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The dog has a torn ACL

snowballsnowball 2725 replies245 threads Senior Member
Our 10.5 year old Goldendoodle is having surgery tomorrow to repair her ACL, with TPLO surgery. I am looking to see what others have found helpful during the recovery period. I have been told to keep her crated for 8 weeks :( which will make no one happy! She is still a fairly active dog and loves to play with the younger dog running around the house and wrestling. As this happened about 10 days ago, she has been slow around the house, but if a dog walks by the house, she runs to the window as usual.

The surgeon has told me that she will actually feel better after the surgery and it was necessary to keep her crated to keep her off the leg and to prevent her from running, and jumping up on the bed, etc.. While I am at work I will absolutely crate her and come home at lunch to let her out. At night when we are home I figured I would gate the family room which is carpet so she can hang out with us. They do allow a couple of 5 minute walks at the start and gradually add more as the weeks go on.

Any other TPLO doggies out there? Any words or wisdom, or how to keep my sanity?
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Replies to: The dog has a torn ACL

  • stressed2xstressed2x 66 replies10 threads Junior Member
    Sorry to hear you dog needs to go through that. My brothers dog recently had ACL surgery. The first day or 2 after she came home she was just lying in her crate all sad looking and keeping to herself. She sleeps in her crate (by choice) so it wasn't a punishment to her - it is a comforting spot for her. They needed to walk her on a leash to potty, and she dealt with it. It wasn't too bad. When walked around the house but mostly stays in the same room that someone is in. My brother had said she is probably walking too much but she healed and now she is like new. Good luck . I hope things go smoothly.
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  • SkrunchSkrunch 239 replies26 threads Junior Member
    My friend's dog just tore 2 ACLs. One has been repaired and 6 weeks later, she is doing great. Now, she has to go back for the second repair. It's amazing what vets can do these days. They put the dog's confinement area in the combined kitchen/den, so she was always where the action was. It will be worth it.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 33391 replies767 threads Senior Member
    The pup in my picture tore her ACL last Oct/Nov-ish. She is a 7 year old pit bull with a LOT of energy so the recovery period was a bit rough.

    8 weeks in a crate seems a bit extreme. I've never heard of them recommending little activity for that long but perhaps it has to do with age. With our dog, we kept her on a leash for several weeks around the house and made sure she didn't jump or go too fast. We also put down carpet runners throughout the house as she had a hard time walking on hardwood after that. Then we started taking her on short walks that slowly expanded.

    We're about 6 months out from the surgery and no lingering effects. Full recovery! :)

    Good luck to you and pup!
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  • Bromfield2Bromfield2 3610 replies36 threads Senior Member
    My dog (labradoodle) was just diagnosed with a torn ACL and the et gave us a referral to an orthopedic vet. Our vet says our dog wll need surgery--I'm interested in hearing about other's whose dogs have had this surgery, especially interested in hearing about the recovery period.
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  • lily_51426lily_51426 29 replies3 threads Junior Member
    My dog had a TPLO on both knees. During the surgery, the tibia is cut so the reason the dog needs to be restricted for 8 wks is for the bone to properly heal. X-rays will show when that is. We used an exercise pen which gave our boy more room than a crate. Also, the dog should not climb on the furniture or do stairs until the bone is healed. After that, you move on to a 8 wk rehab schedule. During this time, we gated off the living room. The dog can still only go outside on leash. What you are doing now is building the muscles back up. We walked mostly and slowly increased the length. After 4 months, you take the leash off and hold your breath while your dog takes off running the way s/he did before the torn ACL. I was very strict about following the above and both times my dog totally recovered. You don't think your dog will adjust, but they do. The first few wks are the hardest. Get yourself a sling (we cut the sides out of a cloth shopping bag) to assist your dog in walking. Anywhere the dog walks inside should be carpeted to prevent slipping. The best resource I found is a yahoo group called orthodogs.
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  • surfcitysurfcity 2552 replies60 threads Senior Member
    I am curious how these injuries happened so I can prevent in our ' doodle!

    We have mostly carpet on the first floor but hardwood in foyer and tile in kitchen. Sometimes he loves to race around the first floor and I hate to see him scramble on the hard surfaces. Seems like an easy way to hurt something, right?

    Good luck with the surgery. My friends lab had it and did fine after a little down time.
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  • dmd77dmd77 8597 replies66 threads Senior Member
    I know lots of people who've had these done. Mostly, they spend the recuperation time teaching their dogs quiet tricks, like sneezing on cue, putting the head down on the floor, hand touches, looking left and right, that kind of thing. It keeps the brain active without straining the surgical site.

    For the people who want to know how to prevent this kind of injury, I would suggest avoiding fast retrieve games (especially frisbee) on muddy fields. You can also do a lot of strength work so that the dog has a strong core, things like "beg" (also called "sit pretty"), balancing on a Bosu ball, using balance disks, that kind of thing. I'm a huge believer in on-leash trots as a balanced strengthener for the dogs--which has the bonus of making sure I get a run in.

    Finally, make sure your dog is not overweight. You should be able to feel ribs if you put your hand on your dog's side, without pressing. The dog should have a distinct waist.
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threads Senior Member
    I'm curious too.
    We take our dog off leash everyday where he plays really hard dribbling his jolly ball up at down the hilly park, but he also has to avoid other dogs and holes from diggers.
    This is in addition to his morning & evening walks.
    So I am very interested in how to prevent.
    Neither I nor H can take him for runs ( h has several screws in his knee & I have a new joint) but perhaps I will hire someone.
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  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 33391 replies767 threads Senior Member
    My dog tore hers just running in the park like she does several times a week. It was just a freak thing.
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  • snowballsnowball 2725 replies245 threads Senior Member
    I have debated about whether to get carpet runners as the kitchen (where her crate is) as well as the hallway to the door to go out, are hardwood. She is walking ok on the floor right now and barely put the bad leg down, but maybe a walkway from the door to crate to family room would be a good idea.

