American Bulldog with 2 TPLOs on the Same Leg – Lucy

Double TPLO Repair

Lucy was diagnosed with a Cruciate tear, in both knees. One, more painful than the other. So, I contacted a local vet who had an Ortho vet that comes in and does the surgery….all sounded perfect as we both work and this would be a local office instead of having to travel. (Costs $3400.00)

So, we showed up to bring her for surgery and then they advised us the Orttho vet only did TPLO”s there….if a TTA was needed we would have to bring her to his office, 1.5 hrs away, which is an Emergency service. So, the vet tech told us he would look her and her xrays, decide which was best, then call us.

So, we waited and waited and by the time I decided to call and see what was going on, he was in the middle of a TPLO…so we brought her home and prepared to help her through recovery.

Around day 7, she developed a fluid sack and began limpling. On day 9, she went to our vet to have her staples removed and xrays taken. We took her to our vet because when we picked her up from surgery we were told she can go anywhere for this, because we would not see the ortho vet unless we went to his our vet xrayed her and showed myself and my husband that all looked good. Then the limping got worse, but the sack went away….my husband figured she got caught in a blanket that we had in her box, so we took it out and kept an eye on her. Still did not get better…week 6 she goes for more xrays at the ortho vet’s office.

He tells us she broke a bone and the screws were torn out….no idea how this happened…so he has to go in and redo the surgery….which now costs us $4100.00. So now a total of $7500.00.
We picked her up the next day ready to get her through this. All seemed good until about week 3…on Friday morning, she developed a “pimple like dot:” at the top of her incission. Then, by friday afternoon it is hot and oozing. Called the ortho vet, they told me it was probably becuase of the healing and she has been licking it, so we put cortaid on it, gave her some sedatives and put her E-collar on.

By 3 AM Sat morning she was worse and it was real hot. So, off to the Ortho Vet’s emergency office. She is infected, they need to keep her and do xrays to see if the infection has gone to the bone.
They called us a few hours later saying they have to open her back up…(3rd time in 3 months) to clean it out and scrape away all the bad tissue.

Got a call later saying she is out of surgery and resting well. We will pick her up at 6 AM Sunday morning.

Get to the vets at 5:45 AM to have him explain when they sedated her…her heart raced out of control…they are not sure why…but did get it under control, they hoped, before it did damage….and after reviewing all of the xrays…she has a screw that is still in 2 threads, but broken in side the bone….UGH…

They have sent a culture of her infection out to determine if it is a sterile or non-sterile infection….. cost now officially at $10k.

They are now concerned that her body has been rejecting the metal and this is why the infection is occurring. I can not believe how much our girl has been through…she is such a wonderful baby and doesn’t deserve this ….and i feel helpless.

Thank you all for letting me vent…

14 thoughts on “American Bulldog with 2 TPLOs on the Same Leg – Lucy

  1. Hi Tammy,

    I went through hell with Chief’s two TPLO surgeries caused by an incompetent surgeon. I say this freely as my other German Shepherd had TPLO done at the same hospital with a different surgeon without complication. My story is on this site and is from Jan 2012 – April 2012.

    I hope your baby is going to be OK. It took Chief months to recover. He is doing well now. On occasion he limps a little if he over does it but not much and not often. Nothing a little Metacam for a 3 days does not fix. Other than that he is now drug free and active.

    Chief has oozing from his incision and it was missed by the surgeon as an infection. Finally a competent surgeon stepped in and diagnosed him properly and we got him on the road to recovery. Long sad story but fortunately go the problem resolved after a long battle. The incompetent surgeon was off when he went in to be checked and the head surgeon examined him. I suspected infection long before this but first surgeon said no it is not. Second surgeon said this is an infection. LOL. guess you don’t have to be a surgeon to diagnose an infection. Many weeks my baby suffered due to the first surgeon.

