he is walking on all 4s. Good luck everyone!

  15. Cari, you must feel exhausted. Stay strong. Hopefully he’ll beat the infection. I feel for you and your dog and your husband whom I’m sure wanted to do the best for him and must feel so bad now. What is the position if the implant has to come out? Can he start CM then?
    Kari, Luna seems to get back to where she was reasonable quickly after a setback. Watch the six week period very carefully. Twice Luna has fooled me as she seemed sooo healed but she wasn’t really and we’ve had setbacks I now promised myself I’ll be seriously strict for a minimum of three months before I increase anything. Will start her swimming and see how she reacts to that.
    I read swimming is excellent to restore muscle and they need muscle to help hold the joint.
    Lov, sounds like eight weeks was not enough, scar tissue was still tender.
    We must try to help each other to stay strong and be really strict with CM. Max Tiggerpoz calls it tough love.
    Cari, let us know how it goes. Best of luck.

    1. Hi Lucy,
      thanks for your reply. Max is on permanent CM but i let him freely roam when I am home. He doesn’t sleep with us upstairs anymore and he only walks for the sniff and stroll potty time. Maybe half a block and back only. I don’t think I will ever let him up the stairs anymore. I have been emailing Max of tiggerpoz too. Its so hard to see them like this. Sometimes I feel I’m going to have a nervous breakdown

    2. Lucy, I am not sure the position if they take the implant out. I know before they do that the bone has to heal. Lets hope it doesn’t come to that. Thank you for your kind words. I will keep you posted.
      When we were doing CM Blu was back to his old self rather quickly the first time and for about a year it was like it never happened. When he reinjured it we were even stricter but nothing seemed to be working at that point. If you see the slightest bit of improvement in Luna stay strong she is getting better. I would recommend hydrotherapy during CM if you have anywhere around there to take her. The first time around we were taking him twice a week for the under water treadmill and it was very helpful keeping his energy in check and keeping his strength. He never had a limp after a session and I’m pretty sure it did not hinder his recovery.
      It’s so hard to know what the best thing is to do. The person that convinced me to listen to everyone else and do the surgery was a rehabilitation Dr. I went there thinking she would say try the brace first and when she didn’t I thought ok maybe it’s time. Next time I will follow my gut.

    3. During the summer when the pool was open I would bring her in even though she is not fond of swimming. I bought a vest for her and would just bring her for a few minutes everytime I swam and she did a lot better.It breaks my heart to see her on 3 legs. Then I started reading about Meniscus tears. I started thinking I was not doing right by her but after reading more posts here I feel better. Dr. wanted 5,000 plus Therapy. I just can’t afford it and felt like I was being a bad dog parent.

  16. Cari, thank you for your words of support. Luna is showing improvement but I won’t be fooled again by the exterior appearance. I will not increase her exercise for many months. She’s cooperating well thank God. Her bad knee is thickening which I think it means the scar tissue is building the supporting buttress. Best of luck to you with the new treatment.

    Kari, how long has your girl jumped on 3 legs? Luna has had two separate episodes of jumping on three legs but every time by the seventh day she started putting weight on the leg. Good luck to you as well.

    Lov, please don’t allow yourself too get to wound up about this because your dog needs you.

    Since July I have learnt three main things I would like to share with you in the humblest of ways. First is that nobody really, really explains sufficiently clearly how very strict AND long CM has to be in order to work.

    The second is that since I discovered the frozen lollies, which recipe I posted previously, Luna is occupied (and resting at the same time) nearly all day. I have reduced her twice a day meals considerably so that most of her food she gets from her lollies. They are a life saver. The fact they are frozen doesn’t seem to have affected her in any way. Her tongue maybe getting a bit tired sometimes. If I notice any sign of discomfort I stop them for a day or two. I had to buy four kongs to see me through the day so it is a bit of an investment but so worth it.

    The last thing is that I have had to embrace this situation because I was getting too distressed. I now feel lucky Luna is walking on her four legs. Her main remaining sympton is when she stands all her weight is on the rightI leg so I try to encourage her to lay down instead. I won’t ask for more for many months. I pray things don’t get worse.

    I hope you dont mind me sharing these experiences with you.

    Patience, acceptance and endurance to all.


    1. Hi Lucy, My Sophie is starting to put weight back on her bad leg and it has been about 2 weeks,. Usually stiff after laying down for a while though. I just worry about arthritis setting in. I hope Luna is doing well. I just can’t stand the thought of mu girl having that surgery.

      1. Hi all
        Just been reading all the posts.
        My dog has a rear leg CCL diagnosis. I am going down the CM route, to avoid surgery if at all poss. Read all I can about CM, and CCL, these posts included.
        It’s been four weeks, he is definitely putting a little weight through it on lead walks, I expect it to take months though.
        The worst part is my highly active, 6 miles per day fast paced walker, chaser of anything that moves, dog run and play addict has such a restricted day to day lifestyle now that I worry about any possible ‘depression’.
        He is a nightmare to keep steady, even when just me and no dogs about.. when he meets any dog (esp a friend) he tries to go nuts.. clearly wants to greet and play. He spins when he can’t which I try to stop.
        Generally though I am doing well, considering my dog.
        I urge anyone to take this route, even if surgery is needed at some point in the future. It would not be for the want of trying.
        He is a 5 1/2 year old Patterdale. Full on, high energy and a had high prey drive, before the leg went up and I went to the vets.
        This last four weeks have been tough, and it will be so til spring 17 at least but at that point I will evaluate.
        I am using Yumove dog tablets (300 pack – can’t afford their Advanced tabs) and in the last week I have made a paste up of Tumeric, Coconut oil , black pepper and a touch of fresh ground Cinammon. an 1/8th of a teaspoon of Tumeric for now, which he gets split over his two meals per day as he gets used to it. I do this in favour of the vets suggested Cartrophen injections four times a year when he wants to do from now on to prevent/treat any arthritis in the joint as a result of the ligament injury (which may not even be an accurate diagnosis, but he had lameness for some reason so I believe CM is necessary regardless of what caused it).
        Best wishes to all CM advocates for their animals. Joy

  17. Same here. I’ve seen a few videos in you tube of the various types of surgeries and they are scary, only as a very last resort if everything else fails.

  18. hey everyone,

    i have a 48 lb american pit bull terrier named shadow who tore her back left ccl about 15 weeks ago. the vet told us about surgery options and we decided to go with a tightrope procedure. the first 10 days were really hard, but all in all shadow was doing really well with her recovery. at 10 weeks we had started leash walking her for 3-5 short walks a day just to build the muscle up and to let her exercise the knee. but, 2 weeks ago she tore her back right ccl and i didn’t think her surgical leg was ready to support her yet. so i started doing research and no matter if we go with conservative or surgery treatment, basically we are just trying to give the knee time to rest and naturally build up scar tissue. so, i just invested in a knee brace from it was expensive, but no where near the cost of surgery. i just received it today. this brace is very high quality, and prevents the tibial thrust that occurs when the ccl is ruptured, which is what causes a lot of our dogs pain. right now shadow is limping on the leg very bad, hardly bearing any weight on it. i will keep her on activity restriction, supplements, and improved diet. i will post updates on my experience with this posh knee brace, but i am very optimistic as i have seen very good reviews and videos.

