Thursday, April 12, 2018

No end to the explanations

OK, here is the bad news about Bessie. I tried everything to avoid Bessie getting the TPLO surgery but it looks like there is nothing else to do. My primary concern over surgery was being able to keep her immobilized for much of the day for 3 months to allow good recovery. I will have to make some changes in the house and build a large pen. 

After doing all my research on alternative treatments for healing CCL tears I went in to see Dr. Susan Hodge, the Orthopedic specialist, this afternoon. I had read about expensive knee braces (Posh) and about Prolotherapy for non-surgical healing. 

Dr. Hodge took new detailed x-rays and showed exactly what my Vet at Noah's Ark had told me. Bessie's Left knee has a fresh slight tear. Dr. Hodge explained how the ligaments were made up of strands and what happens in a partial tear when a few of the strands break and when they peel back they wither and die and cannot grow back on to the remaining ligament.

I had hopes for the Prolotherapy because a search of authorized practitioners showed one of them, in fact, was the primary Veterinarian in Dr. Hodge's office. Dr. Hodge told me she spoke to the other doctor and he said he had trained for using Prolotherapy years ago but gave it up because it didn't work very well.

I asked about using the Posh Knee Brace but as I had imagined the problem of putting it on and taking it off every day would be difficult since Bess gets upset when I try to hold her feet, Dr. Hodge said she saw many dogs reject the brace and try to roll over to get it off often causing more damage.

I thought it would be useful to write a comment and explain why I was so reluctant to have TPLO surgery done on my 4 year old Rottie girl Bess who is weeks away from getting her left CCL repaired. I just came across a post-op photo of my previous Rottie girl Sassy who tore both her ACLs 12 years ago and had them repaired in 2007 when she was also 4-years old. I have many photos of Sassy but this is the only one of her taken after the operation that shows the incision.
Eleven years ago I was totally ignorant about ACL surgery. We had conversations with the surgeon but I didn't understand most of it or even the description of the procedure. Because of that I didn't have a clue about what questions needed to be asked of the Orthopedic doctors both before surgery and especially after surgery. I do recall Sassy never had a crate at any time. We had bought a couple of large dog beds that she used. And there was no physical therapy, either.

Within a year after her surgery Sassy was in so much pain that our own Vets had put her on a daily pain management program using Rimadyl, Tramadol and Adaquan injections. Even back then the drug costs were expensive. Without the drugs Sassy wouldn't have lived a normal life. Seven years after her surgery Sassy developed liver and kidney failure. She was 11-years old when she was put to sleep, the youngest of all my Rottweilers to go to the bridge. And her experience left me with a very bad feeling.



  1. Sorry to hear about your experience with Sassy. I'm sure it was absolutely heartbreaking. To the extent it makes you feel any better, our rottie had both of her ACLs done in the past 3-4 years and had great results and was a much happier dog once the pain had resolved. I know you are on Facebook so would suggest looking for the Orthodogs group and joining. Lots of good support and advice from others who have been through the surgery and recovery. I think there is also a more specific TPLO group but I'd say 75% of those on Orthodogs have had dogs go through the varying ACL repair surgeries. Best of luck from Chicago!

    1. Thank you for the kind thoughts. I am following two groups on Facebook that are dedicated to ACL repairs, Canine Cruciate Recovery has given me lots of first hand information.