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ZEPHYRA's avatar

Was the surgery finally a failure?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (21185points) 3 weeks ago

My dog had cruciate surgery almost three months ago. I was warned that recovery takes time but I notice that perhaps other than stabilizing the knee nothing more was achieved. Am I being hasty? The dog still limps around, especially after having rested for hours. While running she lifts the leg of the ground.

I think my only mistake is that I am not working on her weight loss enough and that I suppose is making things worse. The heavier she is the more weight the bad leg has to bear. I am trying though. I am worried that arthritis is setting in and the poor soul will be in pain. What do you know about this kind of surgery?

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16 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

Much like people, she might limp and favor her leg for years. Moreover, if her surgery was not necessitated by an injury, there’s a fair chance that the opposite leg is next. Weren’t you told all of this?

ZEPHYRA's avatar

There was a slight injury.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The variation in damage to such ligaments is limitless with variability in recoveries and times required to match. What’s your vet’s prognosis?

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Well, it’s a let’s wait and see situation according to the vet. She says it’s a bit early still. Somehow I don’t really believe that. Oh well….

Dutchess_III's avatar

If she’s overweight, I would think losing weight would be the single most important thing that could happen.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@Dutchess_III very true and it is essential. I have never seen a greedier dog than my mutt. She’ll bark, half jump and make a huge scene to get a snack. I really don’t know how to slim her down. The vet says let her walk but don’t overdo it yet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I guess it’s like dealing with a toddler having a temper tantrum. Just don’t give in.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Zephyra Almost all of them are greedy beggars if you let them. No snacks and half a cup, full cup twice a day depending on size and weight. No people food.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@KNOWITALL yes, you are right but some dogs are not easily handled. Mine will bark non-stop and go crazy until we give her what she wants. As for people food, I literally have to drag her away from where we eat. I mean I’ve seen greedy dogs but this one is something else! If allowed to do so, she would eat until food flowed out of her nose and ears!

I don’t even think she takes to professional training so she’ll suffer with weight issues and make her knee problem worse. I am dreading arthritis setting in. I will do my best but her fate is obvious by the looks of it!

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ve taken care of hundreds of dogs, who were post ACL repair. There are actually several types of surgeries to fix it. And yes, it’s possible to re-tear the ligament.

Have you had a follow up with the surgeon? Did you follow post-op recommendations? Like “towel walking,” and/or a period of “cage rest?”

In addition, many dogs end up tearing the other leg’s ACL, compensating for the weakened other leg. It was quite common to see bilateral ACL surgeries.

I’m most concerned about the description of the dog still not wanting to put weight on the leg. Time to see the surgeon again…

Weight loss, or more appropriately, a dog having an ideal weight, is definitely helpful.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@MrGrimm888 thank you for your answer which is really enlightening. The post-op resting period was followed fairly well but towel walking was not even mentioned and I wish it had been. Is it now too late to use the method??
Yes, I did see the vet post-op and she just said ” Oh it takes time and even humans who have had this type of surgery take ages to heal. ” Mmmm, perhaps I should get advice from another vet. Is it possibly too late to help the dog so that her upcoming old age will not be wrought with pain and possibly hip issues? Do you think any supplements will at least help the joints or is that a waste of money?

longgone's avatar

“Mine will bark non-stop and go crazy until we give her what she wants. As for people food, I literally have to drag her away from where we eat. I mean I’ve seen greedy dogs but this one is something else! If allowed to do so, she would eat until food flowed out of her nose and ears!”

One way to target the weight loss/greed would be to teach your dog a rock-solid “default behaviour”. This is actually very simple: When you have an hour or two to spare, sit down with a book and earplugs/headphones in. Then, take a special treat out of your pocket and hold it up. Let your dog go crazy, and drop the treat as soon as (and only when) she lies or sits down without making noise. She will do this eventually, it just takes patience.

Basically, with a default behaviour, you are teaching your dog that begging is fine, but it will only be successful if it comes in the form of waiting patiently. The book “Control Unleashed” by Leslie McDevitt offers a good chapter on this trick and why it is so useful. When a default behaviour is strong, it will be the first thing your dog thinks to do whenever she wants something. That’s really convenient. For example, my active young Lab used to jump up to try and get toys when I took them out of my bag. Now that he has a good default settle, he sees a toy and immediately lies down, still begging for it – just in a very polite (and safer) way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Just a quick glance at Google says it takes 2 to 6 months to recover.

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MrGrimm888's avatar

Yeah. It’s probably too late for towel walking.
As far as joints. Glucosamine and condroiten. (Douthat I spelled that right. Can help with their joints. Ask your dog’s vet for an appropriate dosage. It’s a bit expensive, but can be bought in bulk for much cheaper, at Costco, or Walmart. It can have varying results, but takes some time to show benefits, so I would use a full bottle before judging it. Some benefits, may not be something that you can see. But if you can afford it, I’d recommend it for dogs entering advanced age. The biggest help,again, would be for the dog to weigh what it is supposed to.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Thanks all.

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