  19. Hi Shaun,

    Max Tiggerpoz suggests brace “only” if improvement is not seen with strict CM but please let us know how it goes.

    Please check Shadow’s foot often to ensure its not going cold.

    Kari, I forgot to say how happy I am that Sophie is beginning to put weight on her foot. Do you have a crate for her? A crate and a lollie, that’s what I say :). Tons of rest.

    Luna’s symptoms have gone from Kangaroo jumping on three legs to bearing weight with heavy limp, then to light limp, then no limp at all but always putting 100% weight on good side when standing, then 90%, 80%,, 70%, etc. In Luna’s case this seems to be the symptom that stick the longest.
    Good luck to all.

    1. Hi Lucy,
      My Maxwell is exactly like Luna. Do you notice that with each setback/re-injury, they start walking faster than the original injury?I am lucky that Maxwell’s pretty relaxed and likes to lie around the whole day. I just need to control him during our potty walks because he gets too excited seeing other dogs.

  20. Hi Lov, yes that’s the way it has been with Luna so far, after each setback she returns faster to where she was before but the setbacks haven’t been major due to strict CM, nothing like chasing deer or anything like that, in fact last setback seemed to come for no reason at all except that I had increased our leash walks slightly but obviously she wasn’t ready for that. I’d suggest to use a halter for Maxwell instead of neck leash. Makes a huge difference. Max Tiggerpoz says pulling on lead puts bad strain on knees which is exactly what we’re trying to avoid. Sounds like Maxwell is going the right way. Beware the 4.6 week mark when they fool us because they appear to be so improved, in fact that seems to be the time to be extra careful with CM. Well done!

  21. Hi all,
    It’s been awhile since I posted anything about Lily
    She had the tight rope surgery on July 28th. She has had a few setbacks but it is definitely improved. I did CM for 2 1/2 months before I agreed to the surgery. She is a 50 lbs Australia Shepherd/Border Collier. They thought the CCL was torn but when they got in there it was completely ruptured and the meniscus had a tear.

    My question to everyone is do you use anti-inflammatory medicine daily? Lily still needs it even though she gets all the supplements. I tried lowering the dose but it was obvious that she needed more.

    1. hey katherine,

      my dog had the same surgery with great results on her back left leg. we only used antiflammatory drugs, meloxicam, for about 3 weeks after the surgery. but now her back right is ruptured and we are trying a non surgical approach. now she is back on the meloxicam for her back right knee. but before she ruptured her back right knee, the second one, we were having great results from our tightrope procedure. our procedure was done on august 15th and i really believe if shadow wouldn’t have torn her opposite leg she would be doing wonderful. would love an update on how lily is doing. hope she is doing well and able to strengthen that knee to a full recovery

  22. Katherine, has your vet ruled out an infection? I’ve read Tightrope is a painful procedure but after four months I would have thought the pain would have subsided, you need to check with your vet urgently because infections are not uncommon with tightrope, the bacteria hides within the material they use to tie the knee and it’s difficult to reach. To answer your question Luna doesn’t appear to be in pain. I don’t give her anti inflammatories, if I did she’d be using her leg more than she should. It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation. Max Tiggerpoz says if the dog can sleep well at night without them then he doesn’t need them. Wish Lily to recover soon. Hope to get more answers to your question but ultimately this is something you need to talk to your vet about. Best wishes.

  23. Katherine, what symptoms does Lily have that makes you give her anti inflammatories? Does she cry like she is in pain when she’s resting?

  24. hey everyone,

    shadows knee seems to be doing much better. that hideous popping sound is not there anymore. we have been using a knee brace from posh dog that has helped and been keeping her on strict activity restriction. however, now from her not being able to exercise i believe her muscles in both hind legs are beginning to atrophy. i can feel the muscles with my hand and they definitely feel smaller each week. i do not have a pool to help her exercise and it is winter time anyway. i had a thought on giving her something like a protein supplement but have not spoke to my vet about this yet. has anyone used anything to help their dog maintain muscle mass and if so what products were used. oh and benadry has helped keep her calm and relaxed as long as everything around her is calm she won’t rome the house if she’s out of her pin

    1. Hi Shaun
      my rotti will be going in for surgery in 2 weeks for her ccl. I am not looking forward to it as she has had different surgeries on the other 3 and this was her only good leg and now this has happened.
      I had a very large male who was in the late stage of his life with a sore shoulder so I was unable to walk him like I used to and even tho he was going to the physiotherapist every fortnight I could feel the muscles wasting on his back legs. His physio suggested I get a tens/ems machine for him which I did. I would use the tens machine on his shoulder to give him pain relief but would also sit down at night with him and put it on his back legs on the ems setting to help keep the muscles stimulated. This did help him at the time and I am hoping I can use it on Nyx after she has her operation in a couple of weeks.
      Google them and they might be worth trying for you…my husband also uses it on his back for pain relief

      1. hey karen,

        i had great results with shadow’s tight rope procedure. but, the first ten days were very hard. she had such a large splint on her leg to prevent her from using the knee, she could not get comfortable. she was on very strong pain meds so for the first week or so you may not recognize your own dog. me and my wife took turns with shadow, both of us only slept about 4 hours a night for the first ten days. but it was worth it. her leg seemed to getting better until she tore the opposite ccl about 13 weeks after the surgery. her surgical leg is doing very well. i knew it was a good chance she would tear the other ccl and i am actually glad she did it during her recovery period because this was the reason i began researching alternatives to surgery. i didn’t feel like her surgical leg was ready to support her the way it would need to. if you have decided on surgery, be optimistic. i had a great experience with shadows surgery. i am just hoping CM will help her right leg heal because probably like everyone on this site, i would much rather not put my girl through surgery unless everything else fails.

  25. Shaun, if Shadow had successful tightrope on left knee and has a brace that ‘has helped’ on right knee why cant she excercise? I dont understand. I thought the idea of the brace is to hold the knee in right position so that she CAN excersice. Am I missing something here?

    I take oportunity to post update on Luna. After 6 months of strict CM I am happy to report that she is a happy girl and finally turning the corner. I will now start extending her walks with me to get her fit for the Spring when I think she will be ready to resume her walks with her friends. This HAS NOT BEEN EASY but I am now, after six months, beginning to see the results. Many a time after each setback I thought tightrope was the answer, I am glad I kept strong. However, as extra insurance, I want her wearing a brace when I set her off leash and possibly for many more months,, possibly for years, when I take her for long walks / trekking. I am sure she’ll get used to wearing a brace, she is a good girl!

