TTA Surgery Recovery Advice – Lucy

TTA Surgery AdviceLucy is an energetic, athletic Sheprador (Australian Shepherd/Lab Mix). At this writing, she is 3 1/2 years old.

I believe that Lucy’s initial injury occurred when she was about a year old when she stepped in a deep hole at a dog park while tearing around. She is pretty tough and did not seem disabled at first, but gradually showed symptoms of a CCL tear. The last 6-8 months, she barely used her left leg.

This decision—how to deal with this injury—is very difficult. The expense, lack of many alternatives, suffering of the dog, finding a vet you trust, and anticipation of the effort and possible failure. I prayed about it a lot…I applaud and encourage all of you who are going through this, trying to do the best for your dog.

A common thread I discovered when reading the many online accounts was this: more often than not people who report great results refer to their dog’s surgeon by name and mention his/her experience, as opposed to just saying “my vet…” I think its very important to find the most competent and experienced surgeon you can.

I wanted Dr. Charles Pullen in Scottsdale to do Lucy’s surgery and thought a tightrope would be the best I could afford. After a discussion with my regular vet, I then thought that a traditional lateral suture repair would be fine. But I wound up back at Animal Surgical Center in Scottsdale. I figured that if I was going to spend the money and effort to repair her knee, I would trust her to a surgeon who has done many hundreds of them.

TTA Surgery BandageIf cost is a big issue, I’d encourage anyone contemplating a procedure to discuss this very candidly with the vet. Many of them understand this dilemma and may be able to discount or work with you to help you out.

Lucy had a TTA on May 30. Dr. Pullen felt this was the best for her…60 pounds of high-drive dog. Dr. Pullen, his staff and facility are beyond top-notch—extraordinary attention to detail The surgery went very well and 2 weeks post surgery, Lucy is making wonderful progress. He removed torn cartilage and adjusted the angle of her tibia with regard to the patellar tendon. Amazing stuff. He rated her weight bearing of the repaired leg at 80% one week post op.

The biggest obstacles: those first days post-op. Waiting to get the bandage off. Getting her to poop (yeah, we needed an enema, but it wasn’t a big deal). Keeping her off those stitches. Oh, and finding ways to get a dog to take medicine.

Follow the doctor’s orders. I’m fortunate, as a teacher, to have time at home this summer to babysit her. I can’t imagine not having had someone with her most all the time for at least the first 10 days.

You MUST keep the dog on a leash at all times outdoors. I opened the door so she, in a narcotized state, could go out to pee. She spotted a cat on our wall—the narcotics wore off in 1/2 second! If I hadn’t had her tight on a leash, it could have been really bad. I shudder…and thank God I had that leash on her!

I am fortunate…Lucy is very driven to please and has been extremely cooperative. In that vein, I’d STRONGLY encourage anyone contemplating surgery to reinforce obedience and crate training. The more responsive your dog is to you, the better.

45 thoughts on “TTA Surgery Recovery Advice – Lucy

  1. Hi, my 6year old golden torn her left ACL in Oct 2011 and had the traditional lateral repair. Fast forward to June 2012 and 3 months of intensive rehab including underwater treadmill, twice daily exercise and walk, but still doesn’t fully weight bear. We did the intensive rehab As she wasn’t fully weight bearing at 2.5 months and developed a hip click 2 months Post Op. Hip x-rays were negative. Well last Sunday she tore her right ACL and we are now looking at TTA vs TPLO. What can we anticipate/expect for her recovery. Any shared experiences would be greatly appreciated. Plan to have her start working with a rehab specialist given our experience with her first repair and desire for her to regain as much function as possible. Appreciate your comments about leash use. We don’t crate her so not sure how that would work. I am very concern about bowel and bladder as it took her 2 days to pee and she still hasn’t poop yet. Did you give her the enema or did the vet? How long did you wait till you gave her one. We currently are using a sling for her to walk as she isn’t weight bearing with the right and only partially with the left and the left knee is clicking when she does bear weight on it. The has been so difficult for us, Bella is a sweet heart thru all of this. Thanks for any feedback

  2. Our surgeon has done many TPLO, TTA and TR procedures. Much depends on the dog and nature of the injury, but he is most enthused by the success he observes in the TTA. He made a very good case for the TTA. After 4 weeks now, Lucy is looking great…she uses both legs almost equally to walk, and has since the surgery.

