Treatment Options – MacDuff

treatment optionsMacDuff is an almost 15-year-old terrier mix who weighs 21 lbs and is very healthy but 2 weeks ago he injured his back right knee and we’ve been told he needs a unilateral TPLO for $5,000 with an estimated 8 weeks of recovery. I initially said yes but then started wondering if that would be the best decision. He can walk on that leg, although at times he is a little less stable when he tries to pivot. He can lift it to pee and still shows his usual joy and happiness. We bought a dog stroller and have been conservative with his walks….brief to allow his “business,” no running or sudden movements, no stairs, and we lift him up and down into the stroller, onto the bed, etc. I am more and more wondering about taking a conservative management approach and would appreciate feedback. I love my boy so much and would do anything for him but I don’t want to subject him to painful, major surgery with months of possible recovery if there are other ways to help him heal. PLEASE HELP.

5 thoughts on “Treatment Options – MacDuff

  1. My 12# 9 year-old shih tzu had an ACL tear around the end of February. Vet said $2k for the surgery. After talking to the director of small animal orthopedics at a state college, she said the surgery is “100% elective for a dog that small.” She guided me through the same CM methods I had already read about online, and said I should see improvement within 2 weeks (when the surgery date was set). I bought the joint supplements, gave her those and the anti-inflammatories religiously while restricting her movement. Surgery was cancelled since I WAS already seeing improvement! She is now walking on her leg, and has recently been jumping onto the couch again! I’m pretty much letting her do what she feels comfortable doing at this point.
    The director I had talked to said that regardless of surgery or not, the end goal is to build scar tissue since tendons do not regenerate. Also, if you do the suture repair, the sutures eventually disintegrate and leave only the scar tissue.
    Since this happened, I have talked to SOOO many people who’ve said their dog either re-injured the leg or injured the other leg after the surgery.
    My girl may always have an occasional limp, but I feel I made the right decision for her. Hope this helps!

  2. good morning – am sorry to hear about Mc duff’s injury=My dog0 Kaylie did the same 4 months ago-her story is on here, and I went the non surgical route because she has lupus and in on prednisone so is not a surgical candidate- I ordered a custom made brace from Animal Ortho Care in Virginia and put her on a weight loss diet-she is 63 lbs-we went with restricited activity,pain meds-tramadol, and joint supplements
    She is now 4 months out- walking on her leg comfortably- off pain meds, and happy- only put the brace on now for longer wlaks ,but not for short in and outs.
    I am happy with the results of conservative management for her..
    Your dog is light weight and elderly–he may do well enough with conservative treatment. Good luck!

  3. Good afternoon, I was just wondering how soon after an acl tear should you start these exercises with a dog. My dog torn his a week ago tomorrow. Not sure if I should give him a little time to heal before I start messing with his leg.

    1. The order of things with any injury is rest, getting rid of pain and inflammation, in cruciate tears also achieving as much stability as possible, then exercise. The reason for taking care of pain and inflammation first is that while there is pain, functional use of the muscles won’t happen and while there is inflammation healing cannot take place.

      I recommend working with a good veterinary physical therapist, ideally one that is a vet, not just a vet tech.

  4. There certainly are other options, particularly for small breeds. Conservative management is one of them; I’d recommend using a brace. As for physical therapy, I recommend finding a good physical therapist in your area to guide you.

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