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My 8 year old girl Bailey has a partial CCL tear. We’ve been monitoring it closely and took her to primary vet who said keep an eye on it and when it gets worse consult surgeon. It’s gotten worse the past month so I took her to ortho consult. Specialist gave me two options: 1.) TPLO with recommended formal rehab 2) formal rehab conservative management in hopes she strengthens that muscle. She said it’s not an emergency situation and there’s not a guarantee that the surgery will even work! But I also take a gamble with Bailey worsening her injury or possibly injuring other knee if I don’t do something. I’m at a loss because I don’t know that I want to put her through surgery and that extensive recovery at 8 years old. We take her for leashed walks and typically when she’s in the yard she just lays around or chews on sticks. But there’s always that chance she could run and jump! She also goes up and down the stairs and likes to/needs to sleep on the bed next to me. So...I need some advice from anyone who’s been through this with an older boxer. To TPLO or just PT????
 

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I have had some experience with this knee thing. One of my dogs was a female at 2 she had a partial tear she was just trotting thru the yard (not running) and I heard it pop and she yelped and went lame. I took her to the Vet of course and was faced with the same decision I chose the conservative treatment we did PT I think it was twice a week heat/laser therapy and she had a ice boot put on her knee as well as strengthening exercises was not lame after two days of this treatment but we continued the treatment for the next 4 weeks combined with short leash only walks and no running around she did heal she never had another problem with her knee it takes a minimum of 6 weeks with limited activity to do any healing and they can undo that in an instant with uncontrolled running and playing. My female lived to be 7 with no more issues with the knee. I have a 1 almost 2 year old male now who did almost the same thing I again went with conservative therapy though he is doing laser therapy and ultra sound or what they are calling "shockwave" treatment he is also getting adaquan injections once a month (intramuscular) he is doing well so far but I am doing the same with him no running or hard exercise and he is healing as well almost there now he did reinjure himself as he is still basically a puppy in his head but I think we are there now. I have heard that 70% of dogs with cruciate tears do not get surgery so you have to be committed to help with the healing and make sure reinjury doesn't happen. I would be hesitant to put an 8 year old dog thru this surgery. Each case is different though and you have to go with what you believe is best for your dog. If she gets surgery that means complete lockdown for her and alot of cage time and rehab. I would not be letting her jump on and off the bed though, maybe some doggie stairs for that and avoiding alot of stairs. Is her knee unstable or is she just limping sometimes? I have used medicam and inflammation (with meals) I would discuss fully other options for PT with your Vet what programs do they have? Before you make a final decision both options are going to take considerable time and commitment. If your Vet is agreeable have them fully explain the PT option.
 

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I have had some experience with this knee thing. One of my dogs was a female at 2 she had a partial tear she was just trotting thru the yard (not running) and I heard it pop and she yelped and went lame. I took her to the Vet of course and was faced with the same decision I chose the conservative treatment we did PT I think it was twice a week heat/laser therapy and she had a ice boot put on her knee as well as strengthening exercises was not lame after two days of this treatment but we continued the treatment for the next 4 weeks combined with short leash only walks and no running around she did heal she never had another problem with her knee it takes a minimum of 6 weeks with limited activity to do any healing and they can undo that in an instant with uncontrolled running and playing. My female lived to be 7 with no more issues with the knee. I have a 1 almost 2 year old male now who did almost the same thing I again went with conservative therapy though he is doing laser therapy and ultra sound or what they are calling "shockwave" treatment he is also getting adaquan injections once a month (intramuscular) he is doing well so far but I am doing the same with him no running or hard exercise and he is healing as well almost there now he did reinjure himself as he is still basically a puppy in his head but I think we are there now. I have heard that 70% of dogs with cruciate tears do not get surgery so you have to be committed to help with the healing and make sure reinjury doesn't happen. I would be hesitant to put an 8 year old dog thru this surgery. Each case is different though and you have to go with what you believe is best for your dog. If she gets surgery that means complete lockdown for her and alot of cage time and rehab. I would not be letting her jump on and off the bed though, maybe some doggie stairs for that and avoiding alot of stairs. Is her knee unstable or is she just limping sometimes? I have used medicam and inflammation (with meals) I would discuss fully other options for PT with your Vet what programs do they have? Before you make a final decision both options are going to take considerable time and commitment. If your Vet is agreeable have them fully explain the PT option.
This is very helpful info! Thank you! I did speak with the rehab therapist and the therapy would include 10-12 sessions of water therapy/laser therapy. Honestly I have to agree with you. I am leaning towards PT as opposed to surgery. I just don’t want to put her through that extensive surgery at 8. I appreciate your advice! Thank you!
 