    The surgeon provides the sling; all included in the $4200 cost of the surgery! :-O I think this will be harder on me as I will have to leave her at home and go check on her at lunch time. Luckily both dogs like their crates and are still crated when we leave the house, so hopefully she won't object too much. It is when we are home that I worry about keep her still as she is going to want to play. The surgeon said with the sling she could do the stairs once each day; at night to go up to bed and in the morning to come down. Both dogs sleep in our room at night, but do have a habit of waking up to the bunny, deer, coyote, or the boogieman outside and racing down the stairs barking. I guess we will put a gate on our bedroom door at night to keep her in.
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2014
    You might want to see if there are any local hydro therapy pools. Water exercise sure increased my range of motion better than on land.
    http://www.iaamb.org/acwt/index.html
    A smaller dog could use the bathtub.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_hydrotherapy
    edited April 2014
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  • mom60mom60 7946 replies508 threads Senior Member
    I know two dogs that have had it done. Both are small dogs and more easily kept calm.
    Another friend has a golden who had a severe break to her leg. They had a hard time keeping her contained. She actually had to go back in for a 2nd surgery due to the bone getting out of place due to activity. Though they hated it they had to give her mild sedatives to reduce the energy level since she was hurting herself.
    A circular pen might be a nice alternative to the crate once healing is underway.
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  • saxsax 5272 replies156 threads Senior Member
    Jumping in and out of higher SUV type cars and trucks do many a big dog in.

    My friends older dog had both fixed. She did great and gets around well now for an older dog. Stayed with leash walking outside and confined to room with her people the other times.
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  • coureurcoureur 11196 replies190 threads Senior Member
    >>The surgeon provides the sling; all included in the $4200 cost of the surgery!<<

    $4200?! Our doggie knee surgery cost just over $1000. And I thought that was high.
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threads Senior Member
    A friends mastiff had hip replacement.
    Been afraid to ask how much that was.
    ( also not an athletic dog, but I guess big dogs are prone to joint issues)
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  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild 22808 replies192 threads Senior Member
    I don't think you can really prevent it, and if one leg goes, a second has over 50% chance of going. My huge Golden had 2 ACL surgeries and we did not confine him. It was just impossible to do so. He went down about 3 steps into the back yard to pee/poop, and after the first couple of days also climbed the stairs to our second floor. The biggest problem was the giant cone of shame. He healed fine from both surgeries. Neither tear was caused by anything extreme at all- he never was much of a runner or fetcher.
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  • snowballsnowball 2725 replies245 threads Senior Member
    Surgery went well and our doodle is resting at the surgery center. She had a full tear of her ACL, but her meniscus was intact. We bring her home tomorrow afternoon and stitches come out in 14 days. She currently has a fentanyl patch for pain; curious how long she will wear it.

    MOWC, I am hoping we will not need to confine her while home, and instead of the regular e-collar we have a BiteNot collar. The BiteNot was great for the younger dog when he had his previous surgeries; my hope is that the doodle will not be able to reach her sutures with this collar on.
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threads Senior Member
    Hope she has a non eventful recovery!
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  • southerncharm95southerncharm95 184 replies10 threads Junior Member
    Sorry your dog (and your wallet) had to go through the surgery. I'm a show dog handler and this happens to a lot of the more active dogs. Normally they're strictly crated for the first month or so, and then they alternate between the crate, a leash, and a small exercise pen to allow for a little more movement. It's extremely important that they put minimal stress on the injured leg so everything is done at a controlled, slow pace, and they just get let out to potty, no walks. Some of them start to get stir crazy after a bit (we had one border collie who was a nightmare) so we exercise them mentally by teaching them little tricks that don't require leg motion (101 dog tricks book should give you plenty of ideas). It really helps tire them out. After they've made a complete recovery, they're normally worked gently on fitpaw pods and peanut balls to help them regain strength in the injured leg. Swimming works wonderfully as well (and I'm sure yours loves to swim thanks to the Golden part). Hope she has a good recovery!

    Also, highly recommend getting pet insurance for next time's sake. I have all of mine on PetPlan, and it has saved us thousands of dollars. PetPlan is one of the best dog insurance companies out there, a lot of the show people use it. One friend had her German Shepherd's $15000 cancer treatment completely covered by them.

    As far as prevention goes, there's really nothing you can do. You could keep them from running around off leash if they're wildchild types, but that takes half the fun out of being a dog. I just don't let mine run on very uneven or sketchy ground, and we stay the heck away from frisbees. You don't know how many frisbee dogs tear their ACL; most breeds just weren't meant to repeatedly crash land in awkward positions. Mine also work out on fitpaw peanut balls and donuts which has dramatically reduced the number of physical injuries. Being accident prone German Shepherds, they tended to get injured on a monthly basis. Keep them in shape, and don't let them do anything too crazy, that's about all you can do.
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  • snowballsnowball 2725 replies245 threads Senior Member
    Well we don't have to worry about the collar today; she is out of it from the patch! While it is a good things so she will stay still, she keeps trying to stand up, but is too wobbly so she goes back down. The patch stays on until Monday, so I don't know if she will be this quiet all weekend. I was able to get her to eat dinner, so I know she feels well enough for that.

    The biggest hurdle for the next few days is her going out to potty. We have her in the den with us for now, and it is a bit of a walk across the hardwood floor to get to the door. The sling helps, but for some reason, instead of just putting her toe down like she did before surgery, she has that foot tucked under; so the top of her foot is making contact with the floor. I am hoping once she gets better footing, she will put the foot down correctly; kind of hard to walk with your foot turned upside down!

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