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farm dog Cruciate Ligament Rupture

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  • farm dog Cruciate Ligament Rupture

    Anybody dealt with this with a farm dog? Vet is 99% sure this is my dogs problem (still need to do x-rays). Dog is a very active Australian Shepherd who loves accompanying me on everywhere I go on the farm. Vet is talking surgery. The more expensive surgery probably has a better success rate but is very expensive and involves inserting a plate. The less expensive surgery involves kind of tieing the joint together. The expensive one is probably better for a more active dog but, this dog, although active is 10 years old. Anyone do either of these surgeries? Any feedback? Thanks!
    Last edited by Holly Jeanne; Sep. 2, 2010, 01:15 PM.
    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe

  • #2
    Yep when I did when I did small animal teching. ACL surgery is expensive and best done by a board certified surgeon. My advice is to ask for a second opinion (most vets won't mind). Shop around. Your vet will understand as these surgeries can be upwards of $1500 depending on where you go. Most of the vets I have worked for usually don't plate them but that's not to say it isn't warranted in your dog's case.

    Most vets I have worked with do not needs Xrays to diagnosis an ACL issue. It is usually indicated by carrying one leg up and hopping on the other when running or trotting. I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news but the longer you wait to do the surgery the more chances you have at blowing out the other leg's ACL.

    Dogs usually come up lame suddenly and it can go away then flare back up. Novoxx/Rimadyl is usually prescribed short course and with no or little effect, surgery is usually justified. However, i have known people who didn't do the surgery, crated their dogs for a year (think stall rest) and it healed on its own. BUT I don't think an Aussie would tolerate that well at all.

    Hope this helps!

    Good luck.


    • #3
      Either way, I wish you the best of luck. Either surgery you choose will require an extensive, very controlled recovery. I have no experience with either, but I do understand highly active farm dogs.

      You know your dog best. You know your situation best. After you gather all of the education you will receive, make the best decision for you and your dog based upon that. (Don't let vet pressure you or make you feel guilty if you don't do surgery 1 or surgery 2.) It is your decision.

      I would be more inclined to go with the least invasive surgery and an altered lifestyle thereafter! Even after the repair is done, dog can and will most likely reinjure itself if lifestyle alterations are not made.....Just a thought!

      What ever you choose, good Luck.....Those active farm dogs don't know when to quit! Sometimes, we have to put them into retirement!
      Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

      Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!


      • #4
        I am dealing with a torn cruciate in our 10 year old lab/heeler cross......my vet did not need xrays to determine the injury he just did the "drawer" test.....it was also pretty evident the way he was walking as well. The x-ray would only be to determine how much arthritis is involved as the more that is involved the less successful the surgery can be......so the longer you wait the worse off your dog will be..........the success of the operation is also dependent on conformation of the joint, the weight of your dog....obesity aggravates the situation, joint damage, and how well you manage his recovery.

        My regular vet does the CCL filament for between 1500 and 1800 ......the surgeon does the TPLO for 2500........but I opted for a second opinion........my equine vet husband is small animal......so I asked him where he would take his dog.....so on his recommendation I went to see another vet.....although he is not a certified surgeon he does several hundred cruciate ligment surgeries a year and has done so for over a decade........he explained both the pros and cons of the two operation .....but said he was doing the new CCL TightRope surgery very similar to the CCL filament but they use a different material that does not stretch and the tying of the liagment is a slightly different configuration.......google CCL TightRope to get more info......I have been quoted 1717.00.....our dog has a surgery date of Sept 23 .....I will keep you posted as to the results.

        I was told rest was only appropriate for small dogs under 30 lbs

        Best of luck with your dog



        • Original Poster


          This vet is actually my second opinion. My first vet, well, the dog was having some arthritis in the cold weather which we treated successfully meds but when I came in for her annual and said she was having more problems and the meds weren't helping, they didn't do any further diagnosis and basically just shrugged. This vet says he's 99% sure that's what it is but would want to sedate for final diagnosis before taking action. Dalemma: Good luck with your dogs surgery! Please keep experiences and comments coming!
          Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


          • #6
            Here is a link to how a torn cruciate ligament should be diagnosed.




            • #7
              A lot depends on if it a rupture or a tear. I had one dog that needed the surgical fix ( rottie). We went w/ the lateral suture stablility. She recovered nicely. The muscle was slightly atrophied ( the leg never quite returned to normal) but a good vet will tell you that most do not return 100%. Really, you are trying to minimize your dog's discomfort and maintain their quality of life. =)
              Come to the dark side, we have cookies


              • #8
                If your dog is very active def do the TPLO don't waste time and money on CCL sx.
                TPLO sx is perfect for the active and or large breed dogs. They can continue to live their active lives with this sx as opposed to the CCL where they will have to have a lifestyle change.
                I would much rather my dogs continue to live the lives they are used to.


