TPLO Surgery Complications & Staph Infection – Rosie

My 1-yr old rottweiler, Rosie, suffered a right broken leg in May 2010. In Nov. 2010, she had TPLO surgery in an Orthopedic Hospital to repair the CCL and correct the angles in her leg.

Two weeks post-op, she developed severe swelling in her leg & abdomen, and a fever. I took her to my local Vet, & they sent me to the Orthopedic Hospital. Rosie was put on Clavamox, & they took a culture of ooze coming from her recent suture site. Several days later, she was switched to Zeniquin – to treat a Staph infection. She stayed on Zeniquin for 2 weeks.

Six weeks post-op, Rosie broke the top 3 screws of her TPLO brace while pulling on her leash in 2″ of fresh snow.

The next day, we returned to the Orthopedic Hospital. They stabilized her leg, and the following day, on Dec. 29th, a TPLO repair was performed. She received 3 new screws; an external fixator; and her leg was injected with antibiotics. Zeniquin was continued for 6 more weeks. Another culture was taken.

Seven weeks later, on Feb. 15th, 2011, Rosie’s external fixator was removed because the upper rod was loose. Another culture was taken.

Several days later, the culture showed 2 BAD bugs. Rosie was put on Amikacin injections for 2 weeks, & Chloramphenicol for 6 & 1/2 weeks. She lost her appetite; lost 10 lbs; needed daily sub-Q hydration; developed a stomach ulcer; & stopped using her right hind leg. She was still oozing staph from a site on her leg. Rosie’s blood & urine were checked weekly. I fed her small pieces of food by hand, & used a syringe to feed her A/D.

In late March, 2011, Rosie received another injection in her leg (around the bones/plate/ & screws), of antibiotics. It was decided that the plate & screws will have to be removed after her bones have healed.

I bought an Exogen 4000+ Bone Healing Ultrasound system, and gave her 80+ daily (20 minute) treatments.

On April 14th, Rosie was started on Avelox, for 4 weeks.

She was taking Carafate for her ulcer, which healed quickly. Rosie put on weight, & started using her leg again! Rosie’s xrays showed good bone growth – for the 1st time since Dec. 2010.

April 27th, Rosie returned to the Orth. Hosp. for xrays & evaluation. Excellent bone growth; building more muscle. Scheduled to return back to Orth. Hosp. in early June for more xrays. Hoping to get the hardware removed!

Rosie will get more antibiotic injected around her bones, when the hardware is removed. Another culture will be taken. I’m sure she will need more oral antibiotics. At some later date, Rosie will need arthroscopic bi-lateral surgery on her elbows to remove bone chips due to dysplasia. We will keep our fingers crossed for her future.

Currently, Rosie is happy; eating well; playing; & using her leg very well. She has built a lot of muscle. Rosie will be 2 years old on July 4th, 2011.

To summarize, we almost lost Rosie due to infections & medications. We considered amputation of her rt. hind leg; and even euthanasia. It was a very dark 6 months. Of course, Rosie was, (and is), taking 6+ Tramadol daily for pain. Thousands of pills/hours of care ’round the clock.

My previous rottie had 2-TPLO surgeries with no complications. He had 6 more years of running & playing.


This is a follow-up on my rottweiler, Rosie’s story, following TPLO surgery in Nov. 2010. Rosie will turn 2 year’s old on July 4th, 2011.

On June 15th, Rosie had the plate & 6 screws from her TPLO surgery/ & revision, removed due to contamination from staph. The original top (3) broken screws were left inside the bone. They were entirely encased in solid bone.

Purulent material was removed from the joint capsule; and slime was debrided off the bones. R-gel antibiotic was infused around the entire area. Rosie was kept in a hard cast for 2+ weeks.

After culture results came back, Rosie continued a 6 + 1/2 week course of Avelox.

We are keeping our fingers crossed! Rosie is doing very well now. Will keep updating.


Rosie is now getting aquatherapy! She finished her antibiotics, (Avelox), and is rapidly growing muscle!

I’d like to give credit to (VOSM), Vetetinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group, Annapolis Junction, MD. Dr. Sherman Canapp is Rosie’s surgeon, and Dr. Scott Christopher helped us every step of the way. They saved Rosie’s leg, and her life.

15 thoughts on “TPLO Surgery Complications & Staph Infection – Rosie

  1. Congratulations Rosie, Your parents obviously love you very much!

    Dear Hannah, Thank you for sharing your lives with us as we try to figure out how to take care of our loved ones.