    Our surgeon recommended 6 weeks in a crate, except to eliminate, or if on a held leash inside or outdoors. Lucy never handled a crate well, but fortunately with close supervision we have managed to keep her very subdued indoors w/o a crate. Sedation has helped. Acepromazine is very effective in keeping her calm…1/2 of a 35mg tablet zonks her, so we are able to calm her w/ 1-1.5 tablets daily. I crush them, and mix it w about a half cup of milk and she laps it right up…a dab of butter always helps.

    Pain has not been an issue for her, but she does have a high threshold. We ice and do range of motion at least once a day. Her ROM was good at one week. Today I can get her hock to within about 2 inches of her butt, which is pretty good.

    She is convinced that she is 100%, which is the biggest challenge for us. We take short sniff walks around the yard after potty trips for some stimulation. Short leash and always under control. She handles this fine and it’s soooooo hot in PHX that she wants to go in after 5-10 minutes w/o complaint.

    I was a little alarmed that she wasn’t drinking much for almost a week post op. she didn’t poop for close to a week…yikes! But she showed no distress, so we tried to be patient. We administered a fleet, with the help of sedation, and that got things moving. Those issues resolved w minimal trauma. Their bodies are perhaps more resilient than we think.

    Looking forward to 6 weeks-a big milestone. We will get X-rays and then begin more active rehab. Hope this helps…

  3. Took Lucy in for her 6 week X-Rays and exam today. Excellent! The doctor was very enthused about the bone growth he sees around the implants and in the gap where the tibia was cut and advanced. Looking at the X-rays, he said that you could think of the implants as being firmly embedded in bone already, and that there is very little danger that they could break loose, or of any other major complication.

    She can be free to roam the house and even go outside (in the fenced back yard) to eliminate w/o a leash, as long as I make sure there aren’t things out there that would cause her to run and make quick turns (like chasing a rabbit). Also 20 minute walks are okay, which will make her much happier.

    One of the claimed benefits of the TTA is faster recovery. I surely can’t speak for other experiences, but In this respect we couldn’t be happier with the outcome, so far.

    Again, I have found a vet. surgeon that believes very much in the TTA procedure and has done over 200 of them. My recommendations: find such a vet. It might not be the TTA, but if he’s enthusiastic and experienced with his procedure, I think it improves your chances for a good outcome. Also, have a plan for watching your dog post-op, and reinforce basic obedience before the surgery if you can.

  4. Lucy updated (8-22-12). 12 weeks in and Lucy is doing very, very well. You would not be able to tell which leg was repaired by watching her run. There seem to be no residual effects from the surgery. Prior to surgery she got up from sleep and moved around like an old dog. She now jumps up, stretches, and is ready to go—no limping, and only very slight signs of stiffness.

    I am grateful for a great surgeon and believe now that the TTA was the best for Lucy. I breathe a deep sigh of relief that things went well (with a lot of hard work) and am glad that over the course of the summer she has regained normal function in that leg.

  5. 15 weeks after TTA for Lucy. Gradually she has regained what I would consider to be full function. She swims almost daily, chases the ball vigorously and is very much the dog she was prior to her injury.

    I do not push her as hard as I did before, mainly out of concern for her other leg. A tear in her other CCL would be very difficult to cope with emotionally.

    In retrospect, these weeks have gone by quickly, and those difficult days after the surgery seem long ago. I give thanks every day that she’s regained her ability to run/play/work and enjoy life without discomfort or much limitation.

    The TTA was right for our dog, especially as performed by a terrific surgeon. I hope that dog owners going through hard times with their dog can find hope in some of the success stories here, and I ‘m very glad that Lucy’s is one that I’m able to share.

