Benny, our three-year-old Staffordshire mix, had damaged both left and right CCLs. After much shopping, research, and talking to vets, we decided on tightrope repair. We had the RH hind leg done first. Post surgery went well until we got off of the antibiotics, when a horrible infection set in. All of the equipment had to be removed. We are now out approximately $2,700, and are worse off than if we had done nothing. The vet who did the surgery initially said he would redo it at little/no charge when Benny recovered, a comforting talk, as we were face to face. Later, over the phone, he reneged on that offer, stating that Benny was not a candidate for any further surgery.
Here is the take home message I wish to convey: when considering any surgery, TPLO, tightrope, whatever, discuss who is responsible if infection sets in, or any other failure occurs. Benny did not have an infection when he walked into that vet clinic, but did as he left. I am out thousands of dollars, Benny can’t walk well, the vet made his money, even charging us to remove the tightrope equipment. Infections occur in about 5% of these surgeries, so have a very good understanding with the vet who is to do your dog’s surgery about these matters.
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My dog also had both CCL’s done (not at the same time). The second surgery had multiple complications. First, it didn’t take well so the doctor repeated the surgery free of charge. There were two additional surgeries, one to clean out an infection that had set in, and one to replace the stainless steel supporting the bone. I was not charged anything additional for bandage changes, revisits, checks and rechecks and the subsequent surgeries (however unfortunate that was for my dog). The leg didn’t heal as well as the first because of all the fuss, but my vet and I have a partnership based on the well being of my pets. He is a general vet, not an orthopedic specialist, so there is no dollar amount per hour that he considers to cover his time, materials, support staff. His motivation is to make pets well and owners happy. He does so every time, in my book. I feel very fortunate to have this doctor and the relationship with him that puts the animal’s welfare first.