                • #9
                  My dog tore both knees a year apart. We got the surgery where the vet creats an artificial ligament that protects the joint. She had the surgeries in her 5th and 6th year (I think, it's been a while). She's now 12 yo and still going strong. I credit this to feeding her Cosequin (glucosamine/condroitin) since the first surgery. I give her the horse kind because it's cheaper than the dog kind. Dose is calculated by weight, so it was easy.

                  At the time of the surgery, my vet said there was a 100% chance she would get arthritis later in life. She definitely has problems if she was very active the day before, but in anticipation of a bad day, I give her Deramaxx.


                  • #10
                    First, I am very sorry to hear about your pups problems.

                    You definitely need to do the more invasive procedure. If you throoughly research ACL injuries you will find that the less invasive tie method is only appropriate for small and inactive/very laid back dogs. 100% crate rest is the same. Unless it is a VERY VERY minor tear, you will have to operate, it will not heal on its own in a large active breed like an aussie.

                    Be aware that many dogs that injure one leg injure the other within time, it's extremely common and to be expected. so be prepared to potentially go through this twice (surgery and rehab) and ask yourself if this is something your dog can tolerate. You may be looking at upwards of a year before your dog is back to full normal activity. At 10 years old, that's a long period of time. Especially considering you may end up doing the other leg in the near future.

                    Your vet shouldn't be having a problem diagnosing the problem. I understand you are saying he's 99% sure, but he should be 100% sure. As others have said, diagnosis of a major tear or ruptured ACL is not difficult.


                    • #11
                      Make sure, either way, that you get your dog in to do rehab ASAP after the surgery, within two weeks, or start rehab now if you decide not to do surgery.

                      DO NOT let the surgeon talk you into crate rest for six to eight weeks. Start rehab by two weeks.

                      Rehab is defined as very limited, controlled exercise. A rehab vet/technician trained in this modality will be able to help you.

                      Also look into chiro and acupuncture.
                      Laurie Higgins
                      "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."


                      • #12
                        Jingles for your dog and for you ~ Aussies do not always appreciate time off ~
                        Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                        • #13
                          I'm gonna get flamed for this, but this is my actual experience.

                          We do Rottweilers. IMO, best dogs in the world for farms, but they have some physical issues. We' ve had at least 6 in the last 20 years.

                          My young male (2-3 yo) blew one acl, then a second on the other leg a month later. The second one was while chasing the cat, and I actually HEARD it pop immediately followed by a yelp from the dog. Took him to the vet, was told it was $2000 per leg with good prognosis for one, less optimistic prognosis for two (the vet is a friend and I dont' think he was blowing smoke for the business).

                          I didn't have the $4000, didn't think the prognosis was very good anyway, and put the dog down. I hate to see animals or humans suffer. In retrospect, probably made a mistake not letting him heal on his own.

                          Fast forward a couple of years. Female Rottweiler, again about 2-3 years old, blows an acl. Remembering the first dog, my advice was to wait and see. Within a couple of weeks, the pain was pretty much gone. Within a month, the leg seemed to have calcified or whatever and was very functional (just like the the first acl on the male, above). Two years later, she's fine and shows no long term issues ( but will probably go Arthur when aged).

                          My conclusion - surgery not necessary unless totally severed. Give it a couple of weeks (and they look awful during that time), let them save their own lives. If they heal, the leg will be more healthy/structurally sound than reconstructed (IMO, I'm not a vet just observing). Some function lost, but not much.

                          I would not subject one to the surgery unless it's a house dog. Mine are outside barn/farm animals with a job to do.


                          • #14
                            we have a shepherd mix who had the acl surgery 2 years ago after having her acl torn while playing with another dog. we waited for a couple of weeks to see if there would be an improvement. when there was none, we had the surgery done. in retrospect, we should not have waited as it made repair that much more difficult.
                            thankfully, the surgery went extremely well and our dog is back, happy and healthy. at age 13, she is starting to show some signs of getting old, but soundness is not one of them. i think we paid about 2k for the surgery and post-op. she is given rimydel every day.
                            good luck with whatever you decide to do. it is amazing how much joy these anaimals bring us, isn't it?


                            • #15
                              We had a siberian husky who ruptured her ACL and we took a similar route to secretariat (the second time around).

                              We toyed with the surgery, but she had spontaneous pneumothorax a couple of years earlier (so essentially spontaneous deflation of a lung) and it was a NIGHTMARE trying to sedate her and keep her calm. The vet called us after one of the procedures they did on her and said "I hope you don't ever have to sedate this dog again." Turns out they over-sedated her and had to bring out the paddles. She was my husband's dog and he hadn't ever crate trained her so she was totally freaked out by having to be in a kennel of any sort. So the idea of surgery was pretty much out the window because we didn't think we could keep her mentally intact during that 6 week period that you have to keep the dog inactive post surgery.