  6. I just found out today my dog ruptured ACL, I am depressed but looking at everyone’s experiences I am feeling better…I am scared about surgery but I guess the TTA is better right? Please let me know.

  7. Hello, I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone for their insightful information regarding what they experienced with their dogs, post TTA ACL surgery. It gave me the motivation and courage to have our own 2.4 month yellow lab Anni, go through the process on 3 July, 2013. Needless to say that the first 24-48 hours post surgery were rough times, given the amount of pain she was in at the time, but after that, she is starting to make a rapid recovery and now acts like nothing is wrong with her left leg. Tomorrow we go into the vet to get her stitches out and for an evaluation. Note that we did not crate her, but kept her confined for about 10 days in a small area, where we could keep an eye on her. I just hope that her leg is as good as she is making us believe, with her increasing energy levels. She is hard to keep down at the moment! TTA was definately the right choice for this family. I just hope we dont have to go through it with her right leg. Anyway, no regrets. She appears to be much happier now that she can start using her left leg and not have issues getting up anymore. Will keep you all posted on her progress. And thanks again for your comments. Laura Hill

      1. Her repaired knee is the strongest part of her aft half! Unfortunately, she has developed arthritis in her hips and other knee, which slows her quite a bit.

        But the surgery bought Lucy some very good years and she is able to rely on that strong left leg to keep her mobile. She’s still very active…more walking than strenuous exercise.

        Glad we had it done.

  8. Thanks everyone. Glad to hear about Lucy and the other success stories. I’m about to go down the TTA path with Sadie, after getting over my denial that this even happened out of nowhere. I really needed a site like this. Best of luck to all. Stay strong. Love your dogs.

  9. One of my dogs tore her CCL in July. We have tried conservative management for three months but have not been successful – my fault for letting her off leash in our fenced in yard (she chased a rabbit!) and then when I kept her on leash a ground hog made her go crazy that I fell and dropped the leash from her strength when she bolted. We are very scared about the TTA surgery – more so due to the post-op recovery – will I drop the leash outside again and she does much more serious damage to herself? Also, we have another younger dog who just wants to play with her, which could compromise her recovery. Any suggestions re: how to manage a dog post TTA with another dog in the home would be helpful. Any comments (pro or con) for the TTA surgery as the best option would also be appreciated (originally we were thinking lateral suture but she is 54 lbs so we were told that it probably wouldn’t be successful and result in an additional surgery). While we didn’t want to put our little girl through surgery (6 years old now but still our baby!). it has become a quality of life issue. She shouldn’t have to be on a leash in our fenced in backyard indefinitely and wants so badly to be able to play with her brother again. Thanks so much for your input and support. I have been struggling for months now with what would be the best decision for her and trying to weigh the risks among the various alternatives. I am now thinking that I should risk the surgery and post-op challenges as her not being able to run free right now and play is so heartbreaking. Did anyone review the conservative mgt. sites that say that is the best option if you stay patient and give it sufficient time (up to 6 months in some cases)? It is all so confusing and overwhelming and I need to make sure that I do what is best for my dog. Thank you again.

    1. First, I’m not a vet and I don’t know your dog’s situation, so I can only speak for my dog. Sadie had TTA almost a year ago. She has completely healed with no complications whatsoever. The keys for us were the right doctor (critical) and the realization that the first few days afterwards are important and difficult. The weeks that follow are also crucial. But Sadie did great and I’m glad we did it. I asked my vet, and three other respected vets, none of whom had any financial interest in the decision. Without hesitation they recommended TTA. None of them perform it, but they told me if I tried to go conservative with my dog’s injury and personality, she would experience serious arthritis and I would be doing my dog a disservice. I also asked my surgeon about the tightrope procedure, and he said he would never recommend it for a dog like Sadie (active, 54 pounds). Said the tightropes he had seen done were failing at a high rate. I can’t tell you what to do, but I’m glad I chose TTA over the suture technique, and others. Get a great surgeon. Not a good one. A master. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every dime. Also get a Help’EmUp harness. This thing is a lifesaver. I can’t stress that enough. Good luck. I know this isn’t easy, but you’re a good owner for caring so much about making the best choice. BTW-my surgeon moved to Florida, in case that’s where you are.