    Shaun would you reccomend poshdog brace?

    My best wishes to all of you and all I can say is STAY STRONG because CM works but it takes time and PATIENCE.

    1. Well lucy,

      I could probably start shadow on some short walks but her knee has just quit popping about two weeks ago. I guess I am just worried that awful sound will come back. The knee brace from posh dog definitely helps and I would recommend it. The brace is only worn during exercise but we put it on when we take her out to pee. When the brace is on correctly the popping sound went away but when we came back inside and took the brace off it immediately came back, so I know it helps. I guess I just worry about pushing her recovery too far too fast

  26. Shaun, thank you for your response and for the brace recommendation. I understand now your predicament. Have you tried writing to Tiggerpoz? He always answers and is full of good advice. You are doing the right thing, can’t be cautious enough. Best of luck. Keep us informed. Shadow is a lucky girl to have you.

  27. Shaun,
    With regards to your concern about muscle wastage I wanted to mention that Tiggerpoz suggests not to worry about muscle wastage while you are worrying about stabilizing the stifle, which is the main task. If you take Shadow out to pee a few times a day on leash that is all the muscle she needs for the timebeing. One knee is protected with the tightrope and the other is protected with the brace. I understand the damage to the knee comes when the knee is allowed unsupported stress, which is not Shadow’s case. As she gets a little better and she walks a little more the muscle will start growing to meet her demands.Tiggerpoz says you could not stop that process if youy wanted to, it just happens on its own. It is happening to Luna, I can see her muscle growing slowly, although it still has a way to go to be the same as the other leg. Today is six months to the date I first noticed her injury. She can now do things like standing with her front legs on the windowsill or play a little with her brother without re-injuring herself as she would have done before but I am still paranoic and that is why I will get the brace for her. I like the idea of the poshdog brace as it is not rigid like the others and it is great to have your recomendation.
    Best for all of you.

    1. hey lucy,

      thank you for that info on the muscle mass. that is kind of what i thought but i was not sure if i needed to be doing anything to help the muscles. the posh dog knee brace is an incredible product. one thing i can tell you, you will not regret. everyone that i talked to at the company was incredibly nice and seemed to generally want to help the dog. the popping sound in shadow’s knee went away every time we put the brace on her. now after about 8 or 9 weeks of strict rest, the popping sound has went away completely. i figure in about 2 more weeks with what we have been doing, i will start her on some short walks several times a day, with the brace on of course. i am so glad to hear your luna is doing well. i was not sure how this CM program i have shadow on would work or not, but now after reading stories like yours and having the brace for any future flare ups, i am very optimistic about not having to put my girl through another surgery. keep us posted on how luna is doing

  28. It takes a lot of patience, it’s really a leap of faith; depending on dog we have to cater for 6 months to a year and it’s also expensive. I notice that everytime I weakened and considered tightrope my husband said: “you given it so long, give it a bit longer” … Magic words…
    Shaun I can’t find anywhere a video tutorial on how to put poshdog brace on and off. In you tube there are tutorial videos for all brands except poshdog. Would you have anything you could post? I’d like to see how it fits before I commit to buy.
    It would be great if you could. Thanks.

  29. hey lucy

    this is the link they sent to me after i received my posh knee brace. this video will walk you through step by step on how to put the brace on correctly. also, after you receive the brace they want you to do a Skype video call so they can see the brace on your dog so they can make sure it fits correctly. you don’t have to go to your vet to get a cast of your dog’s leg or any extra bills like that. you just take some simple measurements, which they send you detailed info to make sure it is done correctly, and i think like 4 pictures and submit them to the company. after you do this you will probably have your brace within 5-7 business days. hope this info helps and hope luna is doing well

  30. Thank you Shaun, I am very impressed by this brace. Will definitely place an order. I give Luna a supplement called Cortaflex / Super Fenn Super Strength powder. It’s for horses so I give her the weight equivalent which is just about a pinch. They also make a dog and a human version but it works out far more expensive and it’s exactly the same product. Also in uk dog products have vat added whilst horse products don’t. Keep the good work up and thanks again for the video.

  31. Shaun,
    I have just received the brace. Thank you for your recomendation.
    If you give me your full name I will pass it on to PoshOrtho Dog so that they know you recomended me, I will wait to hear from you. How is Shadow’s clicking noise doing?

    1. my name is shaun skinner. the popping noise in shadows leg has completely went away. i am still only letting her out side on a leash. she is baring probably about 80% weight on her leg. i still will not let her run or jump but when in the house i don’t confine her unless she has to be left there alone. she actually seems to be doing quite well, i guess I’m just overly cautious because i haven’t started exercising her yet. the popping noise has been gone for about 3 weeks even without the brace on, idk if it is the right thing to do but i am even going to wait about 2 more weeks before we start several short walks a day to start exercising the knee and muscle. i wish you the best with luna and hope the brace works for you like it has worked for me. time, rest, and joint supplements along with the brace and after about 8 or 10 weeks my girl is doing so much better

  32. hey lucy

    hope luna is doing well. i took shadow to the vet, not the vet who did her surgery because i was referred to the surgeon by my vet, and had her brace on so the vet could take a look at it. he watched her walk with the brace on and off for a couple minutes, and he said he liked the idea of the brace. then he worked her right knee and said there was no tibial thrust movement anymore. he said he was comfortable with shadow starting on several short walks each day to begin to strengthen her knee as long as she has the brace on. we started walking 3 times a day only for about 6-9 minutes on sunday. i will continue this for about 2 weeks before i gradually begin lengthening her walks. i was very pleased to know there is no drawer movement shadows leg any more. i hope luna has much success with the brace like shadow has. keep me updated on her progress.

  33. I’m so very happy to hear that Shaun. Sounds like you are doing a great job for her. Luna’s brace slips down. Its supposed to sit 1/3″ under the tibial tuberosity but after a few minutes walk it’s moved like an inch further down so we are working on that. Do you put the brace on every time you take her out and the rest of the time she’s in her crate? Luna has started hiking again with her brace on and on leash, but one day I took her off the leash inside a fenced paddock and she ran like crazy until I managed to grab her back. I was certain next day she’d be limping or hopping but she wasn’t. I think the brace saved her. But she is leaning on her good leg more than she was before the run. Obviously she’s not ready to run yet. I wonder when she will be…. On leash she is hiking for an hour with no problem and she’s beginning to put muscle on. I’ll wait till I see strong muscle formation before letting her off leash again. Did you have any trouble with the brace slipping down? I can’t understand why there’s no limping AT ALL yet she stands on one side….
    I wonder about the others in the blog. I hope they are all slowly improving whichever route they’ve taken.
    Please post updates.
    Beat wishes.

