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grizwald

torn knee ligament

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Yesterday I took my 1 1/2 year old lab to the vet since it had a bum leg. After some tests and x-rays I found out she had torn her back right knee ligament. Does anybody know anything about fixing this or has any of your dogs had this problem?

My vet reccommended surgery for her, which I will more than likely get at the UofM. I am waiting for the UofM to contact me, so I no little about the procedure. What is the best procedure to have? Is the UofM the best place to go? what is the time table for recovery? (I assume that she will not be able to bird hunt this fall) How painful is the recovery? How does surgery affect the dog in the long run?

Thanks for any answers and advise, I appreciate it.

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Not to worry. My hunting partner had his lab go through both legs in three years. The surgery was done at the U of M and I know it went quite well. Never a problem after the surgery. I believe you should be able to have him/her out hunting this fall. I think my partners dog was only really down for a month or so and then pretty much back to normal after 2-3 months. I Can't give you much specific info on the surgery because I didn't talk with the vet like him, but I do know that the dog has been just fine after the surgery. Don't worry.

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To add some more.. He was told that this was not genetic and it was probably just because his dog was so hyped up at one time she just tore it. Doc also told him that the synthetics they use for the surgery make the ligament stronger than it was before the surgery. (Which is why they thought she tore her second one the next season. No pain from the previous one).

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I had this surgery done to one of my dogs a year ago a a vet in White Bear Lake. I was planning on going to the U of M, but a hunting buddy of mine had his Brittany done by the same doc and had excellent results. We went there, and couldn't be happier. I believe it was one month of taking it easy on the leg, then a couple months of slowly building strength back up. If you want the vet's name, sent me an email at timroska at yahoo.com

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My lab had the same thing happen last year. The surgery we chose is called TPLO, which runs close to $2000. There is another surgery which is less expensive, but the results are not as good. The recovery time for our lab was 3 months before he was 100%, although he was up and around after the first month. You have to be very diligent in their recovery though to make sure the dog is not running, etc. One year later our dog is doing great, is TPLO knee is probably stronger than the other one!

The TPLO procedure was developed by Slocum Enterprises, and they have a HSOforum that provides a great deal of information:
www.slocumenterprises.com

They also provide a list of all vets that are certified in the procedure (we went to a vet in the North Metro that was less expensive than at the U of M):
www.slocumenterprises.com/TPLO%20USA/tploveterinariansmn.htm

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How long the repair will last depends on how big your dog is and which procedure you have preformed. There is a procedure that cost about $900 that replaces the ligament with a material that is like surgical thread. It is basically wrapped around the tibia and femur to create a new ligament after scar tissue forms. This procedure is not recommended by most vets if your dog weights more than 40 pounds. The surgery may have to be performed again down the road as well.

Many vets will still recommend this for big dogs if the angle of their good knee is over 28 degrees (I think that's the right number). If the angle of the good knee is over that threshold, it is simply a genetic disposition that the dog has to knee injuries and the good leg may blow out as well in the near future. I think that most vets recommend the less expensive surgery at this point because most people won't spend $6,000 on their dog if both knees go out.

The other procedure is called Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). This is the procedure that I elected for my dog because he is a 90 pound yellow lab. Here is a good link that talks about the surgery.

http://www.veterinaryspecialties.com/tplo.htm

http://www.adobe-animal.com/services_surgery_tplo.html

I would also recommend searching under TPLO on Google to research some more on your own. TPLO is a longer recovery but it will last forever. The initial surgery was $2,500 with follow-up visits it probably cost $3,000 before it was all said and done. We had to keep him in a kennel (6x6 chain-link in the garage) for 3 months. We switched him to diet food right away because they have to stay inactive for that entire time. I had to take him out to the yard to potty break 4-5 times a day but on a very short (4-6 inch) leash.

After that I was able to slowly start walking him and then running him slowly at the park. It was a tough recovery on all of us, but it worked very well. He out runs and out swims every one of my friend’s dogs. I would strongly recommend TPLO. I would also encourage you to follow the recovery process instructions very closely. After the first month, my dog acted like he was good as new and wanted to run. It was very difficult to not just cut him loose early. I hope this helps.

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Our Lab blew out both of his last November. Also a 90lb Yellow. After finding the problem we had the TPLO done. One in January, and the other in April. Going back to the Vet next week for x-rays on the second, as it is healing slower than the first. It is not a procedure to be rushed as for recovery.

Our Vet here (Colorado) says he does approx. 12 to 15 a week. Long term results are suppose to be much better than with other procedures.

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Thanks everybody for the replies. It makes me feel better about the long term affects on my dog. I am doing the TPLO surgery at the UofM at the end of the month. The recovery period sounds like it will be tough and I have to stick to the plan, but as long as I can have my hunting buddy back out with me at some point then it worth it.

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I had the TPLO surgery done on my lab after he blew out his ACL. It happened in early Sept so he didn't hunt that year.

He was 6 when it happpened and it took a while to recover but was fine the next year. He did develop some arthritis in that knee later on.

I wouldn't recommend anything other than the TPLO for a large active hunting dog.

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