Dog's post-Tightrope cruciate ligament surgery expectations?
July 15, 2013 2:14 PM   Subscribe

If a dog has the Tightrope cruciate ligament repair surgery, is it possible to tear it again?

I have a four year old American Bulldog who has torn each CCL and subsequently had both knees repaired by the Tightrope CCL procedure. The last tear was 1.5 years ago.

This weekend during an intense game of fetch my dog pulled up lame mid-way to the ball. She's very stubborn, has a high pain tolerance, and it's a rarity to hear her yelp or whine. That's why I was surprised to see her just sit down in the field and give up. I had to go pick her up (80 lbs.) and carry her back.

She'll put weight down on it and walks with a slight limp but stairs cause a lot of pain, to the point she will whimper. This means more carrying because she follows me everywhere.

This happened yesterday and I had to leave town this morning before she was even up. My wife is keeping an eye on her to monitor the situation. If she shows no signs of a limp after a few days should I still get her checked out? When she tore the ligaments previously (and before we knew that's what happened) she would seem fine after a few days until running a little too much or playing too hard. That lead us to getting her examined and the doc seeing tears each time. My wife has already mentioned this morning that she seemed to get around a bit better (no whining/whimpering).
posted by jwfree to Pets & Animals (2 answers total)
Yes, the repair can always fail. The knee is a complex joint. Get her checked out and keep her VERY quiet until you do.
posted by biscotti at 6:22 PM on July 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yes, our dog had an ACL tear, and the Vet said it was possible that even after paying thousands for surgery it could tear again.

Some research on the internet revealed a few studies that indicated not getting the surgery gives the exact same chances of recovery as the surgery option. We were in the middle of moving (and having a baby), so we decided to wait and see how she handled it. She limped for a month or so, and we kept her away from anything strenuous for another 4 months, and now she's fine. No limping, no visible pain.

If you do choose to not get the surgery, be careful with pain killers, if you give them too much, they tend to forget about their injury and make it worse. Also be prepared to carry your dog up and down stairs for a while.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:37 AM on July 16, 2013

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