    1. yes lucy, when i first got the brace i had issues with it slipping down. the sent us 2 hock wraps, the new and old style. i have better luck with the old style. what worked for me is making sure the hock wrap is tight enough. there is velcro on the hock wrap and on the bottom section on inside of the brace. that is partly what keeps the brace from slipping down. its certainly not something you get the hang of the first time you put it on. it took several attempts and some trial and error before i really got the hang of it. now i can do it with no problem. make sure the hock wrap is tight enough, and it will almost feel too tight, but shadows foot has never went to sleep or gone cold. when i first got the brace, i put it on her about 90% of the time just to go out to pee, but her leg was popping really bad. now for bathroom breaks, i don’t put the brace on. only for exercise. luna will also have to get accustomed to wearing the brace and kind of learn how to walk comfortably with it on, which she will learn with time. shadows walk is slightly different with the brace on than without it, but the brace holds the knee in a stable position. she didn’t really like it at first but now we put in on for walks down the road and she loves it lol. also one thing i do is i start the brace higher up the leg when i put it on and that also seems to help the walk and the slipping. you just have to make sure the bottom pad is above the hock, or ankle. if that pad is around the hock it will really effect how she walks and shadow even couldnt put her foot down at times, the top of her foot would hit the ground. little trial and error and you should find what works for you. let me know if you have any other questions

  34. hey lucy

    haven’t heard from you in a while. just wanted to see if the suggestions i made to keep the brace from slipping down have helped you. shadow is up to 3 15 minute walks a day now and i can tell she is getting much stronger. she is starting to attempt to do things she used to be able to do with no problem so i am still keeping a close eye on her. i hope luna is doing well. let me know if you have any other questions about the brace and i can share what has worked for me.

  35. Hi Shaun, I sent a post a few days ago only to find out that for some weird reason it didn’t go. Anyway I can’t tell you how chuffed I am with Luna’s brace thank you so much for the brilliant recommendation!! The brace has made possible the transition from walking on lead for seven months to now being off lead while still within a closed enviroment though…
    Her muscle is coming back reasonably fast and she seems happy, back to being my old dog from seven months ago. She is in the process of getting fit as I hadn’t realised how unfit she had become but no worries about that, no one is in a hurry 🙂
    I am not very mechanically minded and it took me two to three weeks to get the hang of fitting the brace and had to move a few screws around guided by the amazing after sales support. What an amazing piece of engineering!!! Luna seems very happy wearing it and as you can see here
    she walks and runs quite comfortably. Could you post a video of Shadow? I’d love to see her.
    Thank you so much for asking about Luna. The best thing that has happened is that I’m not stressed anymore. I am confident that Luna is healing and I’m not in a rush because the cloud of uncertainty that I found sooo difficult with conservative management has evaporated. Time has become unimportant because every day is good and Luna is now happy every day. We go hiking almost every day and I’m extending time slowly following Max Tiggerpoz guidelines strictly. The one thing still worrying me is that when Luna stands she absolutely puts most of her weight in her right leg. Is that habit? Is that what they call neuromuscular function?
    I also always wonder about how the other dogs in the blog are doing? Why don’t we hear about them anymore?
    Thank you for writing Shaun. Please stay in touch. When we do surgery we have the whole veterinary establishment supporting us but when we choose conservative management we are ‘almost’ on our own and we must take encouragement and learn from each other. I’ll be eternally grateful to Tiggerpoz. Have you read his webpage?
    Kindest regards.

  36. hey lucy

    yes i have read the tiggerpoz web site and found it very helpful. i am so glad the brace is working for luna. as soon as we got ours for shadow and learned the correct way to put it on the popping noise went away while she had the brace on, so i knew it was a great product. shadow is up to 3 walks a day for about 15 mins a piece, and slowly increasing the length of each walk. i hope in about 3 months i can walk her once a day for about an hour to an hour and a half. then hopefully i can let her outside off her leash. i would walk her 4 times a day but i have to work so i wake up at 5:30 and take her, then as soon as i get home at 6 and usually about 9:00 before we go to bed. she is getting stronger every day because now when we come in from our walks she still has a little energy while at first she would just lay on the floor for about 30 minutes. i am so happy luna is doing well with her brace. i will try to make a video and post so you can see where shadow started when she first injured her right knee to where she is now. around the house and in the back yard on her leash she is not even limping anymore. just keep in mind arthritis is a greater risk for our dogs because of these injuries so find a good joint supplement, i use cosequin double strength with msn, and am about to start her on some fish oil. again so glad to hear luna is doing well

  37. hey lucy,

    i just posted a video of when shadow first injured her back left ccl, and then we went to a surgeon to have a tight rope procedure. i have trained her to stay on my right side when we walk so i will have to get someone to take a video of her walking with her brace on. i will also post a video of her walking around my house without her brace on so you can see the difference. luna looks like she is doing very well. i am so happy to see her running and playing off her leash. i figure in about 4 more months of doing what i have been doing she will be pretty close to her old self. here is the link from her first injury and i will post more as i make the videos

  38. Gosh poor girl…It is so painful so see our dogs in that state. That is why we all rush to the vet and can’t wait for an operation believing our dogs will be OK next day but unfortunately it doesnt work like that… I didnt even know dogs had to wear a metal splint, what an ordeal! That is really tough… Glad all that is over for Shadow and she is on the mend.

    Shaun, I am not surprised the right CCL went three months after the left. I think in the video we can see the right leg could hardly support her; She is hesitant to move and after a few steps she lays down because she cannot give another step on her right leg. Also I notice she is trying to shift all her weight to the front legs. I think that leg was already in trouble. We can all be clever after but I’m surprised the vet didnt say anything at the time. They are supposed to be the experts.

    Shadow seems to be doing great now and although it seems like a long time only three months have gone by since her right CCL injury and the scar tissue has to form and then it has to harden. It takes many, many months for this to happen.

    In Luna’s case it was only after six months I started noticing a real difference, before that time anything she did over and above just plain leash walking would cause a setback that would bring her limp back. Very disheartening… but now after seven months specially with her brace on and having lost about 4kg it is a different story!!!

    Your observation about tightening the hock strap has help me lots. Thank you. I certainly would not want to be without this brace now and Luna loves it!

    This is my new mantra:
    ” While she is walking she is muscle building and
    while she is resting she is healing.”

    Two way win, no way lose 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing your recent videos.

    With best whishes.

  39. Hey lucy

    I just posted two videos from this morning to my you tube channel but I cant figure out how to copy and paste the link but if you can find my channel, shaun skinner, they are there. One shows only her left leg which is the one we had tightrope on and the other shows the right leg with the brace on. When I get to work I will copy and paste the links just in case you cant find them. From the first video you will see how much progress she has made

  40. Shaun,
    To copy the link of your video go to youtube and select your video.
    Select the SHARE sign (curved arrow pointing to the right).
    Then select COPY LINK and then paste it here.

