My 90 lb American Bulldog/Pitt mix had the Tightrope Procedure 3 days ago. He is 8 years old, and besides the knee injury, is in excellent health. We think he injured the knee exiting the pool several months before. We noticed a limp right after he jumped out (in-ground pool). It seemed to get better and I resumed our 2 mile/day walks. A couple months after, we could tell it was no longer healing. To the vet we went and started this journey.
One thing I would like to note, is that when it comes to recovery and outcome, it may be important to ask your vet and include in your experience how much if any at all of the meniscus of the knee is removed during surgery. Some dogs have to have this scraped out and some have had it intact. My vet stated it depends on the severity of the injury, current arthritic level, and damage already acquired to the meniscus. This can affect the dogs recovery experience. As well as if there was a partial tear or full tear, did the surgeon remove all of the CCL???
In our case, the meniscus was left intact, and the CCL was scraped and removed (was a full tear).
Our dog is doing great thus far. We picked him up the morning after surgery (central California). He came out of the kennel bearing weight and using the repaired leg. Although this should be restricted, it was a good sign. My biggest initial fear was regarding how we would manage to pick him up and get him home safely. My husband was out of town, and I am 8 months pregnant. Luckily the techs lifted him in the car and we were able to assist with a sling/sheet to get him out at home.
He is an indoor dog and quite large so we have never crated. What we did do is buy a baby/toddler “superyard” and set it up in the living room for the recovery. He is happiest when he can see me and be with me at all times. I currently am not working so this has worked in my favor due to the surgery.I was worried that he would need assistance to get up from a laying down position and being pregnant, this type of lifting would be a no-no for me. He was able and willing to get up, leash walk outside to pee, and back inside with no assistance from a sling. He is cautious with the leg but is bearing some weight on it.
He is eating fine, but I have spoiled him by feeding 1/2 his regular dry food and 1/2 rice, chicken, garlic, and veggies. The garlic will stay on the menu through recovery (8-12 weeks) due to the miracle food it is. He is taking 50 ML Tramadol twice a day, Dermaxx in the morning, Cephlexine 500 ML 2 times a day for 10 days, and 1500 ML Glucosamine (the dr recommended the brand Shift due to a study that reviled it actually had the amount in it that was stated and was absorbed quickly. This is a human brand, not veterinary brand). I have him outside to pee about 5 times a day and get about 3 good pees from him. He has yet to go #2. If he doesn’t go by tomorrow, I’m calling the vet for supplement advice. What do you give a dog?? Prune juice??? Colace???
Again, so far I can’t evaluate more than my dogs endurance (he is doing soooo well. no whining, no visible discomfort passed what the pain meds can handle, eating and drinking normally…I should mention I give him home made broth -no salt- and water mixture a couple times a day just to keep the hydration up). As far as the surgery and the surgeon, 3 days is too soon to evaluate. One thing I do know is that my surgeon was able to use internal stitches and NO STAPLES. It meant no bandage and no e-collar. He is not much of a licker and hasn’t licked the wound much. It wept for the first day and he did lick so out of precaution, we are all on anti-lick supervision duty. I understand infection is a huge risk in these surgeries. I wash the incision area twice a day with betadine. If you do this, you can’t bandage the leg until all the betadine is dry. We are bandage-free so it didn’t matter to us. Another hint is to never BLOW on the incision area if you think the betadine burns. Blowing introduces bacteria from your mouth. Use a magazine and fan away.
We have mild swelling around the ankle and knee, but not too much redness. I have done a few ROM exercises with him and he does not seem to mind. His knee thus far shows great flexibility and no limited movement. I have iced the ankle and knee a couple times. He does hate that, so I will not push it.
He has a check up in 2 weeks. At that time we will evaluate if we can start short leash walks and if we can get him in the pool to start laps. I will check back in often and update. I plan to be extra vigilant regarding the other knee and will be looking for signs of weakness from over use. The last thing we want it to have the other knee go. I do know there is a 50% chance of that but so far the vet said the other knee seems very stable.
Best to all who are enduring the TightRope surgery. All other options seemed way to invasive to me. (And to my dog, LOL!). Please keep posting updates on your dogs recoveries as well. Hopefully this info can be helpful to others and to vets.