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Dog not me needs kneee surgery

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Came back from Colorado and resumed jogging with my faithful jog partner and full time Golden Retriever , Sydney. About 1 mile out I notice she's now lipping and its her back hind quarters. Take a couple days off (she still wants to go every morning) and she's not better. Take her to the vet today and they are pretty sure its her ACL! Going back for more tests and evaluation Wednesday. I didn't  even know dogs had ACL's.


Sydney is 5 yeas old and she will definitely get the surgery needed . The vet estimated the surgery to be about $2,000. Just what I didn't need to hear at Christmas time. The vet was pretty positive after recovery she could resume her normal activity. I'm pretty concerned  her having more knee problems occur and the expense of more surgery.  I also hate to see her not going on her runs every AM as she kept me in shape too.


Has anybody had any experience with their dogs having knee surgery and how it worked out and their dog's activity afterwards? Thanks.

post #2 of 12

My daughter's dog Bailey had the surgery.  I thought they were nuts given the cost of it, but they love their dogs. You can contact her at NoseForAdventure a pet business they have in Hawaii.  I'm sure she would love to talk to you about it.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks Cirque. I think I will. Appreciate it.

post #4 of 12

I am a veterinarian, and I would be happy to act as a sounding board.  ACL injuries are perhaps the most common orthopedic injury in dogs, and for an athletic retriever size dog, surgery is the way to go to get the best outcome.  I am not aware of any studies that show a difference in performing surgery immediately vs waiting... the bottom line is that damage has been done to the joint, and arthritis is likely to be in her future.  How much the arthritis affects her will depend on many variables, and cannot be predicted.  The other bad news is that a dog that injures one knee will likely have the other ACL become injured sometime during his/her life.  I do not believe that there are any real preventive measures that you can take to prevent this -- some of the specialists thing that this tendency has to do with an individual dog's conformation (how they were put together at birth).


There are several methods for repairing the injured joint -- the most common methods around the Boston area are the Lateral Suture Technique and the TPLO (tibial plateau leveling procedure).  We have a boatload of veterinary orthopedic specialists in our area and I defer to the surgeon to make the choice of technique -- some surgeons perform the same technique on all dogs, some surgeons will choose a technique based on the individual dog.  My feeling is that the desired outcome depends more on the surgeon's expertise than the type of procedure performed. 


I obviously do not know the resources available in your area, but if my dog ruptured an ACL, I would have a surgery specialist perform the repair.  In my area, $2000 will barely buy a lateral suture repair; the TPLO surgery will cost from $3-5000.  With an experienced surgeon, I expect my patients to eventually get back to better than 90% of normal; full activity should not be expected for 3-6 months, but I would expect her to be eventually cleared for running.


Feel free to contact me with any questions.



post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you bbinder for sharing your insight and knowledge. Cringing a bit at the possible $5,000 . Hope I am fortunate enough here in Pa. to pay less for the appropriate surgical procedure needed.

post #6 of 12

A co-worker of mine had his german shorthaired pointer tear her ACL years ago.  He took her to Animal General in Cranberry and Dr. Mike Hutchinson performed her surgery.  I'm not sure how much it cost, but I regularly walk my Vizlsa with him and his two GSP's and the one who had her ACL repaired runs just like normal.  I never would have known if he hadn't of told me.

post #7 of 12

My black lab had TPLO surgery at age one, she is 6 now, and you would never know she had a problem. I live in the Denver area and the cost was in the $2,700 range. The most difficult part of the whole process was keeping her quiet for 3 months! Tough to do for a 10 year old lab, and very frustrating for a 1year old.


Never figured out exactly how or when it happened, but I think it was at the dog park in  a big wrestling match at about 10months. She goes everywhere else but we stopped going to the dog park. The usual jog, ball chase, swimming, and squirrel catching do not bother her at all.


Best of luck. 

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks again everybody. Had consultation visit with the surgeon today and as you guys indicated the TPLO procedure was recommended. Very good history of dogs coming back in 12 weeks at or near previous activity level. Cost was stated to be $2,700. I was very relieved it didn't end up being as high as reported in the Boston area.


Looking at getting her scheduled right after the Holidays. Financially I'm wincing as it doesn't come at the greatest time right after Christmas but Syd is a member of the family at our house and if the roles were reversed I'm sure she would do it for me!


Like everybody else in life there always seems to be an unexpected expense coming at less than an ideal time. Last month I had to come up with a smilar size check for an attorney where I won't see any money coming until the middle of next year! 


This will keep from buying more skis or golf clubs that I don't need! Maybe a good thing. Thanks all.

post #9 of 12

 I'll be in Pittsburgh 12/22-28.  Maybe we can get together this time.

post #10 of 12

Good luck with the surgery -- sounds like you had good advice.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Cirq, if your travels include Seven Springs I definitely will make every effort. It's not Sierra like, but maybe nowhere else on planet earth can compare to what you have going on, but our season out here has been absolutely wonderful and the long range through the holidays is very encourging that it will keep getting better.  Being an old timer now it reminds me of what seemed like many years we had here back in the 80's. Having said that, the golf courses will probably reopen in January! Let's hope not.

post #12 of 12

The daughter definitely wants a day out.  I will take boots, and have my old Six Stars in Pittsburgh.  May need some poles.

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