    Vent all you want. I have been there. It is likely that someone on this site will tell me not to blame the surgeon but that is my right and there is strong evidence to suggest that it was the surgeon. This has not been proven in civil court based on a balance of probabilities only because I am way too busy to sue this surgeon when the total bill was around 8,000.00. I would lose more than that amount by taking the time off work to prepare the lawsuit and then spend a few days in court with remands and the games that are played in the our civil system here in Canada. Feel free to vent despite what others might say.


    1. Hi all and thanks for all of your input and time! The results came back and she is not rejecting the metal!! THANK GOD. The ortho vet actually called me yesterday with the keep in mind, the only time we have seen him is the 2 surgeries…every other time, we see a different Dr… He is gong to keep her on Cephflex for 3 weeks this time…hoping no more infections…
      Now, when the first one went wrong…and by the way, we had no episodes here, so i have no idea how she broke a bone and pulled her screws out…we tried to see a different Ortho vet, but they wanted her to go back to the vet the performed the surgery…I am sure i could get a second opinion, but that means putting her through going to a vet’s office and she completely freaks out everytime we have to do that…she pulls so hard…even on sedatives, that she literally will do this “frog” kinda thing on the floor…so i really balk at putting her through it.
      I don’t blame the TPLO surgery. We had a Bullmastiff about 15 years ago who tore both cruciates. had tplo done to both and no problems with quick recovery. That is why we were not upset when he performed this surgery…but this is not going the same way…of course the Ortho vet we used back then is now 2 hours away…so we tried to go closer…UGH…what a mistake that was….
      All we want now is for her to get better….my heart hurts everytime i see her beautiful face look up at me and lil waggy she does when she wants luvin….so i am a fierce momma bear when it comes to her…and the vets now know it…I have not bitched about the cost….but i have screamed and hollered about what she has gone through…and the infection put me over the top…being it was a bacterial infection and they found infection sacks down deep when they opened the incisson back up. I DO BLAME THEM….
      right this minute she is resting well, swelling is going down and the draining is slowing. She is starting to feel better….trying to spit her meds out as us…lol
      I will keep you all posted as this goes on, but what i really need from everyone who reads this is to send good thoughts Lucy’s way….we have 5 more weeks until the bone should be healed ….I need to get her through that sucessfully then i will be able to breath again.
      thanks again!! you all have been great therapy for me 🙂

  2. The deal is that TPLO is no longer a surgery/procedure with a patent on it. That means that any ol’ vet can zip on down to Vegas for a 3-hour seminar and then they can “do” TPLOs.

    Are you at all able to seek a second opinion from a board-certified surgeon who has been doing lots and lots of knees? I know it’s costly to do that, but your baby’s life is on the line.

    Fingers crossed. My dog experienced a traditional repair failure that caused him all sorts of problems, but TPLO complications, as Chief’s mom can attest to, are a big deal.

    In my case, TPLO saved my dog’s life.

    Let us know, please, how this turns out. Most times nobody ever does a follow-up and we all hang around hoping.

  3. I am not sure how it works in the US but here in Canada there are few who do the surgery without being board certified (or at least it was that way). I would keep calling until I found someone who was board certified and then try and get some references. Maybe someone on this site is in your area and knows of someone board certified. My first surgeon who screwed up was board certified though so even that is not a guarantee. The cost here between non certified and certified was only a few hundred more, not much in the scheme of things.

    I hope you find someone to fix you baby. Thankfully both mine are “fixed” and both have been over one year now. They still have not blown out the other leg which is happens 50% of the time within the first year. I know it can still happen but it is day by day. They run and have a great time here in the country. They have to be dogs and I keep praying their other rear leg does not need surgery.

    BTW, Nancy my german shepherd dogs Chief and Justice are “twins” – litter mates. Both had TPLO on their rear left legs. Justice blew hers out while Chief was still recovering.

    Please keep us informed.


  4. Hello all,
    Lucy is still improving! Goes to have her stitches removed on Saturday.
    Wanted to let you all know that this all got to me and put a call into the Ortho’s office and the vet’s office where the surgery was perfomed.
    I have not heard from the Ortho’s office, but the office where the surgery was done has contacted me and had no idea of what we have been through. They requested all of her records and x rays and are researching everything. I have also been advised the Ortho surgeion will probably NOT be doing surgeries for them any longer. At least maybe this won’t happen to other innocent babies and people.
    Will continue to keep you all posted

  5. My dog is getting surgery next week she is a english bulldog.
    any sugustions after i read all of these horror stories i am worried.