  41. That is just great Shaun! Imagine what it feels like for her to be able to walk like that again and she will just keep getting better and better as the scar tissue gets stronger. Well done! We are reaping the benefits of patience and good care. So glad she didnt have to go through the trauma of a second operation. I tell you what I did for Luna which I think made her very comfortable; I bought two large crates and put them side by side leaving the two facing doors opened, forming a corridor. In one crate I put her bed and in the other a floor mat. This way she could walk a little and she didnt have to stand on her bed which I thought could hurt her knee. I only left her in her double crate if I had to go out and leave her for two to three hours but I was happy she would be happy with plenty of space to move and stand.
    I wanted to ask you when Shadow stands does she stand centered or leaning to one side? I am trying to find out whether Luna’s standing position is a neurological habit or whether her knee still hurts when she stands.
    Thanks for posting the videos.

  42. she seems to stand pretty centered. at this point i doesn’t appear that she is favoring either leg when walking or standing. and i actually built shadow a pin for when she had to be confined out of pallet wood and built it large enough where she can stand and spin around like dogs do to get comfortable, lol i even put a memory foam topper and a comforter in there with some throw pillows for her to be comfortable. she is so spoiled. it is large enough for her to move around and change positions but not large enough for her walk, run or jump. i leave the door open when she’s not locked in there and she sometimes prefers to lay in her little house rather than lay on the couch with me. but back to your question, i did read somewhere that dogs being off balance could indicate a certain condition i just can’t remember what it is called or where i read about it. i will be hoping for the best for luna.

  43. Hi Shaun, Luna completed her first full hour hiking walk (on lead) with her brace on yesterday. She was zonked afterwards and slept for the rest of the afternoon 🙂

    She was a little stiff this morning but I think is normal muscle stiffness as her muscles have to get fit again and we both have to get fit again.

    My new problem is that when we are out and I let her off lead she doesn’t just want to wonder, trot or canter but she wants to push herself to the limits of her athletic prowess, like a good Doberman she is, and of course she cannot do that yet so I’m finding I still have to keep her on lead.

    I will wait until the muscle of both legs have equalized before I let her loose again.

    The brace is amazing but I find that I have to adjust it a few times during a long walks but that is not really a problem. She couldn’t be doing this walks without it. She loves it.

    Hope Shadow is improving all the time.


  44. hey lucy,

    i am so glad to hear about luna’s walk. i am glad the brace is helping her. anytime shadow lays for a while she gets stiff i can tell a difference in her walk when she first gets up. as far as it slipping down on long walks, idk. she is only up to about 15-20 min walks but it does fine so far. however, when we get out and walk she moves so slow and sluggish. did you notice anything like that with luna? i mean i have to slow myself down even from just a comfortable speed so i don’t drag her. she’s not stopping to smell or anything just walking too slow and i am just wondering if i am pushing her to fast. we started slow with 3 little 8-10 min walks and did this for a week then gradually increased up to 15-20 minutes over the coarse of about a month. idk what is wrong with her. i have to make her get out of bed to walk before i go to work, literally i have to carry her out of bed. the only walk she gets even remotely excited about is the one we do right when i get home from work at about 6:30 pm. the one we do at about 8:30-9 at night is the same as morning. i have to pick her up and get her off the couch and she acts like she really doesn’t want to go. i thought after her being confined for so long and not going outside off her leash she would love to get back out and walk. did you experience anything like this? i mean it feels like i am having to force her to exercise, which she used to love walking and running and playing. ugh i get so depressed myself. idk if she doesn’t want to walk because she’s hurting or if she is depressed or what, but she has had some drastic family changes as well so maybe that has a lot to do with it. idk. hopefully i am doing right by her. i have done hours of research and from this and talking to my vet both recommend exactly how i am doing things. she just started getting this way about a week ago and idk what to do about it

  45. I’m sorry to hear that Shaun.
    I would not force her to walk if she doesn’t want to.
    This is what I would do: providing she’s eating well with a normal appetite get some suitable painkillers from your vet. I think Tramadol is a good one, check the painkillers on Tiggerpoz website, that site is my bible. If you notice an improvement after two or three days taking the painkillers then you’ll know something is hurting her and that needs to be investigated. I wouldn’t force her to do anything for the moment and maybe use a sling for potty breaks if needed. Do either of her knees feel hot? How long ago was her tightrope?

    1. hey lucy,

      sorry. i sent you an email several days ago. she is doing better. i have only been walking her once a day after work for about 12-15 minutes. i am not going to force her. she has been confined more over the last few days because she has been trying to play with other dogs when she goes to my moms house, so my mom puts her in her crate, which is exactly what i told her to do. neither knee feels hot, and it has been too long since her surgery to be an infection from the surgery. the surgery was 7 months ago. i think she has just had a lot of changes to her life over the last 8 months, being confined, divorce, and her routine. i think she is just getting a little depressed from all of these things combined. she will bounce back. how is luna? are you still walking her for an hour or more each day? i can’t wait till shadow is able to walk that long. luna is luck to have you lucy

  46. My boys had both his legs go first his right back leg and while waiting for his op his second one went , he had tta in both his legs 6 weeks apart from each other the ops were 18 months on and he is going great , poor chap did had a mast cell tumour removed 6 months after but we are doing ok , I now have been told that one of my terriers also has a very loose knee vets thinking acl stretched , we are giving her rest and pain killers for 2 weeks in hope not to have a op on her , if she does they have not recommended a tta but rather a op that doesn’t involve cutting if the bone , anyone experienced this and how the heck do you keep a wild terrier quiet ??

    1. hey julie,

      2 weeks is not going to be even close to long enough time to tell whether the knee will heal naturally. you are going to have to confine her for about 8 weeks and only let her out for bathroom breaks. if the knee shows improvement, she can possibly do without surgery. to let the knee heal without surgery, it is not a quick process. the next 6-10 months will be long, but that is about the time it will take. even with surgery you are still looking at about a 6-8 month recovery time. confine her for about 2 months. then start with several short walks each day, and gradually increase the length of the walk, but decrease the number of walks. i started with shadow on about 5 6-8 minute walks a day, and after 2 months am only up to about 3 15 minute walks a day. you want to gradually work her up, and your goal should be to get her down to 1 walk a day for about an hour or more. strict activity restriction, rest, and small workouts. i had to put my very active american pit bull terrier on valium to help keep her calm. and take it easy on the anti-inflammatories. they can actually slow recovery time because they prevent the knee from building up its natural scar tissue. is a great website and he will answer any question you may have after you read the website. hang in there. its a long journey but it will be worth it. and stay in touch with us here on this blog and keep us updated on her improvements

