Grayson’s Tightrope Procedure for her CCL/Meniscus Repair
Age at surgery: 4 years old
Grayson’s story began about 6 months before her surgery day. We noticed her having trouble rising from a laying down position and getting up and down off of furniture. At first we thought that maybe it was her hips. We took her to the vet to have X-rays. She was diagnosed with a partially torn CCL.
We were given three options for surgery (TPLO, Nylon repair, or Tightrope) We chose the tightrope, but it was not recommended unless the dog had a FULL CCL tear and our Grayson had a partial. We ended up taking her home with Rimadyl and Hip/Joint supplements. Over the next few months she did WONDERFUL…I actually thought that it may have healed. Then, on mother’s day she must have torn it the rest of the way because she began carrying her leg and showing signs of extreme pain. We immediately scheduled the surgery for the next week.
Day 1-Surgery Day:
My nerves were shot on the drive to the vet. I was so worried about our sweet Grayson. Mostly because I had to leave her overnight. I trusted the vet whole heartedly and knew she was in good hands. I just hated to be away from her and I hated that she had to go thru this invasive surgery. When we got to the clinic he did a quick exam of the knee and walked me thru what was going to happen. The tech’s took her back to do pre-surgical blood work and run an EKG on her to make sure she was ready for the anesthesia. After all her test came back normal they prepped her for surgery. I left her at the clinic around 8:30am and she was set for surgery at 10:00am.
So began the waiting game….I am not good at the waiting game. I received a text about an hour into surgery from the Surgeons wife (who is also a vet and close friend). Her text said that the surgeon had opened the knee to find a completely shredded CCL and Meniscus. She said the surgery was going to take longer then normal because of the meniscus tear.
About 2 hours later the surgeon called. He said she was doing good and was waking up. He explained to me that not only did she have a CCL tear but her meniscus was torn as well. He also informed me that she had a genetic/birth defect that prevented her knee from being aligned properly (more then likely contributing to her injury at such a young age). He had some trouble getting the knee realigned but eventually was able to get her all fixed up. He assured me she was in good hands and told me I could pick her up the next day. Thru the night she would be placed on IV antibiotics and receive pain meds to keep her comfortable.
Day 2-Bringing her home
The anticipation was killing me. I don’t think I could get to her fast enough. I had not slept much because I was so anxious. When we arrived at the clinic he informed me that she had not yet bared weight on her leg. This was a bit of a shocker for me because everything I had read said with the tight rope procedure they will usually began using the leg within 24 hours. He assured me not to worry that she was not only in pain but a little nervous as well. We were given strict pill dosing instructions for her Deramaxx (anti inflammatory) and Clavamox (antibiotics). He told us not to let her go up and down steps of jump up and down off of furniture. He said that we could start short walks after a couple of days.
We carried her out to the car and placed her in the back seat. She cried out a couple of times while trying to get comfortable. She had also urinated on herself in the night and they were not able to bathe her because of her sutures. I was in shock at the site of her incision. I counted 18 sutures. I will attach pictures. It was pretty ugly.
Once we arrived home we placed her in the grass and see if she would potty. She would still not use her leg or potty. We brought her in and got her to eat and drink a little and had her lay down in her dog bed. This is where she stayed for the next 5 hours. She slept and slept…Finally that evening she woke up and ate a full bowl of food. We took her out into the grass and noticed that she was beginning to lightly use her leg. She also peed and pooped (which I was worried she would not be able to do). She took her medicine pretty easily. I bought the Greenies brand “pill pocket” treats at Pets Mart and placed her pills inside. I would recommend these because they come home with lot of meds and its VERY important that they get each dose.
I actually let her sleep in the bed with me last night. I just kept a hand on her to make sure she didn’t try to get off the bed (but she slept soundly all night). She woke up in good spirits this morning, and is back to her normal self–minus the hurt knee/limp part. She still is only barely putting her toe down every now and then, but is fully using the leg when its time to go potty.
We let her lay in the shade in the grass while we did some minor yard work. She seemed to really enjoy herself and we thought the fresh air and change of scenery would be good for her. I noticed some bruising and swelling on the inside of her leg. I text a picture to our surgeon and he assured me that it was normal and that gravity will cause some swelling inside her leg. He told me to begin checking her temp daily and call him if it is ever above 103. I checked it and thankfully it was 101. He also assured me that she would show small improvements each day. I am happy with her progress today, but looking forward to even more improvements and time goes on. She also ate her normal breakfast this morning and easily took her medications. She is a pretty good patient.
When Grayson woke up this morning she did her normal routine of going outside. She seems to be using the leg a little more then yesterday but still carrying it 90% of the time. After her morning potty break she came back in and I put her into the bed with us (she slept on her dog bed next to our bed last night) for the first time she laid on her leg. I was surprised to see her do this because she has been “babying” the leg so much. I am sure her healthy leg/hip needs a break since we are on day 4 and she spends the majority of her days laying on her good side. When she got up there was a little bit of blood/fluid on the sheets, but nothing alarming and considering the size of her incision I would guess this is normal. She also has some bruising on the inside of her leg still but the swelling has gone down some since yesterday.
Today she did not seem to have much of an appetite. I added a small amount of canned food to her normal dry food and was able to get her to eat. She also is not drinking water on her own unless I bring it to her and coax her a little. She is also not interested in treats at all (which is not like her at all). I have heard from others that this is normal and is probably a combo of her not feeling well and the meds upsetting her tummy. I also checked her temp again today and it was normal. I left her today for the longest time period yet (around 4 hours) and when I came home she greeted me with a bone in her mouth. This made me so happy because they is what she typically does but has yet to do since her surgery. We got a wire dog play-pen and placed it in our living room. It covers about an 8×8 foot area. In the play pen with her we place her dog bed, water, and bones. We are making small improvements everyday and I am looking forward to seeing where we are at the 1 week mark.