Initially we tried conservative management with my pit/shepherd mix Blu because I did not want to put him through surgery. We had some success with that for about a year until I got another dog and he reinjured it roughhousing. We tried CM again but this time he wasn’t improving so we made the tough decision and my baby had TPLO on 9/29/16; tomorrow will be 6 weeks in.
He developed an infection week 1 and was put on 2 different antibiotics. He seemed to be improving by week 3 and he was using his leg pretty regularly so we started him on physical therapy. The therapist said he was doing great and we were feeling pretty good about our decision until a couple days later when he stopped using his leg altogether. We went to the emergency vet because he was lying on his pillow shaking and she said she thought he had an infection. Because he wasn’t responding to the antibiotics she thought exploratory surgery would be appropriate. I wasn’t about to put him through that unless the surgeon recommended it so we packed him up and drove back to where he had his surgery. We waited for 3 hours to see a fill in for the surgeon who was on medical leave. The Dr. tried aspirating fluid from 3 different spots in his leg but didn’t get anything so he thought he may have just slipped and hurt it and would be back to normal in a few days. We left with some Metacam and Tramadol relief.
A few days later he was not any better and completely lame so we went and saw another vet filling in for the surgeon. This time the Dr. successfully aspirated fluid and put him on another round of antibiotics (Chloramphenicol) and said we would see a big improvement within a few days. A few days later he was improving slower than we were told so we took him back to the vet this time seeing the Dr. who did his surgery. The results had come back from the culture done during our previous visit and we were told he had a staph infection but not the resistant kind. The vet did x-rays, said everything looked good and we were given another week of Chloramphenicol. He said if that didn’t work they may have to take the plate out and then he sent us on our way.
About 4 days later he started using his leg about 50% and slowly improved from there for a few days so I was thrilled until this past Sunday he went completely lame again. He seems fine other than the fact that he’s not using his leg but I am taking him to the vet again this evening to be safe. I have read a lot of other posts on this site that are extremely disheartening and I am beside myself with worry. My question is has anyone had a similar experience and could it be he’s just recovering slower than most dogs? If there is anyone who can help ease my mind I would really appreciate it.
18 thoughts on “TPLO Complications – Blu”
My Shanti wound up having at least three subsequent surgeries on the same leg. Yes, she got an infection once, the surgery wasn’t ‘holding’ properly another time and some sutures were causing an irritation/infection within the incision. I don’t know where your regular surgeon is, but I’d insist on seeing him or start with someone new. Do you have any veterinary schools in your area? Do you trust your regular vet to treat your pup? I feel so bad for him…he’s been really sick and proper healing relies on his strength. Thank goodness you are so attentive!!! Keep knocking on doors and calling for help with the vets until you get the proper diagnosis and treatment for the poor guy.
Funny, this is my post but not a picture of my dog and I never saw these responses until today. Thank you for your feedback. I live in Michigan. There are no veterinary schools in the area that I know of and I do trust my vet who is currently back working long hours. He is very well known for all the work he does for all the local rescues and he works very hard. I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles with Shanti I know how hard it is to see them go through tough times. How is your dog now? For the past several months Blu has been doing well. He has some post op scar tissue and he still licks the incision site sometimes. I noticed a couple weeks ago that he had licked it to the point that it opened so I took him to the vet last week. He says that there could be infection behind the plate and I should schedule surgery but no rush. This past Sunday I woke up to him crying and shaking and his leg completely lame so I took him to their 24 hour urgent care. They asked if he fell and said they think it’s his hip not his knee and put him on pain meds. He improved the next day somewhat but still has a slight limp. He has surgery scheduled to remove the plate this coming Thursday and they will do a culture to check for infection. He’s now showing signs of trouble with his other leg so I ordered the Posh knee brace for it. I will not put him through surgery again. He has been through enough in his short 4 years of life.
Michigan State University is one of the best veterinary schools in the country. You should contact them and schedule an appointment if your problems persist.
We had TPLO in August and Tank developed an infection. He did 12 weeks of chloramphenicol and now he is on another antibiotic which seems to be helping. His bone is about 90% healed at this point and we are almost close enough to schedule plate removal surgery. He has a very slight limp but other than that he is doing well. Wish you the best of luck!
Hi Sarah! Funny, this is my post but not a picture of my dog and I never saw these responses until today. Thank you for your feedback….Sorry to hear about Tank. Did he have the plate removed? How is he now?
How did it go?
For the past several months Blu has been doing well. He has some post op scar tissue and he still licks the incision site sometimes. I noticed a couple weeks ago that he had licked it to the point that it opened so I took him to the vet last week. He says that there could be infection behind the plate and I should schedule surgery but no rush. This past Sunday I woke up to him crying and shaking and his leg completely lame so I took him to their 24 hour urgent care. They asked if he fell and said they think it’s his hip not his knee and put him on pain meds. He improved the next day somewhat but still has a slight limp. He has surgery scheduled to remove the plate this coming Thursday and they will do a culture to check for infection. He’s now showing signs of trouble with his other leg so I ordered the Posh knee brace for it. I will not put him through surgery again. He has been through enough in his short 4 years of life.