      1. Hi Shaun
        I’m sorry I didn’t mention that she has had her bad leg now for almost 10 weeks , we have made the garden smaller , the furniture is covered and we keep her in a small room and only goes out to do her business and back in again , there is no improvement today in fact we think she seems worse if that’s possible , her leg is very wobbly and she has gone off her food she won’t even come to me at the moment as if it’s my fault she is hurting bless her , it’s very heartbreaking to see her this way as she is my little princess , I’m afraid to say she is going in this Friday to have it fixed tightrope op the vets have said that she doesn’t need such an invasive op as the tta being a smaller dog , I’m assuming the after care will be the same sort of thing as my retriever rest , rest and move rest

        1. hey julie,

          yes if it has been 10 weeks with no improvement, she very well may need surgery. shadow had a tightrope procedure back on august 15th and it was a successful procedure. however, the first 10 or so days were extremely hard. she was on strong pain killers and i didn’t even recognize my own dog for like 2 weeks. me and my wife had to take turns with her during the night because she could not get comfortable in the bed so we both only slept for about 4 hours a night for 2 weeks. i do feel like if she would not have torn the opposite ccl after about 2 weeks of starting to exercise, her left leg would be very strong right now. when she tore her right ccl i didn’t feel like her left leg was ready to support her so thats when i started researching alternatives to surgery. i confined her for 8 weeks and the popping sound went away completely, i got her a knee brace from posh dog knee brace, and put her on some joint supplements and fish oils. up until about a week ago we had gotten up to about 3 15 minute walks a day, gradually increasing the length. but yes after the surgery she will need lots of rest. we all know its hard but just hang in there. i am hoping that by august this year, which will be about a year since first ccl rupture, shadow is able to go out by her self and run and play a little. fingers crossed

          1. Thank you for your reply Shaun , I’ve been through the tta op twice on my big boy and it was so hard he had an infection on his incision site he got very depressed and so did I , I slept with him every night for 3 months went part time at work so I could keep a close eye on him , shutting him a small room what I found hard to do I felt really horrible doing it looking back now and seeing him run happily down the field it was all worth it , I’m just worried I have read so many bad endings with the tightrope op that they brake easily and before the scar tissue is formed but our vet is not happy doing a tta on her when he says this op is less invasive .

          2. Thank you for your reply Shaun , I’ve been through the tta op twice on my big boy and it was so hard he had an infection on his incision site he got very depressed and so did I , I slept with him every night for 3 months went part time at work so I could keep a close eye on him , shutting him a small room what I found hard to do I felt really horrible doing it looking back now and seeing him run happily down the field it was all worth it , I’m just worried I have read so many bad endings with the tightrope op that they brake easily and before the scar tissue is formed but our vet is not happy doing a tta on her when he says this op is less invasive .

      2. Hi Shaun,

        I was interested to find out how your interactions were with Posh knee brace customer service. I just purchased a money order to send to them and want to make sure that route is the best way to go. If I use a credit card and they don’t come through as they promise at least then I have some recourse. I had TPLO surgery on my dog after a long try with conservative management that was unsuccessful. I will never do surgery again or recommend it. He had a long hard recovery process including several infections. We are now on month 7 post op and he is completely lame and the vet wants to remove the plate thinking there could be infection still behind it so now he has to have surgery again. He was doing pretty good for awhile, it seemed the infection went away but now I learn it may have been festering all this time. I am so fearful this could lead to other complications that I have read about. I need an alternative like this knee brace and would really like to know your thoughts and how your dealings were with them. Thanks!

    1. hey lucy,

      i sent you a personal email on march 14th. did you get the email i sent you? it explained some things going on that i did not want to make public. let me know if you got it.

    2. Hi Lucy,

      I noticed you purchased a Posh knee brace and have had some sizing issues. Have they been good about helping you try to resolve the issue?


  47. Hi Julie, has your terrier actually been diagnosed with a torn ccl? Partial rupture? Total rupture? I don’t quite understand what you mean her leg is wobbly. Is she toe touching? Limping? Hopping? Those are normally the signs of a ruptured ccl. She will need far more restriction after surgery than if you go the CM route. If she escaped free a few days after surgery the consequences could be very serious whilst if she escapes but she hasn’t had surgery you are just back to square one without worse damage than you started with. You say you reduced the size of your garden. She still has the run of a small garden? That is too much. It has to be crate rest and only walks on lead for a minimum of eight weeks to give her a proper chance to see if she can heal herself. She should not be off lead at all. When I started CM with Luna I didn’t quite understand how serious the restriction had to be and I wasted two months. I started noticing the improvement when I took it as seriously as I possibly could. I changed my life around to fit hers and after eight months from injury she’s resuming long walks again in the park with her friends still on leash. She can run but I’m afraid she may run too hard. I have followed Tiggerpoz to the letter. Everything you need to know is there. Everything he says is true.
    Btw he recommends not to shut a dog in a small room but put a large crate in a room he knows, where the family gathers, that way when you leave her in her crate it won’t be too traumatic. Being shut alone in a small room must be awful for a dog.
    Best wishes. Keep us posted.

    1. hey lucy,

      shadow has been walking after taking some pain meds and it actually seems like it has helped. i have a vet appointment on april 4th so he can take a look at her and see what he thinks. its almost like sometimes she limps on her left leg, then other times it seems like she limps on her right leg. so what i think i am going to do is stop her walks until the we go to the vet, but when she goes outside to pee i will let her wander on her leash a little longer than i usually do just to keep the legs moving and working. then i will basically start from scratch. back her walks back down to about 6-8 minutes 3 times a day and gradually increase every couple weeks. how is luna doing? is she still hiking for an hour at a time? i hope she is doing well. this is just a minor setback with shadow and i know she will bounce back. it is just heartbreaking because she had been doing so well, up to about 15-17 minute walks a day and it took me about a month and a half to get her up to that. i am also going to find out if they make anything like an antidepressant for dogs just in case everything else i shared w you is effecting her. i will keep you posted. and let me know how luna is doing

  48. Hi Lucy
    Pebby is limping all the time she sometime does hopping also , we have made our garden small so when she goes out she doesn’t get excited when on a lead at the chicken she loves to chase , we have a child’s play pen in our living room for her this is the room we spend 90% of family time in ,she is a lateral suture op apparently this is a fairly less invasive op than the tta , i have all the knowledge of the tta with my boy but not the op pebby is having , the vet is going through it all with me on Friday , I’m thinking the after care will be the same as the tta , ice packing for 20 mins 4 times a day then go onto warm pack when the swelling goes down , to be truthful I’m not looking forward to this at all , I have read so many stories that the material they use in this op is easy to break