                              Within 4 weeks she was walking on the leg with the blown ACL again with a slight limp. At 6 weeks she was rock solid on it and ran around like normal for about 2 years before blowing her other ACL. We felt like old pros at that point with this dog after 2 spontaneous pneumothorax episodes and the first ACL. Again we waited it out and she followed a similar path and her legs gave her no problems for the next 2 years. Ultimately it was the pneumothorax that did her in and we put her down in her third (and worst) episode.

                              We really gutted ourselves during that first ACL, wondering whether we were doing the right thing or not. And after following several friends who went through the surgery with their dogs I am so relieved that we didn't try to put her through it. Basically my feelings about the need for surgery are the same as secretariat's.

                              But all experiences are different, of course, so what worked for my dog may not work for others.

                              Good luck to you whatever you decide!
                              Flying F Sport Horses
                              Horses in the NW


                              • #16
                                My Staffy cross was diagnosed with CL damage that had to be operated on straight away this spring. Well straight away was when I was moving. Kept her quiet which was easy enough.

                                Fast forward a few weeks after moving in to new place and got a second opiniion. Second opinion came from a vet who stops by the farm everyday and brings me and Claire (his assistant) pastries before going on about his day. He said to me if it was a serious injury, she would not be getting along as well as she is. He said you can do surgery, but I would give her a week of pain killers, start her on some arhtritis meds and see what happens.

                                That was in May and she has never looked back. She' s better than ever now. She is a smaller dog so maybe not as severe as the larger dogs.

                                COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                                "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.


                                • #17
                                  We have two Labs that have both had TPLO done by a board certified surgeon. (Who by the way loves us because we have clearly paid him handsomely in dog knees over the years)

                                  Our black female had TPLO done on her right at 2 years old.. she tore her CL playing fetch. She's now 8 and I haven't regretted it for a moment. She takes Cosequin, but no other meds for arthritis, etc. Happiest girl alive!

                                  Our yellow male had bilateral TPLO's, one at age 7 and one at age 9 and has recovered beautifully from both and is now the ripe old age of 12. Again, we are very happy with the results and he is sound on both knees. He does have arthritis, so in addition to Cosequin he gets Deramaxx daily and an Adequan intramuscular injection monthly.

                                  Our black lab went into surgery on 3 legs and trotted out of the hospital 2 days post-op. The recovery is a bit tedious and a round-pen will become your friend. Luckily, both of our dogs were good patients. PM me if you have any questions, as I feel like a TPLO veteran at this point.

                                  Off topic to dogs, but my KWPN mare tore her medial mensicus earlier this year which required stifle arthroscopy. I'm firmly conviced that animals find us just before their knees give out. Hmph!


                                  • #18
                                    My old dog had a medial collateral tear, and then several years later an ACL in the same leg.

                                    For the medial collateral they used a plate and filament; not sure if there was any other option. For the 2nd surgery they wanted to do the TPLO, but because of the existing plate they did a TTA (similar to TPLO).

                                    Even though the TPLO sounds "more invasive" because it involves changing of the bone structure, my dog was in SO much pain with the plate/filament but almost none with the TTA. The TPLO type surgeries are not as painful as they sound, in fact, quite the opposite. To keep my dog quiet during the first couple of days, we actually stopped giving him his pain meds - he felt that good. He would try to jump/gallop every time out of the crate.

                                    From what I've heard, filament surgeries are not as successful on large or active breeds. You'll definitely have to do some research and examine your budget.

                                    I'd choose the TPLO in a heartbeat. As for not getting the surgery, again, I think this might work with a house dog or less active dog. My brittany was 9 or 10 and very active; his ACL was painful and he stopped using his leg a lot and definitely would have stopped working if he had a job.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thanks everyone

                                      I appreciate all the feedback. This is a tough decision for me. I had already put a horse up for sale due to finances but she hasn't sold yet. Another part of what makes this difficult is that the dog has already shown some signs of arthritis and a preference for staying indoors in weather extremes. So, although still an active dog, she is starting to show signs of slowing down but just isn't quite there yet. I mentioned during her annual that she was having a lot more problems than usual on her arthritic side and original vet apparently assumed it was just the arthritis so this has gone on longer than it should have. I decided it was something more and took her to someone else. She and her sister are my first dogs so everything is new to me. Still don't know what I'm going to do but no one is open during the long weekend so I have till then to decide. Keeping her very quiet in the meantime.
                                      Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


                                      • #20
                                        I have a small dog (about 17 pounds, Doxie/terrier type) that had the "small dog" surgery two weeks ago. Sorry, I did not learn as much about it as a
                                        I should have, but the vet said since he was little, the less expensive surgery would be suitable. He is doing great.

                                        I did keep him in a pen about the size of a child's playpen, and I have moved all the furniture in the living room so there is nothing for him to jump up on. I was actually surprised when I took him in for his two week check up that the vet said he was doing fine. He was very difficult to keep quiet, and leaps and twirls at every opportunity! The surgery cost less than $700, so I am surprised at the quotes I am hearing on this thread.

                                        This may not be much help to you since your dog is bigger, but just wanted to share my experience with a smaller dog.
                                        Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.