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I have had some experience with this knee thing. One of my dogs was a female at 2 she had a partial tear she was just trotting thru the yard (not running) and I heard it pop and she yelped and went lame. I took her to the Vet of course and was faced with the same decision I chose the conservative treatment we did PT I think it was twice a week heat/laser therapy and she had a ice boot put on her knee as well as strengthening exercises was not lame after two days of this treatment but we continued the treatment for the next 4 weeks combined with short leash only walks and no running around she did heal she never had another problem with her knee it takes a minimum of 6 weeks with limited activity to do any healing and they can undo that in an instant with uncontrolled running and playing. My female lived to be 7 with no more issues with the knee. I have a 1 almost 2 year old male now who did almost the same thing I again went with conservative therapy though he is doing laser therapy and ultra sound or what they are calling "shockwave" treatment he is also getting adaquan injections once a month (intramuscular) he is doing well so far but I am doing the same with him no running or hard exercise and he is healing as well almost there now he did reinjure himself as he is still basically a puppy in his head but I think we are there now. I have heard that 70% of dogs with cruciate tears do not get surgery so you have to be committed to help with the healing and make sure reinjury doesn't happen. I would be hesitant to put an 8 year old dog thru this surgery. Each case is different though and you have to go with what you believe is best for your dog. If she gets surgery that means complete lockdown for her and alot of cage time and rehab. I would not be letting her jump on and off the bed though, maybe some doggie stairs for that and avoiding alot of stairs. Is her knee unstable or is she just limping sometimes? I have used medicam and inflammation (with meals) I would discuss fully other options for PT with your Vet what programs do they have? Before you make a final decision both options are going to take considerable time and commitment. If your Vet is agreeable have them fully explain the PT option.
I wanted to ask-did either of your dogs with this injury have arthritis build up? Bailey lumps on occasion-she still has stability-but even the surgeon mentioned the arthritis build up on her.
 

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One of the things I was told was once the joint is injured like this arthritis is likely even if you get surgery arthritis will still happen that's why since neither of my dogs had an unstable knee I chose the PT. I did forget to mention that I also give my current male dog Dausequin MSM they come in treat form as well as chewable I use the treat form its two a day for the start then its one a day after that and its supposed to help with healing as well as maintenance. For what its worth I think you are doing the right thing, that surgery is very common and sometimes I think people are feeling pressure to do this surgery when sometimes its not needed I certainly have experienced this. With my female she ended up getting some other serious medical issues so I spent alot of time in Vet offices and Emergency Vet you would be surprised at how many dogs I saw who had failed knee surgeries for whatever reason be it their owner didn't confine them properly or the surgery failed one dog I saw her lower leg was just flopping because of a failed surgery so that scared me off of it too. I am not saying my way is the right way and there are many different scenarios out there depending on the severity of the injury and letting the dog heal on their own is subjective but it has worked for me so far. I have always used the PT and anti inflammatory and joint supplements and so far so good! I wish you luck and I hope you girl does well. You said she is not too active now but activities to avoid and limit are jumping and running and twisting to a stop or running the fence stop/start chasing ball I just wouldn't do those thing. Leash walking is good plus it builds muscle in the joint there are also exercises that help as well. Keeping her moving is important
 

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One of the things I was told was once the joint is injured like this arthritis is likely even if you get surgery arthritis will still happen that's why since neither of my dogs had an unstable knee I chose the PT. I did forget to mention that I also give my current male dog Dausequin MSM they come in treat form as well as chewable I use the treat form its two a day for the start then its one a day after that and its supposed to help with healing as well as maintenance. For what its worth I think you are doing the right thing, that surgery is very common and sometimes I think people are feeling pressure to do this surgery when sometimes its not needed I certainly have experienced this. With my female she ended up getting some other serious medical issues so I spent alot of time in Vet offices and Emergency Vet you would be surprised at how many dogs I saw who had failed knee surgeries for whatever reason be it their owner didn't confine them properly or the surgery failed one dog I saw her lower leg was just flopping because of a failed surgery so that scared me off of it too. I am not saying my way is the right way and there are many different scenarios out there depending on the severity of the injury and letting the dog heal on their own is subjective but it has worked for me so far. I have always used the PT and anti inflammatory and joint supplements and so far so good! I wish you luck and I hope you girl does well. You said she is not too active now but activities to avoid and limit are jumping and running and twisting to a stop or running the fence stop/start chasing ball I just wouldn't do those thing. Leash walking is good plus it builds muscle in the joint there are also exercises that help as well. Keeping her moving is important
Thank you! Yes she’s been on Dasiquin since this all started as my primary vet suspected initially arthritis. I do try to take her for a short walk at least once a day. I also set up a gate surrounding her dog bed so she has a place to rest during the day, and I can close it when my kids are running around. She is 100% boxer so she loves playing, but I think even she realizes now she can’t run like she used to. I am going to have my husband build her doggie stairs for the bed. Right now I want to be happy and comfortable with no pain.
 

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Sounds good you have put a lot of thought in for her. I have a friend who has an 8 year old female boxer as well with the same issues as your dog she was also told to do the TPLO and chose not to at her dogs age so you are not alone! Her dog is managing well with shorter walks and having activities controlled (no insane running) and she is doing well occasionally she over does it and she will have to have some anti inflammatory but overall she is doing well. I hope this all works out for you I think it will sounds like she has someone who loves her very much!
 
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