      1. Hi Michael, our 60lb, 5 year old yellow lab mix tore her CCL 5 weeks ago. We have been pursuing conservative treatment, even considering a knee brace. But, this all assumes scar tissue will sufficiently heal her knee and allow her to run again…I have my doubts, even though she partially tore her other knee CCL about 3 years ago and conservative healing seemed to work in the short term. Not sure if TTA will work for her based on her tibial knee angle, but that seems like the way to go if possible. We live in south Florida, so I wanted to see if you could provide us with the name of the surgeon that performed TTA on your dog….you indicated he has moved to FL. Thanks

        1. Hey Brad. Sorry for your troubles. I used Dr. Steven Neihaus, and last I heard he had indeed moved to Florida. I wouldn’t hesitate to use him again, and if you see him, based on my experience and my vet’s reco, Dr. Neihaus will not recommend more treatment than necessary. I spoke to him about letting my dog heal naturally, and based on her injury (and my vet completely agreed) we went with TTA. Also, we could have gone with a less-intrusive suture technique, but my dog is 54 lbs ad pretty active, so my vet ruled that out immediately. Dr. Neihaus does not use the tightrope technique, and again based on comments from my vet, I can see why. When tightropes go, they go catastrophically. I wish you good luck. Hope you can see Dr. Neihaus and help your lab get back to a healthy and happy life. Please keep me posted. Here’s Dr. Neihaus’ last email address. Hope it’s still current. Feel free to use my name as a referral.


          1. Hi Michael,
            Thank you again for the referral to Dr. Steven Neihaus for TTA surgery for our dog Toula (60 pound yellow lab mix). I found him in Jacksonville as a surgeon at Capital Veterinary Specialists. Since we live in Fort Lauderdale -a 5 hour drive from Jacksonville- I called Dr Neihaus and he couldn’t have been more professional, responsive and helpful in helping us understand our options, how he could help and that he has patients from as far away as Canada. He was comfortable with the distance and even sent samples of x-rays that he would need to confirm if TTA was an option for Toula. If I lived closer to Jacksonville, I would certainly have had Dr Neihaus perform the TTA surgery since he has done 1,000’s of them, but ultimately we deemed the distance a risk factor should any complications arise. I also found that University of Florida performs TTA as part of their vet medical school….they were responsive and professional, but only slightly closer than Jacksonville. I would recommend them, as well although their vet tech said they had only done about 20 TTA’s. We determined in our research that TTA (vs TPLO) was the way to go so wanted tons of experience and professionalism. To be honest, I could not find any vet surgeons as highly experienced and professional as Dr Neihaus in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area. In fact, a couple local vet surgeons never bothered to call me back or answer my in-depth questions about their experience prior to taking Toula for an initial exam. That is not acceptable to me. However, I did find the most amazing vet orthopedic board certified surgeon in Naples, FL….Dr Marc Havig at Animal Specialty Hospital (ASH). I could not be more complimentary and impressed with Dr Havig and his staff….they were highly responsive, knowledgable, professional and patient with my questions…before we even scheduled our initial visit. Dr Havig has been doing TTA surgeries since 2005 and has done 1,000’s. In fact, Dr Havig was one of the original pioneers in TTA at Univ of Georgia. We decided to have Dr Havig perform the TTA surgery on Toula, which was completed this week. Dr Havig and staff were so great with the procedure, communication, care for Toula and with our follow up instructions. He uses a scope to clean out the knee before making the incision in order to minimize surgical trauma…her incision is perhaps 2″. Her surgery appears to be a complete success 3 days later…she was actually walking on her TTA leg the same day and does not appear to be in pain (we are giving her the required dosages of Rimadyl and Tramadol). For anybody in south Florida that is seeking the highest quality vet specialty care, I would absolutely recommend ASH and specifically Dr Havig for orthopedics. Its only a 2 hour drive from Miami/Ft Lauderdale.

