Deciding Between Alternative Treatment or Surgery – Sophy

Well I thought I may have been lucky but now, I think not. My beautiful Sophy had her first TPLO at 4. She is a very active, joyful Lab and after doing the research I thought the TPLO surgery was the best option. Three years later, she has just started holding up her other leg. I have been treating her with Acupuncture and chiropractics but the vet said she would not be doing her job if she took my money for alternative treatment and my Sophy needed surgery after all.

So I will try alternative therapies and conservative management, but I have to say I am so torn. Sophy is a joyful lab that absolutely loves to run full-out, all the time. Restricting her activity forever just seems so wrong. I do not want to put her through TPLO but at 7; I just think maybe I should get it over with and let her be Sophy again.

The TPLO is a brutal surgery but in 12 weeks she will be right as rain. Conservative management and/or alternative treatment may avoid it but I would hate to string it out for a year or more and then have to do surgery anyway.

Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks!

Update 12/11/12:

An update on Sophy. I have been treating her with Adequan, acupuncture and a new diet rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients. She has not limped in months now and the vet is very pleased with her progress.

9 thoughts on “Deciding Between Alternative Treatment or Surgery – Sophy

  1. There are only two alternative treatments I’m aware of that might work for a damaged cruciate ligament, and those are prolotherapy and stem cell therapy. Their success depends on the degree of the ligament damage, fully torn ligament is clearly beyond repair.

    I agree with your sentiment regarding the options. I think surgery indeed is the best choice for most dogs. If you don’t want to go with a surgery, you have the option of a stifle brace (I like the one orthopets.com) makes.

    1. Thanks I will try a stifle brace. And I have also done some research on the prolotherapy and stem cell and will discuss with my vets. I am also going to invest in a cold laser (if I can afford one).

  2. So just an update on Sophy. I have been treating her with Adequan, acupuncture and a new diet rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients. She has not limped in months now and the vet is very pleased with her progress.

    Thanks for maintaining this site!

  3. Can you give more details about the new diet? My dog is currently on Adequan for about 5 weeks but not much improvement yet

    1. Hi Aubrey,

      I worked with a nutritionist who created two meals for Sophy. The first is chicken, brown rice, butternut squash, beef liver, sardines with some added coconut oil, fish oil, and vitamin E. we also added some supplements like calcium, turine, iron, magnesium, and kelp.

      The second meal is the same just swapping out the chicken and rice for lamb, salmon and quinoa.

      It did take a few months for the adequan to work so, hopefully it will kick in soon.

  4. I just wanted to post an update for my beautiful girl Sophy. Two years later and she is as active as she was as a puppy without any more surgery. I continue to take her chiro but she had stopped the acupuncture because the vet says she doesn’t need it. She will be 10 in two weeks and is still going strong. I am so happy to learned about conservative management from this site.

  5. Happy for you and Sophy that she recovered so well without surgery! I want to point out that something you wrote in your original statement is wrong. You wrote “…The TPLO is a brutal surgery but in 12 weeks she will be right as rain…..” but in fact many dogs who have TPLO have complications and ongoing problems after TPLO. Bone-altering procedures TPLO and TTA can have bad outcomes. Many vets who sell these procedures are not honest about this. When considering treatment options, people should NOT assume that these surgeries always have good outcomes. These surgeries are very profitable for the vets involved and this fact should be borne in mind when people are considering what a vet claims about expectable outcomes.

  6. The newer the invention the more money for the surgeon…True but NEW doesn’t mean better for a dogs CCL. (same as human ACL) Take into consideration, age of your dog, how active your dog is, (agility competition/frisbee) etc. I have lived through 4 CCL’s with my various Aussie’s and learned the newest and most expensive Ortho surgeon is not always the best. Vets are trying to copy the latest “human” knee replacements…??? but we are talking about a 4 legged animal, not two. ;-]

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