My dog, Tucker, and I had our 3-month recheck with our veterinary surgeon today to discuss his progress following a cranial cruciate liagament, or ccl, repair surgery. Against the advise of our vet, (he wanted us to opt for TPLO, but we felt it was too costly and risky) we chose to do a traditional repair for Tucker. Before even beginning the 12 week post op exam our veterinarian informed us that during this 12-14 week period is when the signs of healing will begin to show, and usually dogs do not show much improvement after this time.
When at a trot or run, Tucker is putting all of his weight on his knee, but he is not doing the same thing when he is walking slowly or standing. When in a standing position or a slow gait, he puts the surgical leg fully on the floor, but he still favors the other side. He is no longer holding the leg up or exhibiting any toe-touching behavior and does not appear to be in any discomfort, but this is not exactly the full recovery I had anticipated going into the ccl repair surgery. Our veterinarian was optimistic that this may even out over time, but reassured us that the point we are at today is still much better than the shape he was in prior to the traditional repair surgery.
We plan to continue the joint supplements in the future for Tucker, in accordance with our veterinarian’s advise. We are also starting to incorporate longer walks into his routine, taking him for swims when we can, and using the hills in our area to help rebuild the lost muscle mass in his knee. Tucker has finally been cleared to use steps, which means he can finally sleep upstairs again in his bed (and we can too). Our vet told us that one of the best things we can do for Tucker’s recovering knee, and also his uninjured knee, is to make every attempt to keep him lean, which for him means keeping his body weight under 90 pounds. He feels the best way for us to do this is to make sure we are exercising regularly and go with a weight control dog food, avoiding table scraps and people food as much as possible.
From here on out we will just take it one day at a time. I am not confident enough yet with his progress to let him frolic off-leash with his brother, but hopefully by the 6 month mark he will be healthy enough to be free from the leash – I know it is something we are both looking forward to!