    Of all the experiences I have read, yours has meant the most to us and has made us realize what decision we need to make to take help our Joshey.

    Thank you and Bless you,


    1. Hannah, Thanks for sharing your story, Rosie’s story is inspirational. I’m trying to find an alternative to TPLO for my female Rott, Nixie. My previous Rott had two TPLO’s a year apart at age 4 then 5; Nixie (who’s only 18 months old) just had a TPLO which had to be re-done after 3 weeks because all the screws came loose… now her other knee is in bad shape and the Dr want to do a TPLO on that one next. I’m very unhappy with this deal but haven’t been able to find an alternative for big active dogs. Has anyone heard of a different/alternative procedure to TPLO.

      1. Ron, I opted for the TTO on my dog Raven (Rottweiler). It is a bit less graphic (involved) and less invasive than the TPLO. My vet has been doing them for 3 years. It involves 3 bone cuts: thus triple tiblial osteotomy.

        I am very pleased with Rave’s surgery and subsequent physical therapy. The one problem might be finding a vet with experience that does this proceedure.

    1. Good luck, Sabrina! We hope you have an uneventful recovery, and are running & playing soon. Rosie & Mom

  2. So Happy for Rosie! 🙂 This gives me hope! My dog currently has a broken front leg and external fixator – it’s healing really slowly and my ortho surgeon suggested the Exogen 4000. I was wondering where did you find yours to purchase? Thanks so much! HW

  3. Hi Heather,

    My Dr. suggested looking on eBay for Exogen 4000 . I have purchased (2); both for @ $200.00 each. They were slightly used, and in excellent condition. The cost (new) is @ $3,000.00 !

    Good luck! Keep me posted. Thanks for sharing- Barb

    1. Hi Barb,
      I am currently looking for the Exogen 4000 on ebay. I can see it keeps a track of times its used but was wondering about the overall age of the machine and if this will affect the battery life.
      Thanks Janice

  4. Gracious! I’m pleased Rosie, at 6 months down the line and a recent BIRTHDAY(!), is doing well again. What a journey for Rosie and you.

    1. Thank you! We are not finished yet- but almost! At some point Rosie will need bilateral arthroscopies of both elbows due to dysplasia. We have been assured it is a MUCH simpler recovery. Hopefully, in the near future, Rosie will be pain free.

  5. I was wondering if Vetetinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group in Annapolis did all of your procedures, or just the ones that got Rosie more on track?

  6. Thankyou for sharing Rosie’s story. Our rottie has had a bad experience with surgery this time with major complications. I am very interested in Exogen 4000 we may need this as one problem is the bone not healing and this gives us hope. I looked into buying one new but it cost nearly £3000 so I’ll check it out on ebay.

  7. Hi. I am in a similar situation and do not know if you will get this message . My bulldog had TPLO in January, terrible post op infection with MRSP, several antibitiotics, such a bad response to Chloramephenicol he nearly died so Cornell saved his life but we battle on. Its 15 weeks with continued infection, nonunion at bone cut line and even loss of bone on imaging , very minimal healing showing at all and some instability in knee that was not corrected at all. We have rehabbed him and got his general health back but are faced with additional surgery, more costs, and more fun ahead. My question is exogen bone stimulator I want to use and have access to the device as I am an orthopedic nurse but I have only used on people. I have no clue where you apply it on a dog or if you need to shave the leg to use the pads. Would you apply it over incision or at a specific point on inner or outer side of the leg. Can you give me any idea where you used this on Rosie as your story is so similar to mine and I also have had all of same emotional thoughts you faced with your furry friend and wondered if you could offer any idea on this.

    1. Hi, I also read Rosie’s story. We were in a terrible situation with our rottie. She had one TPLO which looking back was quite straight forward though it didn’t feel like it at the time. The other knee was done 2years later, the op went fine but overnight she slipped and splintered the bone. Two days later It was replated with a larger plate which made her lame. He said to give it a couple of weeks. During all this time the infection was so bad. She was readmitted he took the plate out and bombarded her with antibiotics for about 5 days as he said sometimes the infection hides around the plate. Then he used external fixaters to pin the bone together. She came home after two weeks with scaffolding around her leg and very slowly bits of this was removed as the bone healed. I asked him about this exogen bone healer but he was very dismissive about them. I didn’t use it as I would have to know the exact place to use it. I also asked a question to Rosie’s owner but got no reply, I hope you are luckier.

  8. ROTTWEILERS in particular are prone to CCL tears when they have been spayed/ neutered early. Yes 6 months is early because they have not reached full growth and they need the sex hormones for this.

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