Tag Archives: Dogs

Pets At the Vets – Torn ACL – Part Four

18 Sep

Facts on a hand-out may state that it takes dogs approximately two months for their bone and surrounding soft tissue to heal. Highlighted is the case for “mandatory” confinement of our post-surgery friends.
Another of those inexplicable conditions of full recovery which we can not adequately share with our dogs is reduced playtime, movement, walking through the house, even on carpets, especially hard wood or tile floors. Even going to the bathroom must be controlled. With the cone on or off (your call), your best friend must be led outside at the appropriate times to relieve themselves. Care must be taken not to allow them to jump on a planter or change elevations suddenly. Keeping them on a “short leash” has new meaning to you and your best bud.
The bottom line is that while you may be a dog whisperer, your average “dog’s best friend” must put in a day full of “leavings” and “doings.” You have to get the kids off to school, shop at the grocery, stop at the dry cleaners, pop in to the bank, tire store, or pizzaria. So given the unique circumstances of your household, you will have to figure out the details surrounding your dog’s recovery. Time is critical. The healing process moves on without our explicit intervention.
Since the “plateau leveling” procedure causes any pain your dog experienced to go away, your best friend is again forced into a situation we have created.

Controlled activity is still a good two months away.
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Pets At The Vets – ACL (Part Two)

18 Sep

The Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) is the name of surgery performed on dogs to compensate for the fact that they have completely torn their ACL. As with humans, the ACL is a ligament. It does not grow back to full strength with rest. In fact, it does not return. Once torn, it must be repaired or it will heal as it would in the wild. The dog would have a limp or worse for the rest of its possibly shortened life span.
The literature from the vet stated that the rupture “of the cranial (anterior) cruciate ligament” if not repaired immediately resulted in “derangement changes” such as osteoarthritis in the stifle (aka “knee”) joint.
As if that were not bad enough, additional cartilage and related areas suffer (i.e. the meniscus), osteophyte growth known as bone spurs, and the joins of the other legs wearing out or blowing out prematurely due to excessive compensatory wear.
As Dr. Adam Galler states, “The TPLO has proven effective in returning” torn ACLs in dogs “to full function.” Also, he mentioned a comparative study recently completed in which numerous Labrador Retrievers had been followed post-TPLO, too. A full seventy percent of Labrador’s recovered.
“Our dogs are Golden’s,” I noted lamely myself, still stunned myself by the need for Casey’s sudden surgical requirement. Obviously, the size, bone structure, and genetics of the Labrador’s and Golden’s are similar. I started to think about the remaining thirty per cent. Why didn’t they make full recoveries? What happened along their their path to returned wellness that made the expensive TPLO not always a rousing success.
Now, I understand. And we’re only ten days post surgery. Soon you will know, too.

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Pets At the Vets – The Torn Cruciate Ligament

18 Sep

When our three and one-half year old Golden Retriever returned from her afternoon play day with her sister, Maddie, we knew something was not quite right. At the park, they had been surrounded by best dog bud Dylan, pals Ziggie, Murphy, Jada, Jada’s six month old sister, Zolie, and the usual secret dog park romp. However Casey was favoring her right rear leg ever so slightly. We inspected. No touch or pressure sensitivity to the right rear leg or paw. By morning she seemed fine. She’s okay, we signed with relief.
Next play date, same thing. Within a few moments after returning home post park roughhousing with the buds, Casey ever so slightly favored her right hear paw. Again. So again we got down on the floor with her to inspect, palpate, move the joints, feel for burrs or stones between the pads of her paws. Nothing. By morning she exhibited no limp.
This went on for several weeks. Then without our seeing or even hearing any demonstrable event that signaled a totally torn cruciate ligament, she did not stop favoring the leg by morning… or afternoon… or evening.  In fact, she was not putting much weight on her right rear leg at all. Something was terribly wrong.
Our dog body-work guru came to work on our oldest boy, Felix, when she took one look at Casey’s limp and urged us to take her to the local veterinary surgical center for an evaluation. Wisely, she did not even want to touch Casey’s paw (as if Casey would have let her by then). Because our dog wellness guru, Bettina Lally, was so attuned to dogs, she recognized immediately and knew what had to be done.
Bottom line: Casey had torn her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) just as I had torn mine seven years earlier. What a small world, I thought. However I soon learned that a torn dog ACL is not as easy to repair. Unlike humans, I  read online, dog replacement ACLs did not take.
We wanted to make sure we found the best and most experienced orthopedic sugeon to give our gal the best chance for a full recovery to her previous self. After all, she had just completed her very first Blue Ribbon Agility Run and loved competing.  Since she loved the weave poles, a frames, teeter-totter, and cone runs, we hoped to be able to allow her once again to do what she so loved.
Thus we found the Southern California ACL “Go To” guy, Dr. Adam Gassel, DVM, of the Irvine Regional Animal Emergency Hospital, in Irvine, California. After x-rays, his diagnosis was serious.
Fully torn, it would require immediate surgery to repair if she were to have any hope of recovering to her former self.
Since we had anticipated this, we had refrained from allowing her food or liquids after midnight. Good thing.
While we left our girl in good hands, we were fully cognizant of all the many things that could go wrong during a general anesthesia procedure. She was to have what they called the TPLO for treatment of a ruptured cruciate ligament.#