        2. Good to hear about your success Brad. Hope it all works out well. Sounds like a great doctor.

  10. One more thought. There is a site. I hate to even mention it, but it caused me a great deal of consternation. I wouldn’t even read it if I were you. In my opinion it is a fear-mongering site, not written by a vet. I would ignore it at all costs. The guy who wrote it says he talked to many vets, but only one is even named, I emailed that vet and never heard a word back from him. Very suspect. I only bring it up in case you run into the site, and because there is a lot of misinformation about TTA, as there is about so many things on the internet. Find a great vet and surgeon, reach out to folks on this site, and trust the professonals. That website and its unsubstantiated sensationalism made my decision far more difficult than it needed to be. Best of luck to you and your dog.

  11. Thank you so much Michael and Michelle for taking the time to respond. You have helped me to feel much more comfortable making the decision to move forward with the TTA surgery and now I truly feel like I am doing the right thing. I am so happy and relieved to hear how well your dogs are doing post surgery and your experience with the TTA surgery and recovery. Most of the people that I have spoken to have gone through the lateral suture surgery and not TTA so I have really wanted and needed to speak to others who had experience with TTA.

    I am located in Massachusetts. Not sure what state either of you may be in but if you are in this area or have family/friends in this area that have experience with a local surgeon that they would recommend, I would be interested in their names, if you are comfortable sharing this info. My dog did have a consult a few months ago with a surgeon who said she has performed the surgery for many years now and highly recommends it. However, I will be calling my vet’s office tomorrow a.m. to reconfirm that she is the best or if they want to recommend someone else.

    Michael – Thanks for mentioning the web site re: conservative management as I was on it in the past too many times to mention, which caused me to postpone the surgery and agonize for months over whether or not I was doing the right thing. It made me incredibly fearful of the risks of having TTA. Also, while not as invasive as TPLO, the bone cutting aspect made me very nervous. Also, thanks for recommending the harness,which I will be purchasing this week.

    Thank you both again so much!

    1. No problem Jill, I was the same way in the beginning. I know it’s scary but your dog will be fine. I live in Miami so I don’t know if I’ll be much help but let me know if you have any questions about surgery, recovery, etc. Good luck 🙂

  12. Happy to help, Jill. Don’t have any surgeon recos, but I will say that my surgeon felt lateral suture was a viable option, but my vet, who knows Sadie very well, told me not to hesitate and go with TTA. That way I wouldn’t have to wonder if the sutures would be enough for a 54lb high-activity dog. My vet’s amazing, and I hung up the phone and booked the TTA. Sadie had a full tear, btw. I can’t speak for your dog, but I would ask your vet what the absolute best thing for your dog is. TTA or lateral. I’m glad we didn’t need to go TPLO for my girl. As for that website, I feel your pain. That thing cost me a week of obsessing. But I started getting a funny feeling about the guy’s sources. Best of luck! Be prepared to sleep on the floor next to your dog’s bed for a while. I did it for about 5 weeks at least. Got a good blow-up mat from REI. Saved my back.

  13. Thanks again Michael and Michelle. I have scheduled the TTA surgery with a board certified surgeon and it will take place in the next few weeks. My vet’s office highly recommended the surgeon so I feel more confident as originally I had found her on my own when seeking additional opinions.

    While it is a partial tear, my dog is so energetic and strong that I don’t think the scar tissue that would need to form on its own with conservative management would ever happen at this point and her quality of life (and her brother’s!) needs to improve and takes priority over anything else. I realize now that I was kidding myself that the injury would “heal” (CCL tears don’t heal in dogs like in people as we know too well) out of fear that the surgery could cause more harm than good. However, when quality of life becomes an issue, any potential risk is worth taking and that is where we are at this point.

    Thanks for helping me get past my fear and do what is best for my girl! I needed to make a decision fairly soon before we potentially have another scary winter in Boston. We think our dog initially injured herself in our fenced in yard last winter when we had an abundance of snow. I couldn’t get out of the snow drifts let alone the poor dogs! Carrying her out in the snow and even bringing her out on leash could be challenging if we have the same winter as last year so I hope to get through the most challenging part of her recovery before the weather goes downhill.

