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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If you're looking for updates after the operation, then jump to page 3 or so!


Hi,
I have a 2 and half year old GR called Eva who's been limping (left hind leg) everytime she gets up after a rest. It lasts about 10 or 20 seconds and then get's better. But, she's definately not putting her full weight on this leg, even though she's getting about okay. We've tried lots of rest, 5 minute lead walks only and only on the lead in the garden. Over the 5 weeks, we've seen some improvement, but as soon as we let her do anything slightly energetic, the limp gets worse.

And so, after multiple vet visits and X-rays, which have ruled out everything else, our vet thinks it's a partially torn CCL. She'll be seen by a specialist orthopaedic surgeon in 3 weeks, for another set of x-rays, more checks while she's asleep and who will perform the TPLO op, if he's convinced it's a ACL tear. I know the vets well, we've been going there for years and I trust them to make the right decision, which will be in the best interests of Eva. The surgeon has a good reputation, he specialises in GRs and has been performing TPLO's weekly for 8 years.

I know this is the calm before the storm so just wondering what we could be doing now to help us prepare during the next 3 weeks and then some tips to help us get through this. Would love to hear from anyone who's experienced this! Many thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thank you for all the replies and links to medvet pdf…that’s really useful. It's so reassuring to know there’s light at the end of the tunnel! (and Max looks like he was an amazing dog!).
Eva has never really happy in a crate so I'll set up a pen. Luckily she is fine wearing a cone, and we had to get a huge one when she had a hot spot on her tail. Looks like I have to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Should I set up a pen at the back of the house near the garden so she doesn't have to walk through the (not so big) house? Eva “only’ weighs 61 pounds so I can carry her around, but I’d be worried about squeezing her leg as I do. We have tiles too, but have some old carpet we can put down.
The worst bit is that the vet isn’t 100% certain it’s a CCL issue, but can’t think what else it can be. He doesn’t want to do a CT or MRI scan as this means another anaesthesetic and the cost could be thousands, so would rather wait until the orthopaedic surgeon sees her in 3 weeks who may decide to operate then after some more X-rays. So….I don’t even know if she’ll have the TPLO, but need to plan for it. So much uncertainty! By the way, in the UK it’s around £4.5k, so $5.8k, luckily we’re insured!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thank you! Lovely to see Gower too! This is Eva last week on one of our very short walks!
Plant Dog Carnivore Dog breed Fawn


Good ideas, I'll set up the pen this weekend, luckily I kept all the kit from when she was a puppy. She normally sleeps in the hallway (we have a stairgate and all doors closed) but when the postman comes she does get excited, so the back of the house will be quieter too. I suspect I'm going to be sleeping downstairs for a while :rolleyes:!

We had the same option as you. Wait 2 months to go to a specialist centre or 3 weeks for our local vetinary surgeon to do it. Our vet told me that if his dog needed this surgery he'd have no hesitation in asking the local surgeon...so that swung it. Also, at a centre you don't necessarily know who's going to perform the operation. We still have the booking at the specialist centre in case the surgeon decides not to operate, where they can do CT or MRI scans.

I think my insurance does cover £1000 of "physio", sounds like it's worth doing. Especially as we have a holiday/vacation booked at a cottage by the sea in mid-August. I'm not expecting to let her off the lead then, but it would be nice if we could walk the 1/2 mile to the beach and back. That'll be 3 months after surgery. Do you think that'll be do-able?

Although Eva's only 2 1/2 she is very calm in the house, most of the time. She can get a little excited when we have visitors but she's hopelessly lazy and given the chance will sleep her days away. We've had days recently with no walks and she's been absolutely fine. That was a bit of an eye opener for me...we usually do about 2 hours walking a day... turns out she'd rather sleep!

Thanks again for all the support and advice...I'm also a nervous wreck and was getting worse so it's very much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh, so sorry to hear about all that confusion, what a nightmare. I thought that that kind of thing only happened to me! Very glad that you got that sorted so well.

