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billsharp 12-04-2013 01:31 PM

Help! Need advice for torn ACL--surgery or not?
Liesl has torn the ACL in her right rear knee. She has been seen by two vets who independently confirmed this with manipulation of the joint, and she exhibits the classic and well-known signs.

We are exploring all the options, including surgery. I have read that there is a school of thought that these can heal over time non-surgically so the dog can be active and without pain.

Please give me your input and suggestions--surgery or not? I'm particularly interested in hearing from any of you who have tried to allow non-surgical healing and what your experiences good and bad have been.

If you have any surgeons to suggest in the Southeast Texas area that would be appreciated also.

Thanks for taking the time to help out!

Baillif 12-04-2013 01:34 PM

What did the two vets say their opinion was? Any idea how complete the tear is?

Jax08 12-04-2013 01:36 PM

ACL's do not "heal" My ortho explained it like the ligament is a rope that is unraveling. The scar tissue will surround it and encapsulate it but it does not heal.

I would be curious if stem cell therapy is an option. I've read things on that and THAT might actually heal it by rebuilding the torn tissue. And if it is, would be a fairly non invasive treatment though I"m sure it will cost about teh same as the surgery.

At her age, just have the surgery. I did conservative management with Jax and a year later we were having the surgery anyways.

Baillif 12-04-2013 02:03 PM

Right. Muscle tissue ligaments and tendons are all that way. The scar tissue is never as strong as the tissue it replaced. The odds of reinjury with conservative treatment would be higher. How much higher would be a function of age and severity of the tear. If it wasn't that bad of a tear you might be ok not doing it but I dunno how they'd determine that short of cutting into there and looking or an MRI.

Zookeep 12-04-2013 02:11 PM

I had a sheltie mix that tore both of her ACLs at the same time. She healed fine without surgery. However she was only 40 pounds and not very active. It might be different for a larger, more active GSD.

trcy 12-04-2013 02:23 PM

My dog has a partially torn left ACL. We were trying to manage it. He favored that leg a lot and ended up blowing out his right ACL. His left ACL tear was called a chronic condition. It's been that way for a while and the scar tissue is not enough for him to want to bear all his weight on it. I think that's what caused the right one to blow out.

He is under 50 pounds so we had tightrope surgery done. Above 50 pounds they recommend TPLO. Along with the surgery they injected palates in both his knee and did laser therapy on both knees. His left knee is scheduled for tightrope surgery mid January.

This is day four after surgery and he is walking great on it. Still not wanting to place all his weight on the left leg though. He's a very active dog.

Zookeep 12-04-2013 02:33 PM

While you are deciding, try to limit her activity. It is common that once one goes the dog favors her injured leg causing the other ACL to tear.

Gretchen 12-04-2013 02:52 PM

Bill, Molly had TPLO surgery on her right rear knee at the end of March 2013. We decided on this after trying to rest her knee a couple times from December 2012. The last thing I wanted to do was surgery and I was hoping for some miracle success story by resting it, but had not found any. I mentioned the potential surgery to a neighbor who had a 150lb Malamute who lived to be 15. His dog was in excellent condition and I found out he had TPLO when he was 5yrs old. Also my vet tech's dog had this surgery when his dog was about 5yrs and now he is 10yrs and is very active and fit. From what I read if you have a large breed dog and are generally active the surgery is the way to go.

5 months post-op was when we finally noticed Molly was equally weight bearing and no limping. She seems to be doing great, no limping and no signs of pain, even after doing a couple pogo stick type jumps after a squirrel ran up a tree last weekend. The first 3 months after the surgery were difficult for our human family, but Molly was a good patient.

Okin 12-04-2013 02:53 PM

My previous dog had the surgery. There was a night and day difference. After the surgery she was 95% back to the way she was before the tear. She ran, played, jumped and lived another 8 happy years. Her ACL tore completely though and she couldn't really use that leg.

Nigel 12-04-2013 03:18 PM

Sorry to hear about Liesl, we are in the same boat. Tried resting him, but the limp came right back. Rangers surgery is next week (tplo).

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