    I have purchased several gates to set-up throughout our house to keep her safe and keep her baby brother from getting too close and compromising her recovery (he just wants to play!); ordered the harness; and have an air mattress ready to go so I am in the same room with her for as long as it takes (thanks so much for your suggestions!!!).

    While I still doubt my decision at times (who doesn’t when you love your dog and you wish he/she could tell you how they feel so you know 100% what they need!), you have made me much more confident and less scared with this decision. While she looks like she may be doing “okay” at times, every time I see her limp or having difficulty walking, I envision her in a much better place. I think about the great happiness that she will feel when she gets rid of me tied to her at the hip via harness and leash! While we love each other very much, I know she wants her space. She has been trying to shake me off for months!!!

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences and helping me and others. While I trust my vet and the other professionals, the input of dog owners is truly priceless given the love and bond that we have with our precious dogs and the real experiences that we have to go through after we follow our trusted vet’s/surgeon’s advice.

    I wish you both and your dogs the best! Take care.

  14. Happy to help, Jill. It’s a bit of a tough road, but you and your dog will get there. One last thought: the healing process is key, and I got lucky last winter in Chicago because we didn’t get much snow until mid-Feb, so we had time to do walks, and walking is critical. I had a physical therapist and he recommended a graduated walking schedule, so hopefully you can get a lot of walks in before any big snow hits. And be careful of slipping on hardwood floors and snow and ice. You’re doing a great thing for your dog. I know it’s tough, but after a year my girl is healthy and happy. We toughed it out together. Best of luck!

  15. My male golden retriever has a tta op the end of August 2015 he is 6 weeks post/op and all going well , the first 2 weeks were hard but it got easier as the weeks went on , he has his X-ray next week to see how his leg is doing and if all ok and they are pleased they want to go straight in and do his left knee , just as we were starting to get back to sort of normal looks like we are going back to the start again with the other leg , just hope by the end of the year we have him back to being able to move round the house with his brothers and sister

    1. Thanks for the post Julie. Glad to hear that your dog is doing well. Sorry that you have to go through it all over again. My female dog is having the surgery during the first week in November and we are trying to get prepared in advance. If you have any suggestions regarding how you are managing the interaction of all of your dogs during the recovery period, it would be helpful.One of my biggest challenges will be managing her younger brother who can’t tolerate being away from her without crying non-stop and howling. He is 2 1/2 years old but still full of “puppy” so I realize that I will have to keep them separated but it will not be an easy (or quiet) task. I was going to try gating them off in the same room so he can still see her and then hope he doesn’t get over the gate (will probably test this out before the actual surgery). I plan on being with my dogs as long as possible post-surgery to prevent any rough play between the two. However, the surgeon instructed me that there could be no rough play between the two dogs for 8-weeks so I need to find a solution when I’m at work.

      Also, if you or anyone can recommend a “cone” or what else worked for you to keep your dog from licking/biting the area that would be helpful. I am considering ordering the “Comfy Cone” but not sure it will work or cause more distress for my dog.

      Also, when can the dog manage a few stairs typically after the surgery? I will be keeping my dog with me on the first floor but have about 5 stairs to get her down when I take her outside to go to the bathroom. The surgeon seems to think it would be okay to have her walk down these stairs right away as long as I don’t let her slip but I’m still very nervous about doing so.

      Thanks Julie (and everyone who has posted!). This web site has been a HUGE help and I am so grateful that I found it.

  16. Jill, my dog can’t do a cone. Freaks out. I’ve never been a fan of the cones, but the doc should provide you with a soft cone. I used bitter apple and after a day or two she didn’t try to lick wound. As for stairs, I have a very long staircase. Carried Sadie first day with helpemup harness, after that we went very slow. good exercise for her. she did fine.