I also read TPLO takes a little longer than TTA, but I'm hoping her age and weight will help with recovery. If not then we'll just have to enjoy the views of the beach and sea. 😭

I heard 60% go on to having it on the other knee. I'm hoping because I spotted this early, and reducing her exercise now before it's got bad, the damage will be minimised. I mean, when I take her to the vets, no one can see a limp - they've only seen it on the videos I've taken when she gets up from rest.

There again I worry that it's not a ACL issue at all, and perhaps something else, but x-rays seem to have ruled out other options, I hope.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, they can tell she's not really bearing weight on it when standing still, but she walks quite normally (after the 20 seconds from resting). She does sit with her leg out sometimes..but prefers to lie down!

I think a lot of people would ignore the 20 second limp and do nothing until things got worse. But the vet got it when I showed the videos, she really looks in pain then. And 5 weeks later there's no improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
That's one thing less to worry about then! I've attached (I think) the fact sheet from the specialist centre nearby (the one we're not using because the waiting list is too long). They sound so much more relaxed! I'm hoping to strike a balance between their laid back approach and wrapping her in cotton wool for 4 months!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Just saw your reply about painkillers etc (sorry!). Yes, she has been on Gabapentin and short walks, and we saw improvement. But, as soon as I slightly lengthened the walks and let her gently off lead in the garden, then the limping would start again. Yeah, totally understand why you'd continue to use a favourite vet, rehab centre, etc. We have (had) a dog walker once a week, we don't really need one now as I work from home but Eva absolutely adores her and playing with her group of friends... there was no way I could cancel it! Sadly, I've had to now, but hope to return eventually!
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
hi Sevans, I’m also concerned it’s taking so long to get a definite diagnosis. The vet who I like and did the original examination and X-rays has ruled out anything else and the specialist centre doesn’t have a availability until 6th June. He’s therefore recommending the local (well he covers a wide area and a large hospital in North London) canine orthopaedic specialist and does TPLOs almost daily. So, I don’t have an issue with that and he’ll perform this at our local surgery/hospital only 2 miles away. But I’m worried that Eva’s symptoms are so slight that it may not be a clear diagnosis and worse case a TPLO is performed and that wasn’t the issue. But that’s me…always looking for the worse case!
The veterinary team are good here, I’m sure we’ll get lots of good advice and support from them…..plus I have this forum!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I forgot to mention the original X-rays (which I have and can post here if anyone’s interested!) do show slight swelling in her knee. I can see something different between her left and right knee, I’d had to take the vet’s word that it’s swelling!
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
2 weeks and 1 day to go until our TPLO. Thanks for all the thoughts, good to hear and I know everyone's circumstances are different, which of course effect their decision. In my circumstances, our vet originally referred us to a specialist orthopaedic centre for the op, for which they wouldn't be paid (possibly they'd get a referral fee) but the waiting list was too long so we explored other options. Another vet in the practice suggested the specialist who reviewed Eva's x-rays. He's not based at our local vet, he's the group's orthopaedic specialist, very senior and he's based at a hospital in London but will visit here to perform the op, which he does "all the time". The vet also said that MRI/ultrasound now would be too expensive and unnecessary risk (another anaesthetic).
So I'm comfortable it's not about the money.
I'm also comfortable that TPLO is the way to go. Eva's a young dog and my best friend, and I want the best for her. ( She must know I wrote that, she's just come over and is trying the nudge the phone from hand so she can get cuddles!) ...we'll get through this together.
Btw, we're being very careful with exercise at the moment. 20 min lead walks only and lead on in the garden is until she's calm (otherwise, as soon as I let her out, she loves to charge around checking for squirrels). And so her limp is not noticeable but I can tell she's not putting any weight on this hind leg. When she's standing still I can lift this paw just by touching it with my finger. Her right leg is firmly planted and, although I only did this once, if I left that right leg she nearly fell over...her left hind leg just can't take the weight. She also limps after resting until she's had a stretch or walked 5 steps. It's been like this for 5 or 6 weeks now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I dropped Eva off at the vet's this morning and she's having surgery as I type. They're going to keep her in for the night, which they say is normal as she'll have an epidural which means less anaesthetic but they like to keep her there until all the effects wear off. Anxious times right now as I wait for the phone call once it's all done.
We went through the recuperation, which sounds very familiar to what I've read, mainly no walks except garden visits for two weeks and definitely no jumping or stairs until x-rays are done in 6 to 8 weeks. The pen is set up and I've been getting her used to sitting in there while I'm somewhere else in the house. She's one for normally following me around or at least making sure I can't get anywhere without her knowing about it! I'll share more here later when I get the facts sheet and everything has sunk in. Right now I'm pleased that we're doing something and looking forward to 3 months time when hopefully we'll be back to near normal, but I'm absolutely dreading tomorrow and seeing what's been done to her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Well....

