Tightrope Surgery and Large Dogs – Wilson

I have an Olde English Bulldogge named Wilson, he is 4 and very active, with re-active personality. I had the tight rope procedure done last year and nothing has changed for Wilson as far as chasing, running, and jumping.

Tight rope is much less invasive than TPLO, because with TPLO they actually take out some bone and recovery is much longer. Tight rope uses a fishing like leader (metal wire) along with some key points in the joint so it can be laced up again. Eventually, the leader will break a while after the cartilage has been reformed.

Remember – your dog will probably have arthritis due to a torn ACL, but it’s ok, there are plenty of things for that. I live in Minnesota, even when walking Wilson in cold temps his leg does not bother him much, as matter of fact, bullys are famous for not showing pain even if it hurts or (dogs in general). Wilson still has a tire hanging from a tree that he swings and falls from, his recovery or a recovery in general is not as bad as you may think if you have not had it done yet. If you do get tight rope done remember to give Glucosamine, Chondrointin pills daily for life. I have a friend that is a vet and the ones you buy at Walmart for human consumption are perfectly fine, even ask your vet.

I paid $683 dollars for tight rope procedure at a vet I highly recommend…he had done plenty of tight ropes, and my total bill was in the $1100 range. There are advantages and disadvantages to any procedure. Mine was extremely wonderful; to see Wilson happy and back at ’em. I would be grateful to help or give opinions to anyone who needs some assistance with my resources.

14 thoughts on “Tightrope Surgery and Large Dogs – Wilson

  1. We like less invasive as well. We chose extracapsular repairs for Jasmine’s ACLs. That was two years ago and her knees are doing great.

    Glad the tightrope worked out great for you also.

  2. We too have a 4 year old, 85 lb, Olde English Bulldogge named Wilson. Just diagnosed & recommended TPLO for both knees. The surgeon advised TPLO due to weight and breed build? He is very able to walk and run, although we are restricting him to walking on lead only. If we had not had the surgeons visual,hands on inspection of his knees, we really would not know anything was really wrong. When in a sitting position he straightens his right leg & holds it 1 or 2 inches off the floor! We also have Wilson’s mother that had the TPLO a few years ago which was successful,with no complications. But the recovery was very difficult on all concerned, including Wilson who was only about 6 months old at the time. The surgeon was ready to schedule the 1st TPLO. I am interested in further research on the Tightrope. Even considered looking for Holistic approach. Glad you Wilson is doing great.

  3. Hi Tammi. The recovery is a hard and important period after any surgery. Properly handling the rehab makes or breaks the success.

    The TPLO is the most popular and most recommended surgery for large breed dogs.

    We didn’t go that route either though, we did the extracapsular repairs and it worked great.

    There are options for conservative approach, but I think that for a large young dog a surgery is the best way to go.

  4. With all due respect, from the description given in this story, Wilson had an extracapsular repair, not a Tightrope. The Tightrope repair does not use a “fishing like leader or metal wire”. Nor is it supposed to eventually break. The actual Tighrope surgery uses a patented fibretape material made by Arthrex & is designed to remain in the knee permanently. I think this owner is confused about which surgery their dog has had.

  5. Just wondering which vet in Minnesota did your dog Wilson’s surgery and where in Minnesota. We have a olde english bulldogge named Wrigley and he is 3 years old and we would love to get a referral to someone that does the tightrope surgery in Minnesota.

    Thanks, that would be greatly appreciated!

  6. My Lab just had tightrope surgery. Still at the vets. He is almost 8 and overweight. I am praying and giving all I have for him to have a full recovery. I am very worried about the other leg tearing from what I read. Will a brace on the good leg prevent another tear I wonder? Any advice appreciated !!

    1. That is an interesting question, to which I don’t know the answer.

      The first thing you need to do, of course, is to get the weight under control. The brace could certainly protect the other leg; whether or not something like that might interfere with healing of the operated leg, that’s the part I don’t know.

      You best ask your surgeon or the brace manufacturer.

    2. I was wondering what you found out Karen. I have a large breed dog less than a year old that I was told needed TPLO. I cannot afford 4K for this surgery so wanting to do the tightrope or extracapsular which is about 1,000. I am concerned she is too big and it wont hold as well. Asked about a brace for extra support and was told that would do no good. I could use some advise from others as well on lower cost options.

      1. Our vet also said a brace will do no good…is that because they don’t sell braces I wonder? He also said that he works on a thin margin with the TPLO so he will not set up payment plans…thin margin my butt. I am also wondering how well dogs do that do not receive any surgery. My dog only has a slight limp for a month now and I was told needs TPLO.

  7. hi how is your pup doing a year later? where in MN did you get this done? i have a 3year old Olde English Bulldogge that needs surgery and i’m curious about exploring the tightrope option.

  8. Thought I would pass a little information along about my 8 year old Australian Shepherd’s experience. Charlie had one knee repaired in September 2011 and the other in April 2012. The cruciate was torn in each knee. The first knee was injured and during the recovery the second knee weakened and tore shortly after. He had the traditional surgery and is doing fabulous! It’s not the easiest thing to go through – but it is not the most difficult. (No one wants to have their furry friend go through this)

    Aside from the positive experience with the results, I would like to pass along one of the things I consider to be a key to his success: Joint Supplement. He takes Cosamin DS – yes the supplement humans take. My vet takes it and recommended it. I tried it and it worked great the year before surgery (we did preventative maintenance before surgery to see if that would work). The reason I feel the need to pass it along is that I decided to purchase a supplement made for dogs on line to cut costs a little. This supplement may work for many dogs, but it didn’t work for Charlie. After I switched back his knees improved greatly. As with all things, price can be an issue. Cosamin is expensive – but stores run specials and I almost always get buy one/get one or buy one/get one half off. It is worth it! So – if you find that canine targeted supplements don’t seem to work – you may want to check it out. After spending a year and a half on Rimadyl and other pain relievers from time to time, Charlie is off of the Rimadyl and only takes the supplement! Sure he may need an anti-inflammatory from time to time – but he is a success. He’s a success and with all of the helpful advice here and wide audience with many needs and questions – I want to pass this along.

    Best of luck to all!

  9. I have a 90 lb boxer with a torn acl, x-ray done and vet recommend tplo. Very expensive for me and longer recovery i hear. My dogis 4 1/2 yrs old and not very active . I wanted to know if anyone who has a larger dog got the other two procedures and if it was a success?
    I am afraid of what to do but my boy is depressed and lying around and I have to make a decision. He has been on Cosequin Ds for quite some time. I need advice please. I am really worried. thanks in advance.

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