  17. Hi Jill , Barney our dog that had the tta is in a small room on his own with stair gates on both the doors that go into the room that way barney can still see and smell them and they can him . i have been lucky with our younger retriever he seems to have settled well being in a separate room from barney as he usually barks and get upset when they are not together I think seeing each other through the baby gate has helped with that , also we had to think about all 4 of ours being outside together so we sectioned our garden off 1 part for the others to play in and a small section just for barney , I ordered extra tall baby gates from eBay so they couldn’t jump over . For the cones it’s was a no , no our dog hated it and got to upset so I slept with h at night and took turns with the rest of the family to watch him in the day till he healed as he is a big licker on the wound . A great thing I also got from eBay were the packs that can be frozen for when the leg needs to be iced and they also can be warmed for when it’s time for heat on the wound they are called kook pak ( hot/cold pack ) . Stairs I luckily don’t have any , but if you are worried and it helps might be worth getting some wood and make a sturdy ramp and staple carpet to it to stop it being slippy , good luck with your dog I pray all goes well

  18. Barney had his tta op last Thursday 15th October 2015 on his left knee and doing well this is his second tta his first was six weeks ago on his right knee . I have found this time round when he came home he wasn’t bearing any weight on his leg unlike the first time this made me a bit worried but give a couple of days and he is starting to put his leg down and putting a small amount of weight on it , first night home he was in a fair amount of pain and couldn’t settle but now seems to be ok still on his meds to help with the pain , the incision sight is slightly swollen so cold packing his leg every four hours along with still heating his right leg , he had a X-ray on his right leg and the bone had healed 70% and the vets were pleased with the progress and that’s why they decided to operate on the left knee as they said he is strong enough cope with it , well we now have another long road to recovery but this time I pray I can say there is a light at the end of the tunnel and by spring we will be running him back in the fields again .

  19. Hi Julie,

    Barney is in my thoughts and prayers and hope you both do well through this second round.

    I have listened to everyone’s suggestions and I am buying gel packs, bitter spray, etc. and getting nervous as heck about my dog’s upcoming surgery but you, Michael, and Michelle have helped me calm down a great deal. (Thanks again everyone!) Her limp seems to be getting worse although she will NOT slow down in the house so I know that surgery is the only option. Keeping her quiet post-op will be a challenge for sure.

    Please keep us updated on Barney. He will be running through those fields again soon!

    Best wishes,


  20. Love reading all the positive comments regarding TTA surgery. My dog has a partial tear and our surgeon said there is also a TTA-2 but she has only been doing that procedure for 3 months so must people still are going with the TTA. Has anyone had the TTA-2? Thanks Betsy

    1. To anyone having to do this, you will second guess your decisions a thousand times over again! My beagle is on his second TTA surgery, in less then a year. I was just as upset the second time as I was the first, there isn’t anything easy about this at all, but just take a deep breath, follow all of your surgeons instructions, and now that you will get through this! It won’t seem like it but you will!
      For those who have stairs, we put a towel under our boy’s back legs and help lift him up and down the few we have. Icing for our guy is a terrible experience, but dogs can sense when you are comfortable. Best of luck to you all who have to go through this, its terrifying. Remember dogs are more resilient then us 🙂

  21. Barney is on his 11th post -op for his second tta , we are finding it harder than the first one he had 7 weeks ago , he is depressed and unwilling for any attention , I am thinking it’s because he is confined on his own while the other dogs are roaming , we decided tonight to let him sit quietly with us in the living room and he was happier straight away , only for a couple of hours and then he will go back to his room , does anyone know if this is the wrong thing to do , he is just sleeping not moving around .

  22. We have three dogs total, so I can understand your situation with Barney. We keep the leash in Spencer and move his bed out of his area, which is a 4×5 area that we Made out of wire crates. We only allow him to stay by us and he usually is content by being by us and not in his area although it’s in the same area. I think as long as he is resting and not moving or jumping he should be ok 🙂 time seems to move super slow while we are progressing through recovery!

  23. Julie, sorry for your concern. I would direct technical behavioral questions to your vet, surgeon, and physical therapist, if you have one. They’ll know best. You’ve been here before, so you know your dog. I know my physical therapist and surgeon wanted my dog moving a lot, based on a graduated timetable after surgery. But dogs have their own instincts, and maybe yours is doing what feels natural. I’d ask the pros. They’ll know best. Hang in there. I wish you guys all the best.