  6. Hi Chari! I had a Bull mastiff, many years ago who had a TPLO done on both knees, with no recovery issues at all. My poor Lucy is definitely having a rough time of it, but I blame the ortho vet….not the surgery. Some vets are in the business to help animals and some are in it to make as much money as possible….and you can see what we got for an ortho vet….
    All you can do is be on top of what the surgery entails, and who is performing the surgery. Are you having a TPLO done or a TTA?
    Lucy’s infection is common if they have to go back in and “redo”….
    I will be thinking of you both and sending good thoughts!
    Let us know how you make out

  7. Hi all,
    Just reading everyone’s stories as I now have one to share. My Mastiff/pit mix had his TPLO surgery on Dec 30th and everything seemed to be doing fine the first week. I have a big boy, 135 lbs and strong at that. So on the 2nd week he was feeling a little bit better and got a little excited when we were coming in from our potty break and “tweaked” his leg. I thought “oh you really did it now” but then I thought he should be OK if he keeps off of it. Well he never really seemed to get better after that day. That was on saturday and we already had an appt to get stitches removed Tuesday so I figured I would just have them check things out when I was there.
    Well, that didn’t work out so well. Titan’s incision had started to drain around Sunday night, only the pink water looking stuff. And I noticed sort of a ‘knot’ toward the bottom on the stitches. And the fact he was walking on it right. So I only got to see the vet tech that day. She says it’s normal for the wound to drain. And the dog is going to limp because he basically has a broken leg. And sends me on my way. Doesn’t even have the doctor come in to see him.
    So the next day Wednesday I notice the leg is really draining in the morning. And I go to work for the first time in 2 weeks. And when I came home I knew he was in trouble. He was on fire. Gums were pale. Not really interested in water, but he did eat. Called the emergency line but nothing they could do at that time of night.
    So I take him in the next day. And now he is on 2 antibiotics, more pain meds. They took xrays to confirm there is no structural damage.
    Funny thing is they tried to say he was licking his wound. NO HE WASN’T. I was by his side for 2 weeks straight. Sleep with him and he didn’t. This infection is working it’s way from the inside out. Just hope his body isn’t rejecting the metal plate.
    I feel so bad about putting my baby through all of this. These past 2 months since the injury have been hard on him. I just hope I made the right decision with having the surgery.

    1. Hi there,
      I totally feel your pain. Our poor Lucy went through hell…but I can say now she is doing good. We only had the worse leg done and started her on glucosamine immediately. Her second leg has not bothered her and I am so grateful because I really don’t want her going through that again.
      My thoughts are with you and I hope he pulls out better than ever

    2. Cheryl,
      How is your dog doing today? I have a mastif/pit mix and he just had surgery two weeks ago. He was doing well until Sunday night when you got out of his bed and started running down the hallway…he is now limping on the leg again. I’m really hoping that he doesn’t have to go through any more surgeries for this!

  8. Hi Ruth,

    My boy is doing much better now. We had a rough time the first 3 weeks, more due to infection than him over using the leg. He actually still has one spot on the bottom of his incision that still appears to be infected at times. My regular vet says that he thinks it is scar tissue. If Titan over does it when playing he or rubs that leg against something it starts to get really red around the area.

    Titan also had a couple spells where he limped after doing something he shouldn’t have. I ran him back to the surgeon 2 different times because i was so worried he had done something. But he said as long as he is putting weight on it let him be. But had to keep him quiet. He never came up lame where he wasn’t putting any weight on it.

    It is so hard when they can’t talk and they are a pain tolerant animal to begin with.
    The main thing I could offer you in advice is to keep them quiet and not let them run. I stuck to the rules and didn’t let mine off leash for the 2 months. After that initial scare I wasn’t about to chance him getting hurt.

    Best of luck to you and your baby 🙂

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