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A few weeks back, my beautiful and normally active 11.5 year old pup developed an ACL/CCL tear in his hind leg. We brought him immediately to the vet and it was confirmed. We are now struggling about what our options are. We put in him on Rimadyl and he seems to be bearing weight on the leg about 50-75%. The liver enzymes started to climb after two weeks so we abandoned the Rimadyl and we are now treating him with Galliprant. He’s been on Galliprant for about a week and it has about the same effect as Rimadyl. He also needs to lose about 10lbs. My wife an I are not sure about putting him through the operation at 11.5 years old. Money is not the problem, as I more concerned with recovery time and benefits of surgery. I also heard either way that a tear on the other leg is highly probable regardless of surgery. At this very moment, he can walk on it, and bare weight. He does jump on the couch and attempts to run. I want to do the right thing for him and I would appreciate advice.
 

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There are braces that can stabilise the joint. This was suggested to us before deciding to do the tplo with our male. The recovery time for ccl injury is long. I think after the initial healing of the surgery site we had about four more months of physical therapy. A brace along with rest and then coupled with physical therapy may be the best route for an older dog, though I don't know your dog and his activity level. A visit with an ortho surgeon may yeild your best options.

As for the second side tearing I believe there is a genetic component to ccl injuries and factor in the increased pressure being transferred to the "good" leg.

We are 2 years 11 months post surgery and so far so good. Our boys injury was from an impact. He was in the air coming down form catching a ball when he was hit like a missle from our female.
 

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When you say Galliprant has about the same effect as Rimadyl, do you mean it helps him as much as Rimadyl did or that it raised his liver enzymes significantly like Rimadyl did?
With you saying that a tear in the other hind leg is likely regardless of whether or not he has surgery on this one, I would tend toward not putting an older dog through the surgery, especially if he gets around decently with things the way they are AND he could be on the anti-inflammatory long term.
My 6 y/o has bad hips and I've had him on joint supplements since he was 18 months old, but also put him on a natural anti-inflammatory called Duralactin. Their website says it can be used along with the anti-inflammatory prescribed by the vet, if necessary. So far, my GSD hasn't needed prescription meds. It is for chronic inflammation, not just bad hips and I've noticed vets (at least in my area) carry it. I buy mine on Amazon.
I've never dealt with a tear like your dog has, so hopefully someone who has will post about their experiences, but I personally wouldn't put an older dog through surgery if he could have a good quality of life with decent mobility and minimal pain.
 

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Thanks for replying. The Galliprant yields about the same “comfort level” for him. They don’t check liver enzymes with Galliprant since this drug apparently does not impact the liver. For an 11.5 year old, he is really active. He was my jogging buddy for the last 10 years, and we went out every morning for 3 miles. He still wants to go with me each morning. I think my plan is to wait and see. If he is in a lot of pain, then I may need to do the surgery. The recovery time is long and that’s what I am afraid of. He is in good spirits. Again, thanks for responding.
 

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Thanks for replying. I am glad your boy is doing well. I thought about the brace, but from what I read it was a waste of money. Do you know of a good brace or website I could check out. We did speak to the ortho surgeon and they were ambivalent with an 11 year old and did not push us either way. Again, thanks for writing back. Scott
 

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Almost any surgeon will push the operation. The good ones might not, it all depends.

I would think about how much longer you have left with him- if you are lucky, he'll live to 13 - 15 (on average). Would you rather spend the last few years recovering from surgery? Probably not, and with an older dog, I wouldn't. I'd give it some time, rest him, and then make decisions. I'd have a very hard time putting an 11.5 year old GSD through any major elective surgery. They've only got a couple years left (if that), I'd definitely give pain meds and keep him comfortable, but I'd opt out of surgery.

I had an older dog, I did CCL surgery, twice (he was 9-10) and the second surgery sent him into renal failure. He got over that, but then died from something else about a year later- if I could go back, I would never have done the surgeries, they probably weakened his immune system and sent the fungal disease he died from into his brain. I still regret those decisions, because he was a once-in-a-lifetime dog.

I know how stressful this is, but look into conservative treatment and braces, and don't rush into surgery.
 

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Thanks so much for responding. This has been a very difficult choice and after reading the posts, I think I will treat him with Galliprant and pain meds. We love this dog so **** much! He is truly my BEST friend and I want to do what may be best for him and spoil the **** out of him for the couple of years (I hope). God Bless all of you. Thanks
 

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I would probably go the same route as you though I would still consider a brace to go along with your regimen. The tibial plateau is pitched and without an intact ccl to stabilise the joint the femur will slide down the pitched surface and cause wear to the miniscus and probably pain/inflammation to go with it.
 
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