German Shepherds Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Several months ago, my 5 yo girl suddenly started limping after an intense play session. I took her to the vet, who prescribed Rimadyl and said to bring her back if the problem didn't clear up. She was walking and running fine within a couple weeks, so I figured she just sprained it.

Then on Sunday morning, she was chasing after a stick or something when she suddenly yelped, so I brought her back inside. She hasn't had any problems walking or running, but she would yelp in pain whenever she jumped up on the bed or in the car. (I now have a memory foam mattress on the floor for her.) My guess is whatever happened several months ago never completely healed.

So I took her to the vet a couple days ago, and she noted swelling in her left knee and recommended X-rays (attached). The vet who took the X-ray said she most likely has a torn CCL and sent the X-rays to a place out in Tallahassee (about 5 hours from here) that she recommended for surgery.

Can I get some opinions from people who have gone through this on what to do? I hate to put her through surgery if at all possible, even though she has insurance (Healthy Paws since sometime in 2018). But I also hate the idea of her being in any pain. Also, I bought a ramp for her to get in and out of the car, but she won't get near it ... I think she'd probably be suspicious of stairs, too. She doesn't like things that are unfamiliar.

Thanks in advance!

556005
556006
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,290 Posts
I’d get her checked out by an ortho vet. An X-ray might reveal the formation of arthritis, but not a ccl tear if I remember correctly.

We initially tried rest, but the symptoms returned so we opted for the tplo. It was a long slow recovery process, but Ranger healed well from it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,268 Posts
I don't have any personal experience with this either, but this is what


"Surgery is the preferred treatment in dogs over 25 pounds. It may not completely restore function, but does provide good results if performed within a few weeks of the injury."

If it were me I'd want to talk with the surgeon that your vet sent the xray to. Timing matters, the sooner the better it sounds like to me from reading multiple web sites...

Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: gsdforever850

·
Registered
Joined
·
32,588 Posts
ligaments don't heal, they are like a rope that frays and only scar over so if it is her ask then it's highly likely she retore it and will need surgery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
586 Posts
One of my dogs went suddenly lame in a rear leg. It wasn’t confirmed but a torn ccl was the vet’s theory and rest was suggested. We waited and made her take it easy. She slowly stopped favoring the leg and then about six months later, she ruptured her ccl completely. We went to an ortho and arthritis had already set in. We decided on surgery and the recovery was long. Months of confinement and about six months until any off leash behavior. Now she never limps but she does sit different on that knee. Her knee obviously feels a lot better than before the surgery.

In hindsight, I would have done the surgery right away. I believe my decision to wait has given her arthritis more severe than it would have been otherwise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
875 Posts
When our male Cody tore his ccl there was a test called a "drawer test" which involved the vet holding the femur and moving the the tibia back and forth (like opening and closing a drawer)...when that was done to Cody i could see the "slop" and loose movement in the joint....that's not always a good test depending on how bad the tear is but back then that was the first thing tried before an x-ray ......he ended up having TPLO surgery.....in your shoes as Nigel already said I'd try to locate a ortho doc in your area for a second opinion....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
I did two cruciate repairs on my last girl. She tore the first one when she was almost 8. We saw a leading ortho vet in our area and he performed TPLO surgery. I followed his advice to the T in rehabbing her, and would say I got her back to 95% compared to pre-injury.

Then 8 months later she ruptured the other side. The same surgeon operated on this side, but her recovery seemed to take longer, and I was only able to get her back to about 80% of where she was before these injuries. Some of this could have been due to age as well as other ortho issues that she had, not all of which I was aware of at that time.

All in all, I'm glad that I did what I could for her. Wishing you and your girl all the best!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One of my dogs went suddenly lame in a rear leg. It wasn’t confirmed but a torn ccl was the vet’s theory and rest was suggested. We waited and made her take it easy. She slowly stopped favoring the leg and then about six months later, she ruptured her ccl completely. We went to an ortho and arthritis had already set in. We decided on surgery and the recovery was long. Months of confinement and about six months until any off leash behavior. Now she never limps but she does sit different on that knee. Her knee obviously feels a lot better than before the surgery.

In hindsight, I would have done the surgery right away. I believe my decision to wait has given her arthritis more severe than it would have been otherwise.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I just hate to put her through that if at all possible. The thing is, she walks fine and when I catch her running (which I'm not always able to stop), her movement is no different from before. I contacted the breeder about my concerns, and she said she wouldn't do the surgery because a CCL tear hasn't been 100% confirmed and even if it is, it's not a complete tear or she wouldn't be walking without a limp. Did you try a brace first? I've stopped all running and jumping activities and just taking her for walks, and she's so unhappy. I can't imagine having to restrict her activities for months!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I did two cruciate repairs on my last girl. She tore the first one when she was almost 8. We saw a leading ortho vet in our area and he performed TPLO surgery. I followed his advice to the T in rehabbing her, and would say I got her back to 95% compared to pre-injury.

