TPLO vs. conservative management

TPLO vs. conservative management

Joined: January 27th, 2009, 11:22 pm

January 10th, 2011, 4:50 pm #1

My sweet Luna has just been diagnosed with a "ligament rupture" in her right rear knee. She started limping just over a month ago, so we took her in to a vet in Ashland, WI. She tested positive for anaplasmosis so she was put on Doxycycline. After about a week, the limping had not subsided so we took her back for hip x-rays, as it appeared to the vet that was what she was favoring. The hips looked fine, so the vet told us to restrict her activity.

We did somewhat restrict her activity (we'd watch to make sure she didn't get too rambunctious outside) and she started to improve. By Christmas, she seemed almost completely better. We stopped restricting the activity and ended up back at square one. We took her to her normal vet in Superior, WI and Luna was diagnosed with a ruptured ligament in her knee due to positive drawer sign movement. The vet told us of the three options (two different types of surgery and conservative management) TPLO was really the only one she'd recommend in a dog this young, active, and large (around 70 pounds).

I have since spoken with a few people who did conservative management with their large dogs with great success. I've found a few websites that recommend trying conservative management. This would involve 8 weeks of restricted activity (leashed potty breaks only) followed by several months of building back the strength (possibly including physical therapy).

I've also spoken to a few people who say I'm crazy not to get the TPLO for a dog like Luna.

I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience with ruptured ligaments in their dogs. If you could share your story, I would greatly appreciate it. I just want to do what's best for Luna, to offer her the best possibility of recovery. We're pretty devastated over this injury in our sweet young, active GSD girl.
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Joined: June 15th, 2004, 12:15 pm

January 10th, 2011, 7:05 pm #2

We had two TPLO's performed on Thor as he blew out both back legs.
The vet said it was the only way to go and the vet is one of the
best in the country performing this operation. It was very expensive
in Alabama, cost us about $3000. per operation. After the first one
Thor a 90 pound Akita, 10 months old went out and finished his
Championship within 3 months of the operation. Great success.
1 out of a 1000 are allergic to the metal plate and he was that
one, so they took it out about a year later. No problem.
2 years later at 125 pounds he blew out the other leg, we had
the same operation with the same results, also had the same
results with the plate and had it removed a year later.
He moves fine and shows no symbols of any kind.

It is not all good, it is terrible keeping them inactive to some
extent for weeks and then the hair comes back very slowly. I walked
him on the treadmill after the first couple of weeks to build the
leg up and it is a lot of work, but it seems to be worth it.
I am sure others may have different stories, this is mine.

Today at 5 playing in the snow!

?t=1294686014
Last edited by JMo777 on January 10th, 2011, 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: August 26th, 2004, 3:21 pm

January 10th, 2011, 7:52 pm #3

My sweet Luna has just been diagnosed with a "ligament rupture" in her right rear knee. She started limping just over a month ago, so we took her in to a vet in Ashland, WI. She tested positive for anaplasmosis so she was put on Doxycycline. After about a week, the limping had not subsided so we took her back for hip x-rays, as it appeared to the vet that was what she was favoring. The hips looked fine, so the vet told us to restrict her activity.

We did somewhat restrict her activity (we'd watch to make sure she didn't get too rambunctious outside) and she started to improve. By Christmas, she seemed almost completely better. We stopped restricting the activity and ended up back at square one. We took her to her normal vet in Superior, WI and Luna was diagnosed with a ruptured ligament in her knee due to positive drawer sign movement. The vet told us of the three options (two different types of surgery and conservative management) TPLO was really the only one she'd recommend in a dog this young, active, and large (around 70 pounds).

I have since spoken with a few people who did conservative management with their large dogs with great success. I've found a few websites that recommend trying conservative management. This would involve 8 weeks of restricted activity (leashed potty breaks only) followed by several months of building back the strength (possibly including physical therapy).

I've also spoken to a few people who say I'm crazy not to get the TPLO for a dog like Luna.

