Morti is now a near 12-year-old, 75-pound, black Lab mix. In March of 2016 he ruptured the CCL of his right leg. It seemed TPLO was the ONLY way to go. The surgeon agreed (obviously) and 3 other area vets. He was healthy enough, still hiking 5 miles and full of energy.
The surgery is very invasive. Morti required 9 hard months to recover to a point of walking comfortably. We had laser treatment, did therapy at home, and swam in the creek (the “swim therapy” wasn’t for him). We made it back to near 2 miles of hiking and then he started showing signs of deterioration in the left leg.
In retrospect, I’m glad we had the surgery on his right leg. Because he is older and recovery was very difficult, I do wish that I pushed to have the tight rope procedure, as it is less invasive and recovery would hopefully have taken less time. They say the tight rope will fail over time on large, active, dogs….but, time is of the essence.
So, we went with a custom made stifle brace for the left leg. It appears to be a partial tear and the brace allows him to walk somewhat comfortably. The last year and a half took a lot out of him and we now can walk about 0.5 mile. I’ll also note that he is on a generic rimadyl, gabapentin, fish oil, and Dasuquin.
I will also note that my 60-pound yellow Lab mix was diagnosed with a CCL tear when she was less that 2 years old. I had her scheduled for surgery (because that’s what the vet said she needed) and strictly followed all of the rules for 1.5 months before surgery. I dropped her off for surgery (crying and broke) and they called 2 hours later to say that she was healing on her own and they didn’t want to do the surgery. God bless this vet and the ability for a young dog to recover. I don’t know how I would’ve controlled her energy for the post-surgery recovery. She is now near 13 and while she has arthritis, still plays with a ball, jumps on the bed, and hikes for 1-2 miles. Good luck! Big decision!!!