Then 8 months later she ruptured the other side. The same surgeon operated on this side, but her recovery seemed to take longer, and I was only able to get her back to about 80% of where she was before these injuries. Some of this could have been due to age as well as other ortho issues that she had, not all of which I was aware of at that time.

All in all, I'm glad that I did what I could for her. Wishing you and your girl all the best!
Oh your poor girl! But yeah, we always want to do whatever we can based on the information we have at the time. Someone mentioned that once you do surgery on one leg, you often end up having to do it on the other leg later down the line because the dog overcompensates.

I'm definitely going to be looking for recommendations in this area for an ortho vet for a second opinion. All I've been doing the last few days is taking her for walks - which she enjoys, but not as much as running full speed after balls and sticks and going for car rides. And again, her movements are fine, no limping or yelping or anything. The vet said the X-rays showed some arthritis, and her joint was loose when they did the "drawer test." Is it possible she just pulled a muscle or something?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,290 Posts
Physical therapy is key to a good recovery. We did not allow Ranger unrestricted activity until the muscle mass had completely returned and he was able to fully use his leg without compensation. We are almost 6 years post op. Rangers damage was caused by our female taking his legs out from underneath him as he was landing from a jump, I've read that genetics and I believe spay/neuter can play a role in outcomes, not sure if that's still the current "thinking" or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I did two cruciate repairs on my last girl. She tore the first one when she was almost 8. We saw a leading ortho vet in our area and he performed TPLO surgery. I followed his advice to the T in rehabbing her, and would say I got her back to 95% compared to pre-injury.

Then 8 months later she ruptured the other side. The same surgeon operated on this side, but her recovery seemed to take longer, and I was only able to get her back to about 80% of where she was before these injuries. Some of this could have been due to age as well as other ortho issues that she had, not all of which I was aware of at that time.

All in all, I'm glad that I did what I could for her. Wishing you and your girl all the best!
Oh your poor girl! But yeah, we always want to do whatever we can based on the information we have at the time. Someone mentioned that once you do surgery on one leg, you often end up having to do it on the other leg later down the line because the dog overcompensates.

I'm definitely going to be looking for recommendations in this area for an ortho vet for a second opinion. All I've been doing the last few days is taking her for walks - which she enjoys, but not as much as running full speed after balls and sticks and going for car rides. And again, her movements are fine, no limping or yelping or anything. The vet said the X-rays showed some arthritis, and her joint was loose when they did the "drawer test." Is it possible she just pulled a muscle or something?
Physical therapy is key to a good recovery. We did not allow Ranger unrestricted activity until the muscle mass had completely returned and he was able to fully use his leg without compensation. We are almost 6 years post op. Rangers damage was caused by our female taking his legs out from underneath him as he was landing from a jump, I've read that genetics and I believe spay/neuter can play a role in outcomes, not sure if that's still the current "thinking" or not.
What kind of physical therapy did you do? I know swimming is great, but Xena hates water. She loves running along the shoreline and digging in the sand, but that's about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,290 Posts
There are other injuries that can mimic ccl tear, Ollie showed similar symptoms, however he had an iliopsas tear.

We took Ranger to a vet that specializes in physical therapy. PT costs can range considerably, fortunately the PT we found was an actual vet and her cost was very reasonable. The vet started with stretching, then underwater treadmill, and all the while educated us on how to stretch and eventually do exercises at home. To build muscle we did a lot of leashed work on small hills, straight up/down and traversing diagonally. There was some stationery exercises as well, however my wife did most of those and recall little of it. We used video to gauge progress and checked back with the PT vet for her opinion regularly. The whole process from the date of surgery took every bit of 6 months before the leash ever came off, even for potty breaks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Oh your poor girl! But yeah, we always want to do whatever we can based on the information we have at the time. Someone mentioned that once you do surgery on one leg, you often end up having to do it on the other leg later down the line because the dog overcompensates.
My understanding was that once they tear the CCL on one side, it's not unusual for the other side to go. The ortho told me to be prepared for that to happen within 18 months.