  49. Pebby had her acl op on the 24 th march we brought her home the day after walking well with a slight limp as expected , the maticam and another med she was very sick with and wouldn’t eat so they took her off that and her antibiotics 5 days after her op still doing well then suddenly 8 days after her leg she can’t use at all , she holds it up all the time , the vet has been to see her and says her joint is a bit inflamed so given her more antibiotics but they didn’t want to give her pain meds as they stop her eating ,We stayed up with a whimpering dog all night poor girl , the next morning I phoned and demanded they find some sort of painkiller for her she now is on tramadol 2 times a day , no improvement on her leg so it sounds like the vets will take her in on Monday and try and find out the problem , I’m wondering if she is having a reaction with the line they put in to keep the knee stable any ideas anyone

    1. hey Julie,

      sorry to hear you are having complications with pebby’s surgery. shadow had a tightrope procedure back in august and had great results. I only discovered CM because she tore her opposite ccl 3 months later and I didn’t think her surgical leg was ready to support her. she was in a lot of pain for the first week or so. me and my wife also stayed up with her for the first 10 days or so. but my vet had her on a fentanyl patch, which is an incredibly strong pain killer, and we added tramadol 5 days after surgery. infection is a high risk with these suture surgeries so definitely keep a close eye for any heat or redness or sore spots around the cut. shadow had a large splint on which made it impossible for her to use the leg for 10 days, so idk about pebby walking on the leg right after surgery. best results come when you can keep the dog from using the leg for about 2 weeks after surgery. just make pebby take it easy and observe her carefully for the next few months. even with surgery options, it is not an immediate fix. there will still be a 3-6 month recovery period. hope she gets better soon.

    2. Lucy and Julie,

      Lucy, you should be so proud of the work you’ve done for Luna. She looks great! You’d never know she was ever injured from the looks of her playing. Both dogs are absolutely beautiful! I understand how frustrating it is not be able to let her run free but you’re doing the best you can for her just remember that. I would never do surgery again. My poor guy had to have the plate removed from the TPLO surgery. There was an infection discovered behind the plate however he showed no signs, limping or fever he just licked it which is why the vet thought there could be an underlying infection. He’s been through so many infections and now my fear is the possibility of something worse. He’s getting around great on the leg that had the surgery and if it were not for the infections I would recommend it. Now he is showing some weakness in his other leg. I purchased the brace but I like you am having trouble getting it to fit properly, it keeps sliding down. I have yet to contact them for final fitting so we shall see.

      Julie, I’m so sorry to hear of your poor girls trouble after surgery. From my experience I would say that she has an infection. Poor thing having to deal with the pain. My dog had a different surgery but he had complications with infection as well. Thankfully we had no trouble with the pain meds. I know how hard it is to watch them go through it. Good luck with Pebby’s recovery.

  50. Julie/ Shaun / Cari,
    I’m so sorry I’ve missed your last emails.

    Shaun, happy to know Shadow is feeling better however I am not sure about putting her on anti depressants… Luna can walk for over an hour without any problem and she can also run in enclosed paddocks however I let her loose in a large woodland and she ran off and wouldn’t come back. She pushed herself to the very limit and although she’s not limping her foot sometimes is slightly off the ground when she stands. This lopsidedness is one symptom she hasn’t managed to crack. So, after nine months she’s still not ready to be 100% set free.

    Julie, what you say is correct. All kind of things can go wrong with tightrope: infections, breakage or loosening of the line, holes drilled in the wrong place, etc this is why some of us decide to go against it. We would all love the peace of mind of letting the vet fix the problem with an operation that is expensive so its bound to work, right? Unfortunately it too often goes wrong. It’s too much risk, pain and discomfort for the dog. I’m sorry Pebby it’s in pain. I sincerely hope the vet is able to fix the problem. Quite honestly there’s probably a point to be made to get all that bacteria friendly stuff out of her body and commit to serious CM for a minimum of six months. I know, it’s a leap of faith… Max Tiggerpoz is your man. Explain to him what’s happened and see what he suggests. He’s the only vet I know who truly has the best interest of the dogs at heart. There’s also another blog running on this same website, where I recently posted, which seems to concentrate on tightrope, you may want to have a look there but I warn you that it has some grim stories.

    Cari, the brace!!! Sorry I missed your message. The company’s after sale and quality of the brace are second to none. My problem is that I’m not sure about the fitting and the changes we can make long distance are limited. I’m still persevering with it. It could be my fault, maybe I’m not fitting it right but ultimately because Luna can walk and run well without it I really don’t have a good point of comparison. In all honesty, if I was pushed against the wall to give an answer, I’d say that I’m not sure it really makes a huge deference. Having said that, she has a walk scheduled for today and because she seemed a little sore yesterday (I should really be canceling this walk) I’m going to use the brace today and observe her very carefully.

    This is a video of Luna nine months after CM playing with her brother. She can cope with that level of play quite well without regression but as I said she still cannot be set free. I think this is more frustrating for me than it is for her. She seems delighted with whatever she can get and doesn’t ask for more.

    Please keep posting.
    Best wishes and best of luck to all.

    1. hey lucy,

      I am happy to see luna running and playing. she looks so happy. I made shadow rest for a couple weeks, only going outside for bathroom breaks. we started walking again, back from square one, for about 3 or 4 walks for about 6-8 minutes each. so this has been our first setback but it wasn’t bad. shadow didn’t start limping or anything, she just acted like she didn’t want to go walking. she is getting excited about walks again so maybe she just got sore. her surgical leg looks good. her other leg even looks pretty good, I just have to get her to exercise and build the muscles and get used to using the legs again. its getting warmer here so in about a month ill be able to put her in my moms pool which I think will really help her. glad to hear about luna’s progress. she looks great!!!

    1. Hi all
      Thank you for asking and helping me on my way with pebby , Sunday evening she slowly started to put her leg down and using it not all the time but slot of the time , the vet came out and he said she is doing much better and he felt her leg and said it’s all it place and feeling nice and solid she still is slightly inflamed in the joint I self he said ad it’s taking that bit longer to go down as she can’t take any of these tabkets to help as she is sick on them all the time , he said rest is the best thing for her even though she wants to just go , go , go ,we have her out of her own in the evenings when the other 3 dogs are settled and she sleeps by the fire with one of my retrievers we do this so she doesn’t feel to isolated , I’m finding it hard seeing her in her pen knowing she is a live wire and wants to play with the others there has been time through the tears I just want to let her out and for her to be back to the way she was , I’m counting down the months / weeks when I can xxxx

  51. The most important thing for our doggies is to be with us. Apart from giving them the meds they need the best things we can do for them is 1) keep them away from danger ie: too much too soon and 2) stay with them always. Time will do the rest. It’s actually harder on us that on them. Each day seems like a week but there’s nothing we can do except wait because the healing is very, very slow. We have to accept this. They don’t really need to be running or chasing, this is what WE think but what they really need is to feel loved, secure and to be with us.
    I have to resist the urge to set Luna free. I am going to give her three more months of restriction. Luckily my husband helps me to restrain her. He says to me: don’t go ruining all the work you’ve done. I totally need this help because I have this huge compulsion to set her free but she’s not quite ready yet. I pray for patience….