I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience with ruptured ligaments in their dogs. If you could share your story, I would greatly appreciate it. I just want to do what's best for Luna, to offer her the best possibility of recovery. We're pretty devastated over this injury in our sweet young, active GSD girl.
We have had several dogs tear ACL. In the past, we opted for the "low-end" repair where the ends of the two bones were wired together. Takes about 6 months to heal, but in the long run, the dogs develop arthritis sooner and mobility is a bit awkward.

Our Tommy was the last to tear one. He was a rescue whose owners had opted for TPLO on the first knee. It was done in the Seattle area by a board certified ortho surgeon and cost them $3500. Tommy blew his other cruciate after he came to live with us. We decided on TPLO for him because there had been a record of great success with it since our first dogs had been injured. We were able to have the procedure done at our local vet clinic. The vet was not a board certified ortho surgeon but has done many TPLO procedures. We had great confidence in his abilities. This surgery cost $1800. And the recovery was faster than with the older method.

It's hard to compare Tommy's mobility with that of Jerry's Thor as Tommy is blind. But he runs around the yard as best he can and runs up and down stairs.

For me, the take it easy route, no surgery is not an option. The ligament is gone - will not come back so the leg will always be unstable.

Good luck!
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Joined: January 27th, 2009, 11:22 pm

January 10th, 2011, 8:11 pm #4

We had two TPLO's performed on Thor as he blew out both back legs.
The vet said it was the only way to go and the vet is one of the
best in the country performing this operation. It was very expensive
in Alabama, cost us about $3000. per operation. After the first one
Thor a 90 pound Akita, 10 months old went out and finished his
Championship within 3 months of the operation. Great success.
1 out of a 1000 are allergic to the metal plate and he was that
one, so they took it out about a year later. No problem.
2 years later at 125 pounds he blew out the other leg, we had
the same operation with the same results, also had the same
results with the plate and had it removed a year later.
He moves fine and shows no symbols of any kind.

It is not all good, it is terrible keeping them inactive to some
extent for weeks and then the hair comes back very slowly. I walked
him on the treadmill after the first couple of weeks to build the
leg up and it is a lot of work, but it seems to be worth it.
I am sure others may have different stories, this is mine.

Today at 5 playing in the snow!

?t=1294686014
That is what I want for her... to be able to play in the snow (like she loves to do!) without worrying about her reinjuring herself.
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Joined: January 27th, 2009, 11:22 pm

January 10th, 2011, 8:14 pm #5

We have had several dogs tear ACL. In the past, we opted for the "low-end" repair where the ends of the two bones were wired together. Takes about 6 months to heal, but in the long run, the dogs develop arthritis sooner and mobility is a bit awkward.

Our Tommy was the last to tear one. He was a rescue whose owners had opted for TPLO on the first knee. It was done in the Seattle area by a board certified ortho surgeon and cost them $3500. Tommy blew his other cruciate after he came to live with us. We decided on TPLO for him because there had been a record of great success with it since our first dogs had been injured. We were able to have the procedure done at our local vet clinic. The vet was not a board certified ortho surgeon but has done many TPLO procedures. We had great confidence in his abilities. This surgery cost $1800. And the recovery was faster than with the older method.

It's hard to compare Tommy's mobility with that of Jerry's Thor as Tommy is blind. But he runs around the yard as best he can and runs up and down stairs.

For me, the take it easy route, no surgery is not an option. The ligament is gone - will not come back so the leg will always be unstable.

Good luck!
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to be the easier route at the moment! Just thinking of keeping her activity restricted for months makes me scared. She really loves to be active.

I guess the thing that bothers me is that the diagnosis method is so sketchy. Just an exam checking for movement and the vet's able to tell me it's a complete blowout? Luna does still use the leg and she was getting much better with rest... which makes me think that it isn't completely torn. But... there's no way to be sure.

There is a clinical study going on at the U of MN right now where half of the dogs are doing conservative management and the other half are given TPLO. I'm thinking of trying to get involved in that... sort of the chicken's way out because then I don't have to make the decision!