How is Blu doing with the plate removed? Animal Surgical Center, Flint, Mi is very reespected, FYI should you need another opinion
Better so far. I don’t know if his leg will ever be the same though. He has trouble getting up. Of course now he’s torn his other leg and I am so fearful of surgery. Thanks but we have other surgery centers near us OVRS and Blue Pearl but I am afraid of the surgery..
Hugs to Blu. Yes!! The plate and screws should come out stat!! Once the bone is healed it serves no purpose
Also, if his other leg is bothering him, it could be he is displacing his weight, and causing discomfort, and tissue injury
Think about what would happen to us if we continued to limp, or drove a car on an emergency tire…
The place you have the surgery does matter.
Research the surgeon thoroughly!!
Practice going up and down gentle hills.
5 minute walks, no jumping in or off anything
((Hugs)) here if you need to talk.
My dog is in surgery today?
Oh…hugs to your dog in surgery. Is your dog male or female and what’s the name? What kind of dog? It’s so hard to put them through this I know but be strong. Let me know how it goes. My dogs plate was removed months ago and he seems to be doing well other than not being able to get up like he used to. His other leg has gotten progressively worse. It started as a partial tear but now it’s full blown. We had a barricade up so he couldn’t get out and tear around the yard but he found a way under it and off he went after the deer and came back holding it up so I know he needs surgery again. Believe me I researched the surgeon thoroughly. Dr. Wilson, his original surgeon is well known and has a very good success rate but because of the complications I am skeptical of going back to him or any other surgeon. Even my dogs physical therapist told me the biggest complication was infection so I was fearful of doing the surgery the first time and now I’m even more fearful. What surgery is your dog having? I am here if you need to talk.
Hi Cari, my dog is a border collie. I am hoping once the plate is removed she will be great. Fortunately, no arthritis. Yes. One of the biggest challenges is no off leash, not even in a fenced area… not for 3-6 months.. thats a long time!
For conservative management, have you tried red light therapy? The Gospel Red light pad is $200.
And it works!!! Also the balto btace and back on track coat and hock wrap.
Minimmum of 3 months on leash only… no free running
Ugh.. it is a long road.
I will let you know how my dog is doing ! I pick her up today.
How long after the plate was removed from your dog did he get back to ‘normal’?
My dog was back up and walking around the same day he got the plate out and was back to normal very quickly. Did your dog get an infection also? I have not heard of any of the things you mention but I will look into it. I did take my dog to therapy at $145 a week for 1 hour which included laser, underwater treadmill, ultrasound therapy and exercises. I stopped after a couple of weeks because he got the infection and I didn’t want to make things worse. I also got him a brace for his good leg to prevent further damage but the day he got out he didn’t have it on. 🙁 He was only going in a small enclosed area not enough to run I am such a sucker for him and I thought “he’s just going out to do his business it’s ok” dummy me. Like you said it is very hard.
THE DOLLY SAGA
Dolly is home tonight!! She looks great.
Dolly had the TPLO Plate and screws removed by the very skilled hands of Dr. Degner. it was the crazy Spidey sense of Dr. Mary Cardeccia, who got us back to Dr.Degner in time.
Most wonderful news is Dr Degner did not place the lateral collateral ligament!! We are hoping with the plate and screws gone, Dolly will no longer externally rotate her leg.
Tonight, she did a huge stretch, and has about 80% weight on it.
I am very happy.. not looking forward to the confines with her for the next few weeks, but it is all good.
We are back to Dr. Mary Cardeccia Saturday.
This is a journey.
So… here are a few pics… Dolly’s surgical site, Dolly w a stifle icer. If you play any sport, your dog should have one!! And ofcourse her Batman pants! To stop very bored border collies from wondering why her leg has no fur.
Keep the prayers and good thoughts coming. We are not out of the woods completely yet!!
Hugs to Dolly…the next few weeks will go by in a flash and she’ll be back to her old self in no time at all. What is the Balto brace for? I see it’s a hock wrap but the injury is in the knee. I have the Posh knee brace which also comes with a hock wrap. I don’t know that it works because he’s still holding up his leg even with it on. I just purchased the Gospel red light pad. Fingers crossed. I scheduled surgery yesterday for August 15th but of course don’t want to put my baby through that again if I don’t have to…Prayers and good thoughts to you and Dolly. Good luck to you!
The Balto brace also comes as a stifle brace.
I am not using any brace right now.
I will keep you updated to the orogress. Hope to be back to agility soon!
When do you ice the leg? I am going to be using the light therapy not sure of the stifle icer.
Stifle Icer I purchased thru Clean Run, best $60.00 USD i have spent and will use it long after surgery is done,
I ice for 15 minutes, 3-4 times a day.
I also have thd Equine/ Canine red light therapy. when she is better
Hi Cari. My dog is going through the exact same situation right now! He’s getting the plates out this Tuesday and we are hoping he will use his leg again. My dog also tore both ACL’s. Thank you for writing this post. Hope Blu is doing better!