I got a call from the surgeon. He told me that when Eva was mildly sedated she wasn't reacting to any knee manipulation but really did when he applied pressure around her ankle. (She'd previously yelped when he pushed her knee during consultation so CCL seemed very likely.)

So, he cancelled the surgery as he wasn't convinced, in fact he's pretty much rulled out, a CCL injury.

I guess that proves how honest the vet surgery is, but we're a bit lost as to what the issue is. X-ray of her ankle don't show anything unusual, so we're back to think soft tissue or something the x-ray hasn't shown.

He's booking her in for a CT scan and the opinion of an orthopedic specialist at a centre nearby.

In the meantime it's short lead walks and we're going to try the anti inflammatory pain killers again in a few days (can't remember the name now). We stopped taking them originally because they appeared to cause diarrhea, but he wondered if that was a reaction to the anaesthetic. So, we'll wait a few days for the anaesthetic to be out of the system (and any associated diarrhea) and try again.

After speaking to the specialist he may also suggest a bandage to restrict ankle movement.

She's also got a shaved leg since they did that in pre-op. Oh well, now we're both bald!
 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Yep, I was pushing for an MRI/CT but the waiting list was so long, and they were so convinced it was a CCL injury it was recommended we go for the TPLO, as at the time everything was pointing in that direction.

But yes, very reassuring it's not always about the money. I had make a down payment of £2000 which they're refunding (minus the fee for the ankle x-rays).
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Thank you!

The vet suggested retrying Onsior (an non steroidal anti-inflammatory) which seemed to give her diarrhea before and so we stopped. This time she's been okay on it (we now suspect the diarrhea might have been a reaction to the anaesthetic and general stress). Even better is that the limp after rest is definitely improving, sometimes not there at all. We're only doing 2 X 20 min lead walks a day and always on lead in the garden (until she's inspected it and knows there are no squirrels anywhere!) and we daren't do anything more than that until we go to the physio specialist on 6th June.

We've also had to deal with a hot spot where the catheter was, so she's also been in a "cone of shame" for 5 days. Poor thing!

But she's still happy, calm and the most sweet loving dog you could possibly imagine. We've definitely bonded even more over this...so there's one good thing! (My wife might think otherwise!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Eva had the TPLO operation yesterday and came home today.

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Tableware Flooring
Long story but the animal hospital found some instability, which the vet couldn't confirm. They'd have operated last week but Eva developed diarrhoea, probably from stress of it all.
During the op they confirmed she had a partially torn cruciate ligament. No other knee issues were found, which is great news.

So she's home now, drowsy and looking rather sorry for herself, but able to put some weight on her leg. She slept most of today...just hoping she'll do the same tonight! 😬
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Thank you!
The hospital was very good, I have a bunch of instructions on what to do and I'll be ultra cautious, even though the surgeon said 3 X 5min walks a day around the garden, and a few garden steps is fine. She said the exercise will actually help. Eva will be staying in this pen for the next few weeks at least and after that she'll always be supervised.

I'm lucky, she usually very calm and lazy. Sometimes when the doorbell goes we're lucky if we get a raise of an eyebrow!

I don't have anything on doing physio though, so I'll some research there, unless you have anything you can share...?

And so reassuring to hear about James!

Thanks again!
 
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