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Canine ACL tear- Surgery or no?

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  • #21
    My understanding is that either surgery is ok, with similar outcomes so I would find an experienced surgeon and go with whatever procedure they do more/are more comfortable with.

    My dog had an ACL tear, but it was partial, and she recovered without surgery, thankfully, so I don't have personal experience with outcome, but I did research and talked t several vets about it

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    • #22
      Originally posted by S1969 View Post
      A theory based on two individual case studies.

      OP, talk with surgeons who do this often. My dog was very, very lame before his surgery. He was an active breed (Brittany), about 40lbs. He often yelped in pain when getting up and sometimes while walking/trotting about the house. This is how we knew he had an injury. (And, he was intact his entire life, so any correlation with early neutering goes out the window in his case).

      Post-surgery he galloped on the repaired knee. Every day.

      Yes, of course, some dogs might recover without surgery, and some might not. Your vet(s)/surgeon(s) will be able advise you about the likelihood of either outcome.
      Three. Many more if you like to Google, I am but one person with three non surgical results from three incidents.
      "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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      • #23
        Our GSD had both hind legs done and we are very glad that we got them done. I think he is always a bit sore sitting down, but, running, walking etc, he is great

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Calamber View Post
          Three. Many more if you like to Google, I am but one person with three non surgical results from three incidents.
          Fine, three. Of course you can find more on Google, and you can probably find thousands of dogs who had great results from surgery. But, the OPs vet is probably still the best one to help her decide whether HER dog will be comfortable without surgery.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by S1969 View Post
            Fine, three. Of course you can find more on Google, and you can probably find thousands of dogs who had great results from surgery. But, the OPs vet is probably still the best one to help her decide whether HER dog will be comfortable without surgery.
            And perhaps not. Last year I went to a veterinary surgical conference in Seattle. I was there as a temporary rep for a Pakistani owned German surgical steel instruments' company, both production and distribution. I should have taken photos of the guys who were hovering around the table who make themselves very rich and were most interested in how much and what type of hardware they could get this manufacturer to invent or provide for ACL tears. I tried to get any one of them to interact on why they thought there was such an epidemic of tears and why surgery was ALWAYS warranted. How many of them do you think wanted to discuss this? All of one, not all surgeons do this surgery well as others have said and of the small animal vets there, it struck me how many were looking for something like this, this was a huge conference. How much discussion is there in the professional DVM community about why this is such a massive problem and if alternatives are ever warranted?

            Maybe because I am 56 years old and during my heaviest use of and work with dogs, we had literally dozens of hunting dogs in and out of our kennels, primarily beagles because we field trialed and my father hunted. We sold, traded and bred quite a number. I handled and trained the hounds in the field and in the trials. We also had several Labs. In all of those years, which were at least a dozen, we never had one tear and these dogs hunted hard. Same goes with the Labs and Chessies, not one tear ever and these dogs worked hard in the hunting season and were well loved, handled and played with as pets during the off. I also never saw a dog with an ACL tear and at the field trials, I saw hundreds plus we had an extensive network of people who had kennels of various kinds of dog, primarily beagles again but also Cockers, Brittanies, English Pointers and a few Setters.

            In addition to the issue of early spay/neuter, I am fairly sure that the other issue has to do with the lines and breeding, just as in the race horses. We tend to breed quite a bit of weaknesses into dogs and horses, well, really fairly most of our animals because many just do not want to think about this things. Our animals have becoe a certain creepy kind of commodity and many people just do not want to be bothered.

            My grandmother had show cockers, I never met her as she died before I was born, but my father never mentioned one word about medical issues at all, only tangled hair from hunting with these cockers (did not make my grandmother happy!) Please answer this one question. How many veterinarians that you know of counsel non surgical solutions ever, for these situations? Of course some of them warrant intervention but 100% surgical solution? If there is no discussion of the cause, nor care to discuss possible other options, where does that leave you?
            "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK

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            • #26
              Originally posted by Calamber View Post
              And perhaps not. Last year I went to a veterinary surgical conference in Seattle. I was there as a temporary rep for a Pakistani owned German surgical steel instruments' company, both production and distribution. I should have taken photos of the guys who were hovering around the table who make themselves very rich and were most interested in how much and what type of hardware they could get this manufacturer to invent or provide for ACL tears. I tried to get any one of them to interact on why they thought there was such an epidemic of tears and why surgery was ALWAYS warranted. How many of them do you think wanted to discuss this? All of one, not all surgeons do this surgery well as others have said and of the small animal vets there, it struck me how many were looking for something like this, this was a huge conference. How much discussion is there in the professional DVM community about why this is such a massive problem and if alternatives are ever warranted?

              Maybe because I am 56 years old and during my heaviest use of and work with dogs, we had literally dozens of hunting dogs in and out of our kennels, primarily beagles because we field trialed and my father hunted. We sold, traded and bred quite a number. I handled and trained the hounds in the field and in the trials. We also had several Labs. In all of those years, which were at least a dozen, we never had one tear and these dogs hunted hard. Same goes with the Labs and Chessies, not one tear ever and these dogs worked hard in the hunting season and were well loved, handled and played with as pets during the off. I also never saw a dog with an ACL tear and at the field trials, I saw hundreds plus we had an extensive network of people who had kennels of various kinds of dog, primarily beagles again but also Cockers, Brittanies, English Pointers and a few Setters.