I would agree that it's partly due to the dog overcompensating. However, in my case I also think that her early spay contributed to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
586 Posts
Thanks for sharing your experience. I just hate to put her through that if at all possible. The thing is, she walks fine and when I catch her running (which I'm not always able to stop), her movement is no different from before. I contacted the breeder about my concerns, and she said she wouldn't do the surgery because a CCL tear hasn't been 100% confirmed and even if it is, it's not a complete tear or she wouldn't be walking without a limp. Did you try a brace first? I've stopped all running and jumping activities and just taking her for walks, and she's so unhappy. I can't imagine having to restrict her activities for months!
I did not try a brace. We just limited her free time off leash. And I agree that it is a hard decision to make without confirmation that the ccl is actually torn.
I think an ortho visit is a good plan. If you do go forward with the surgery, the confinement goes by more quickly than you’d imagine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I just wanted to thank everyone for their input on this. I took Xena to an orthopedic vet in Tallahassee yesterday and they did another set of X-rays, which showed a full CCL tear. I'm still somewhat in shock, but I've scheduled surgery for Tuesday. What I'm really dreading the most is the recovery period, which is supposed to take about three months. Any tips for how to make it more bearable for both of us?

If there's a silver lining in all of this, I'm not working at the moment except as her butler/personal assistant. So I'll be around to keep an eye on her the entire time. Is it possible to do this without a crate? We had one for her when she was a puppy, but she made such a big fuss whenever we put her in it that I ended up giving it away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My understanding was that once they tear the CCL on one side, it's not unusual for the other side to go. The ortho told me to be prepared for that to happen within 18 months.

I would agree that it's partly due to the dog overcompensating. However, in my case I also think that her early spay contributed to it.
I took her to an ortho vet yesterday and asked about this since you'd brought it up. And yeah, he said about 40% of dogs who tear one will tear the other.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
One of my dogs went suddenly lame in a rear leg. It wasn’t confirmed but a torn ccl was the vet’s theory and rest was suggested. We waited and made her take it easy. She slowly stopped favoring the leg and then about six months later, she ruptured her ccl completely. We went to an ortho and arthritis had already set in. We decided on surgery and the recovery was long. Months of confinement and about six months until any off leash behavior. Now she never limps but she does sit different on that knee. Her knee obviously feels a lot better than before the surgery.

In hindsight, I would have done the surgery right away. I believe my decision to wait has given her arthritis more severe than it would have been otherwise.
As it turns out, this is almost exactly what happened with Xena. The initial tear had to have happened back in September, but I thought it was just a sprain. Once she started walking normally again she was back to running, jumping, chasing, etc. Between then and now, it's completely torn and she now has arthritis. Her regular vet prescribed Rimadyl, but I only gave it to her when she seemed to be in pain. I asked the ortho vet if I should continue giving it to her, and he said only if she seems like she's in pain. But I figure it's also an anti-inflammatory, so even if she doesn't appear to be in pain (which she doesn't), at least it'll ease some of the inflammation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
586 Posts
You could try an Xpen.
My mom’s husky was a nut in the kennel and she gated off an area under a built in desk so it was cave like. I’ll try to find a picture of it.
My dog felt pretty bad for the first month or so and wasn’t interested in any of the things she wasn’t supposed to. She actually seemed to like being in a secluded area so no one would mess with her.
The biggest hardship I had was doing the therapy when my dog didn’t want to be messed with. She really hated it and I had to put aside her feelings and do it anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
586 Posts
As it turns out, this is almost exactly what happened with Xena. The initial tear had to have happened back in September, but I thought it was just a sprain. Once she started walking normally again she was back to running, jumping, chasing, etc. Between then and now, it's completely torn and she now has arthritis. Her regular vet prescribed Rimadyl, but I only gave it to her when she seemed to be in pain. I asked the ortho vet if I should continue giving it to her, and he said only if she seems like she's in pain. But I figure it's also an anti-inflammatory, so even if she doesn't appear to be in pain (which she doesn't), at least it'll ease some of the inflammation.
I started a regime of glucosamine and omega 3.6.9. No rimadyl as of yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
875 Posts
I just wanted to thank everyone for their input on this. I took Xena to an orthopedic vet in Tallahassee yesterday and they did another set of X-rays, which showed a full CCL tear. I'm still somewhat in shock, but I've scheduled surgery for Tuesday. What I'm really dreading the most is the recovery period, which is supposed to take about three months. Any tips for how to make it more bearable for both of us?

If there's a silver lining in all of this, I'm not working at the moment except as her butler/personal assistant. So I'll be around to keep an eye on her the entire time. Is it possible to do this without a crate? We had one for her when she was a puppy, but she made such a big fuss whenever we put her in it that I ended up giving it away.
When Cody had TPLO surgery my wife and I were both working...when we went to work--Cody---his cone of shame and water bowl stayed in one of the half bathes --fortunately I was working about 15 mins. away and I came home twice a day leashed him and we went outside--he healed quickly.... we were warned of arthritis and 9-10 years later it was beginning in that leg.....although it can happen and many times does he never had an issue with his other leg....I'll also mention this as a heads up...most here would agree a "lean dog" is a healthy dog....I made sure Cody lost about 12 lbs while he was recovering.......
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top