    Regarding the brace: I think one of the reasons it slips down is because the velcro of the bottom shell does not grasp the velcro of the hock strap very well so I ordered an extra hock strap to use two together instead of one to help improve the grasp but after it arrived I haven’t used the brace so I have not tested this. Try that and see if it helps or ask Nikki her opinion on this.

    Healing will come although it my not be 100%. We have to accept this. They’ll find happiness within their limitations. They are extremely resourceful. Stay strong. It’s not the heart or a major organ. It’s a ligament that needs time. Sorry if my message is too long. I go on and on….

    Best wishes.

    1. I’ve had the same strong urges to just let my Shawnee go and run!!! But I think about all the weeks we’ve been restricting her after Tightrope surgery in November 2016, and I would hate to undo al we’ve done so far. Hopefully we will get better news on our vet visit on 4-27. A friend’s dog had TPLO surgery at the same time and she just told me that they are having to redo, as he was too active and it failed. Guess no surgery is good without enough time to heal. But it does seem to drag and I long for the days when I could just let her run out and chase a squirrel!

  52. Well said lucy. I had worked shadow up to three or four 18-20 minute walks a day, but she started acting like she didnt want to walk. So I gave her two weeks completely off, only going outside on her lead for bathroom breaks. Then I started over about 5 days ago with only 2 walks for about 8 minutes each time. I will gradually work her back up to four walks a day then every couple weeks increase the walks 3-5 minutes. Slow is best. Best recovery can take 8-12 months if done right. If we let them do too much too fast they can injure themselves permanently

  53. Kathie, Tightrope achieves exactly the same result as Conservative Management. It holds the knee in position so that the scar tissue, which is what will hold the knee for life can form and harden. Does your vet tell you that Shawnee will be able to chase squirrels exactly as before without a huge chance of re-injury? Can the scar tissue offer the same support as a healthy ligament? Please ask your vet. I’d love to think that is the case. I’m bracing myself for kind of always looking out that Luna doesn’t do too much and not to expose her to deer, etc…I don’t really understand the kind of hold scar tissue will have on the knee. Please ask your vet on the 27th and inform us. Wish you to get great news.

  54. Hey everyone

    After shadows little set back I gave her a couple weeks off from exercise. And wow!!! She bounced back even better than she was. I still dont let her off her lead but while in the house she will run a little and ive even caught her trying to jump on to the couch by her self. She seems to be doing so much better on both of her legs. We are only back up to ten minute walks but at the end she acts like she really wants to keep going. Im so happy.This is the first sign of big improvement ive seen in quite a while

  55. That’s amazing news Shaun!!! I am so happy too for both of you !!! Continue to take it very very gently. Well done!!!

  56. Hello! Glad to find this forum! My Westie just had the TPLO surgery 2 days ago. She is home and resting. Her leg is still bandaged and this is her first full day at home. Since she is a small dog I have the urge to carry her everywhere and worry that I should encourage her to walk by herself. I know its only day 1 and the bandage is still on for next 2 day, so I should be patient. It sounds like your dogs are big dogs, does anyone have a small dog and what is your experience?
    Thanks Moira

  57. Moira, I find your post very concerning. Regardless of her size she’s just had the most invasive knee operation there is. She has had the bones in her leg cut with a sword and the only reason she’s not rolling out in pain is because she’s loaded with medication. Surely your vet would have given you instructions as the strict post operative care you must give her for months to come. You must follow those instructions carefully. She should be in her crate in a family room. If she was to run off and cause the implant to fail her life and your life would become a nightmare and it would be entirely your fault. I suggest you phone your vet asap so that he can repeat the instructions to you and that you double them. I wish her the best of luck in her recovery but you must seriously speak to your vet asap and be prepared for weeks and months of care.

    1. Thanks Lucy. I have the written instructions from the vet. No crating recommended. She is confined to a small carpeted room with no visual stimulation. Although I am carrying her up and down stairs as recommended he did say that she could do small 5 min walks in a harness so that she does not run on it (although she keeps it off the ground right now)I will err on the side of caution and carry her as much as possible for now. Thanks!

      1. Hey moira

        I did a tightrope surgery on my dog shadow in august of last year. My surgeon told me with this procedure it got best results when we can keep the dog from using the leg for at least 12 days. He also told me not to start walking her for about 8 weeks after surgery. If I were you I would do someresearch and see what activities give the best results after tplo. Obviously you have to let the dog walk to go pee but if it were me I wouldnt do too much more than that for a while. Like lucy said, that is the most invasive knee surgery there is. Best of luck

    1. Hi Shaun,

      That is excellent to see! Do you credit the posh brace at all? I got the brace for my dog and have been using it about a week now. Just wondering what your experience was with the brace.


      1. Hey cari

        The posh brace definitely helped shadow. It made the clicking noise go away so I could walk her. I still use the brace for her longer walks, but not every time. We are doing about three 20 minute walks a day and each time I feel like she is ready to go longer I will put the brace on her just to stabalize and protect the knee. Best of luck

  58. Hi Shaun,
    I see a happy girl in that video. So well done to both of you!!
    Luna is also a happy girl doing more every day 🙂
    So much for the vet that called me ‘delusional’ for attempting to cure a Doberman with Conservative Management !!!

  59. hey everyone,

    shadow has had sort of a set back, though I’m not sure what caused it. she hasn’t been limping or favoring either of her legs, but she has been licking her right knee and chewing on her paws a lot. i know that when a dog chews his or her paws more than normal it is a sign of an underlying problem. i stopped walking her for the time being even though she is not showing any other signs of discomfort just to be safe. i guess i will schedule an appointment with my vet to get her leg checked out and to make sure he thinks her leg is healing properly. it is finally getting warm enough so i will start putting her in the pool so she can still exercise without putting weight on her legs. since shadows 2 ccl ruptures i am so overly cautious with her and any sign of anything wrong i stop her walks and make her rest. has anyone else experienced anything like this? i have no clue what is going on with her right now because there was not any time where she was unattended or allowed to run or jump.

    hope everyone’s recovery is going well

  60. Hey Shaun,

    If Shadow is licking the leg that had the surgery then you should definitely take her in. My dog had TPLO and started licking his knee, turned out there was an infection behind the plate so they had to remove it. He showed no other signs of infection like temperature. Hopefully it’s nothing to worry about.


  61. Hello everyone.
    I wanted to ask how you are all doing with your dogs? Shadow and Luna etc…
    I know the last post was a while ago but thought maybe you can update.
    Many thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

Or subscribe without commenting.