Thank you for sharing your experiences!
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Joined: January 27th, 2009, 11:22 pm

January 10th, 2011, 8:22 pm #6

My sweet Luna has just been diagnosed with a "ligament rupture" in her right rear knee. She started limping just over a month ago, so we took her in to a vet in Ashland, WI. She tested positive for anaplasmosis so she was put on Doxycycline. After about a week, the limping had not subsided so we took her back for hip x-rays, as it appeared to the vet that was what she was favoring. The hips looked fine, so the vet told us to restrict her activity.

We did somewhat restrict her activity (we'd watch to make sure she didn't get too rambunctious outside) and she started to improve. By Christmas, she seemed almost completely better. We stopped restricting the activity and ended up back at square one. We took her to her normal vet in Superior, WI and Luna was diagnosed with a ruptured ligament in her knee due to positive drawer sign movement. The vet told us of the three options (two different types of surgery and conservative management) TPLO was really the only one she'd recommend in a dog this young, active, and large (around 70 pounds).

I have since spoken with a few people who did conservative management with their large dogs with great success. I've found a few websites that recommend trying conservative management. This would involve 8 weeks of restricted activity (leashed potty breaks only) followed by several months of building back the strength (possibly including physical therapy).

I've also spoken to a few people who say I'm crazy not to get the TPLO for a dog like Luna.

I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience with ruptured ligaments in their dogs. If you could share your story, I would greatly appreciate it. I just want to do what's best for Luna, to offer her the best possibility of recovery. We're pretty devastated over this injury in our sweet young, active GSD girl.
Oh... I forgot to mention the cost we've been quoted for the procedure is between $2500 and $3500. Cost is an issue but not THE issue... if surgery is her best option we'll figure out some way to get the money.
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cecille
cecille

January 10th, 2011, 9:07 pm #7

to be the easier route at the moment! Just thinking of keeping her activity restricted for months makes me scared. She really loves to be active.

I guess the thing that bothers me is that the diagnosis method is so sketchy. Just an exam checking for movement and the vet's able to tell me it's a complete blowout? Luna does still use the leg and she was getting much better with rest... which makes me think that it isn't completely torn. But... there's no way to be sure.

There is a clinical study going on at the U of MN right now where half of the dogs are doing conservative management and the other half are given TPLO. I'm thinking of trying to get involved in that... sort of the chicken's way out because then I don't have to make the decision!

Thank you for sharing your experiences!
Is to remember that there are two criss-crossed ligaments holding everything together. She may have torn just one, but now there is only one holding things stable and she is quite likely to have a complete tear or tear the ACL on the other leg.
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cecille
cecille

January 10th, 2011, 9:09 pm #8

Oh... I forgot to mention the cost we've been quoted for the procedure is between $2500 and $3500. Cost is an issue but not THE issue... if surgery is her best option we'll figure out some way to get the money.
Our vet will let people write several post-dated checks. Your vet may also be able to recommend other ways to cover the bill.
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Joined: January 27th, 2009, 11:22 pm

January 10th, 2011, 9:18 pm #9

my vet will allow is CareCredit, and unfortunately our credit isn't good enough to get it. My other vet allows us to pre-date checks, but I don't think that one has a surgeon that comes in for TPLOs like this one does.

I'm looking into getting the surgery at the U of MN... but I'm fairly certain they won't have any sort of payment plan. Hopefully we get a large tax return!
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Joined: January 27th, 2009, 11:22 pm

January 10th, 2011, 9:20 pm #10

Is to remember that there are two criss-crossed ligaments holding everything together. She may have torn just one, but now there is only one holding things stable and she is quite likely to have a complete tear or tear the ACL on the other leg.
to talk to the person in charge of the study at the U of MN because I'm wondering what they're hoping to find. The information I'm finding on conservative management is that it essentially stabilizes the knee using scar tissue... which is essentially the same thing the TPLO does... except it uses the metal plate to stabilize the knee while the scar tissue is growing in. It's all very confusing! Sometimes I think there's just too much information out there and I end up making myself sick just worrying about it all.
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