  24. Just wanted to follow-up and see how Barney and everyone else was doing. Hope things are less challenging and all is well with everyone. Also, I wanted to thank all of you for helping me make the decision to go forward with the TTA surgery by taking the time to share your experiences. Our girl is in the fifth week post recovery and doing great! The first week was awful (and second week!!!) – couldn’t get pills in her; fell carrying her (yes, I know, how awful for her!!!); trying to put cold compresses on her was a nightmare; second guessed everything….Now we are thrilled as she is happy again (little too happy – wants to run free and play with her brother so we have some challenges there but the kind I am happy to be dealing with now!). When I was trying conservative management for three months with so many setbacks and little improvement, it was so depressing. Now I know that she will be running off leash (hopefully!) by February once we get past the required x-rays in January to confirm the bone is healing as it should. I can’t wait for that day (and neither can she)!

    For those who shared their experiences and by doing so have helped others, including me, decide if TTA surgery was best for their situation – THANK YOU!!! For those going through the agonizing decision re: what to do, hang in there and know that you have found a great forum to ask questions and get answers from those of us who have and are going through it. Still not sure how I found this web site but will be forever grateful that I did. Best wishes to all!

    1. Hi Jill I am so glad to hear you little one is doing well , Barney is going really well he is just past 7 weeks post op from his last tta he had his X-ray last week and everything looked well just over 60% bone has healed thank goodness , he is now roaming around the house and going out in the back garden without a lead on with the others feels like we are back to normal again , I still warm pack his leg 3 times a day as he has got athritus is one of his knees and gets very stiff with a slight limp and that’s on his first knee that has the tta that is 14 weeks since he had that but I am happy with the progress I don’t think he will be ever perfect but he is better for having the op than not having it , we are on meticam for the athritus and a good joint support liquid to keep his joints moving , we are looking forward to Christmas more now knowing the worst is behind us and a brighter future for him without pain , I hope all goes well with your little ones X-ray and yours also can have a good healthy future and a long happy life , thank you for asking about barney keep in touch .

  25. Thank you so much for setting this post up! It is very helpful and encouraging! My Kipper who is 4 years old had this done 9 days ago and is doing very well. We see the vet in another 5 days and can’t wait to see his reaction. This vet does about 40 of these a year so he seems to have it down pat!

    1. Perri,
      I am the original poster. My shepherd/lab Lucy is still doing very well.
      She is beginning to age and though she suffers from hip displasia and some discomfort in her other knee, the fact that she has one solid, strong leg has allowed her to remain very active. Her regular vet is quite impressed with the strength and stability of her repaired knee and has said, “good thing she has one good one!”

      Lucy is very driven to exercise and is miserable if she doesn’t get out to run every day. Looking back, I’m especially grateful now that she’s older for having done the surgery. It has added years to her active life.

  26. Hi everyone. My 11 yr old Delilah pulled her ACL in her right leg almost 2 yrs ago. And seems like she did it now in her left. It’s so difficult to understand why this happened again. We are also in the process of moving to Delaware at the end of June and are looking to have the surgery there. I was hoping maybe someone knows someone in Sussex County DE?

  27. Can’t tell you all how helpful all your comments have been! My 80 pound boxer, Bryn, is scheduled to have surgery tomorrow morning. I am retired so can be home with him all the time. However, he has three sisters who are younger and want to play with him all the time. Will be a struggle staying down stairs with him and keeping them upstairs especially when I will be home alone during the day. Then to make things even more complicated, I have a trip to Canada planned at the end of August. I have reinforcements set up, but doesn’t mean I won’t worry the entire time!

  28. Thank you everyone for posting! Our baby, Daisy, tore her ACL about a week ago. I was told Dr. Robert Martin in Dothan AL developed the TTA procedure. Our vet highly recommended him and TTA so we have surgery scheduled later this week. My husband and I are nervous but press on for what’s best for our 3 year old baby. She’s about 30-35 pounds and very active. The information in this blog was very insightful and reassuring. Thank you!

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