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Discussion Starter #1
I'm hoping anyone with experience with a CCL tear can chime in on this, as I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do here.


A bit of backstory: my 1 year old bitch Fenris is just finishing up her second heat cycle. During her first heat, she had a BAD case of pano - lethargy, decreased appetite, severe lameness in her front leg, etc. Vet prescribed metacam and after a few days she snapped out of it. Now, during her second heat, she started showing lameness in her left hind leg.


Last Sunday (a week ago) she had a mild limp in the morning (toe-touching the ground) and was not weight bearing on the affected leg. As the day progressed the lameness got worse, until by mid week (Wednesday) she was hobbling around and obviously very depressed. She had lethargy, decreased appetite, sleeping lots, etc. So, off we go to the vet on Friday, as even though I suspected pano I wanted to make sure.


To my complete horror, the vet immediately suspected a partial CCL tear and did a physical exam. During the drawer test, the vet said she felt "slight" movement. I told the vet I had originally suspected pano (as my girl had it so bad during her first heat) and she told me "No, she's too old for pano"....???


The vet recommended TPLO surgery immediately, to which I said I'd need to see when best to schedule it so I could be home with my girl, etc.


This is where I start to wonder though:
  • By Sunday morning (2 days after the vet appointment, one week total since the progressive lameness started) Fenris was up with no limp, wanting to race around, etc. Appetite and everything has returned to normal as well.
  • The whole week she has been sitting normally - not the 'lazy sit' or stretching out her hind leg, etc.
  • I was always under the impression that pano could present in dogs up to 18 months - 2 years...so I was surprised the vet dismissed this as a possibility.
  • The fact that the vet said she only felt 'slight' movement during the drawer test, she even admitted it wasn't conclusive
  • I have always heard that CCL injuries tend to come on progressively in older dogs (due to normal wear and tear), but in younger dogs are usually the result of a trauma / injury. Fenris' lameness progressed, and there was no immediate limping etc., like I would expect from an injury.
So, after that incredibly long winded story...I'm wondering if dogs 'bounce back' from partial CCL tears so quickly? Within 2 days of the vet appointment she has gone from lameness to no limp, full weight-bearing, etc. Has anyone else had a CCL tear misdiagnosis? Vets around here seem very quick to recommend surgery (which I understand...ultimately we want the best outcome for the dog!) but I don't want to rush into a very invasive surgery if it's not necessarily needed.


Thoughts? Any advise or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

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One of my males....Cody...had TPLO surgery 10 years ago...he was approx. 2....He had a BAD tear caused by wrestling (got to serious) with the other male we have...when the Vet did what you're calling the drawer test...the lower part of his leg flopped around like it wasn't attached....he could barely walk and TPLO was considered the "gold standard"...that's what we did.
In your guys case.. just like human athletes... partial tears can heal with time off and rest....how quickly I would imagine would depend on how severe the tear was---IMO nowadays too many "professionals" (in many fields) are waaaayyyy to quick to pull a popular -money making procedure out of the bag early on while diagnosing an issue. You should know in your own mind whether or not you trust your Vet overall. If I was you and you have doubts--I'd seek a second opinion from a orthopedic specialist
 

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My Newlie was diagnosed with an ACL tear, but I am not sure how different that is from a CCL. I am relatively sure his resulted from an injury. When I noticed him limping, I would keep him on restricted activity for a few days and he would be fine ..until the next time he played hard. After he had the TPLO surgery, he never limped again. He was about 5 years old at the time.
 

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Just do the surgery. You are going to end up there anyways. Ligaments don't heal. They scar over and tear again.
 

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Was this at a regular vet? I would be getting in with an ortho specialist first and foremost. Like Jax said, ligaments do not regenerate, so the cruciate itself will not heal. The scar tissue around the joint can help to stabilize it, but it will likely never be fully stable again without surgical intervention. I have heard of some successful cases with PRP treatment.

Did the vet send home any pain or anti inflammatory medications? If so, that could easily be masking the pain from the tear, which is why you are seeing her running back to "normal". I have also heard of iliopsoas muscle tears and other back related injuries presenting similarly to a CCL tear without a definitive drawer test, so misdiagnosis is possible. I would definitely go go to the ortho specialist regardless, but if its a ligament tear, I would keep surgery on the table.
 

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Also adding, CCL tears can happen due to any injury with just a wrong turn. Some of the younger dogs with CCL tears just have a structural genetic component that predisposes them to the injury, but no dog is excluded from the possibility of a CCL tear. My females lameness progressed because she went from a partial to a full tear, so that is also a possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all for the input. This was just a 'regular' vet, so I'm going to start by taking your advice and get in to see an ortho specialist ASAP. Ultimately I want Fenris to have the best possible outcome and the best return to normal leg function, so if it is in fact a CCL tear then the surgery is what we'll do.
 
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