              In addition to the issue of early spay/neuter, I am fairly sure that the other issue has to do with the lines and breeding, just as in the race horses. We tend to breed quite a bit of weaknesses into dogs and horses, well, really fairly most of our animals because many just do not want to think about this things. Our animals have becoe a certain creepy kind of commodity and many people just do not want to be bothered.

              My grandmother had show cockers, I never met her as she died before I was born, but my father never mentioned one word about medical issues at all, only tangled hair from hunting with these cockers (did not make my grandmother happy!) Please answer this one question. How many veterinarians that you know of counsel non surgical solutions ever, for these situations? Of course some of them warrant intervention but 100% surgical solution? If there is no discussion of the cause, nor care to discuss possible other options, where does that leave you?
              Not exactly sure what you are hoping for in this post?

              One point that might be made, is that active working/hunting dogs probably suffer fewer ACL tears because they are in good physical shape. I am quite convinced that my Brittany's ACL tear was likely due in part to his medial collateral surgery in the same knee; I think it's very possible that the rebuilt knee was not as flexible/strong/capable as his natural knee and the it caused a 2nd tear (the first one was because he was hit by a car).

              However, probably 95% or more of dog owners do not have their dogs in "working condition", and therefore are more likely to suffer from ACL ruptures -- the overweight "weekend warrior" pets who sleep all week and then chase frisbees for 2 hours on Saturday.

              When my dog had his ACL tear, we were counseled on non-surgical options. My vet and the specialty surgeon both felt he was not a good candidate for that -- too active, and high chance of severe arthritis. I doubt it was just to make some extra money....I'm pretty sure the surgeon had a full schedule of surgeries with or without our dog.

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              • #27
                Yep, 90% of the CCL tears (ACL is a human term, CCL is for dogs) we see are due to overweight, underworked dogs.

                Often the lean dogs who tear or partially tear the CCL are due to trauma or poor tibial conformation.


                When people say "oh my dog did fine with rest" vs. "my dog did great with surgery", is comparing apples to oranges.

                Some dogs WILL heal fine with no surgery. If they have GOOD tibial angles, where there is relatively small pressure on the CCL than you have a good chance of conservative management healing that cruciate ligament very well. However, if your dog has poor knee conformation, and a chronic stressed cruciate, chances are your dog will NOT recover well without changing that angle to allow the cruciate less strain.

                In many cases of trauma (ie. running then all the sudden OUCH) conservative treatment can work just fine. Its the chronic cases that require surgery. Sometimes the traumatic cases fully tear, or tear the meniscus...often requiring surgery regardless. All in all, each case is very different which is why speaking with your surgeon who can assess that knee is important. Hearing people on a BB saying DO IT or DONT DO IT isnt in your dogs best interest. They arent putting their hands on your dog and feeling how severe the drawer is.

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                • #28
                  My female Dobie had the TPLO surgery done when she was 9 yrs old. She ended up going into kidney failure and being put down shortly after. Her bloodwork prior to was perfect. I think being under for that long was just too much, but who knows if there was another factor at play. None of the vets involved had any idea what happened. It was heartbreaking.

                  I would not do it again, if I had another older dog. It is very invasive and as a senior Dobie, her systems just couldn't handle it. Freak accident, who knows? For an older dog, I would choose the simplest option and medicate to alleviate pain.

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                  • #29
                    Conservative alternative!

                    My four-year-old boxer Artie had an ACL tear and I didn’t want him to have such an invasive surgery either, not to mention the cost of it. I started researching conservative alternatives and found Wound Wear A-TraC Dynamic Brace. When I received the brace, it allowed Artie to put weight on his back leg immediately. I couldn’t believe it! He’s making really great progress and I couldn’t be more thankful. They also had great customer service throughout Artie’s recovery with any questions that I had. I highly recommend the A-trac Brace.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      I realize some time has passed since this discussion posted but wanted to reply anyway about the option of not having surgery. This was the option I chose for my 70lb shepherd/collie mix who is approx. 10 yrs old. Of course it was a hard decision because I'm a loving dog mom and want to be responsible, BUT 1) I didn't have the money and 2) I just didn't want to put her through the surgery and recovery. Regardless of whether that was the perfect decision, I am happy to report that after the vet put her on the initial pain meds (which left her very groggy and loss of appetite), and she got plenty of bed rest (no walks, only outside to do her business), she no longer limps or shows signs of the injury or pain. However, the restricted activity took several months (maybe 5??) for me to start feeling a little relieved with my decision. So it does take time. I have her on glucosomine and chondroitine (sp??) now and although my vet doesn't believe that helps, I SWEAR it does. There was a noticeable difference after about a week of taking it for the first time. I just wanted to share my story as I found several forums at the time I was searching options that stated similar results of not doing surgery. Of course it will vary case by case, but I personally feel OK with my decision not to put her through the surgery.

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