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Advice on TPLO surgery if no one at home to care for dog

4475 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jfrwright
Just looking for thoughts here. A 4 yr old lab has a torn ACL (not my dog) and the owner has been advised that she needs to have TPLO surgery. After much research, the owner is really unsure if he can care for the dog after the surgery. Apparently it is a very intensive recovery, and the dog must be crated (or be in such a place that its movements are severely restricted) for a period of 12 weeks. I don't know how people do this, if they work and live alone. He leaves the house around 7:30 in the morning and returns around 5:30. Dog has access to outside/shelter/water/food, during the day. There is a person nearby that can (and currently does) check on the dog but would be unable to handle them on a leash (dog is 80+ pounds) as she is elderly and somewhat limited, physically.

How do people deal with such surgeries if they live alone and work? Are the recovery periods overstated? I personally think that she would be fine in her crate all day (she is quite used to her crate and goes in and out of it on her own) and even though she is used to being outside most of the day and relieving herself whenever, she would adjust to the crate. That's just my opinion though. Just wondering how others have tackled this, or if they have decided to not have the surgery and try other methods. That's the other thing - there are lots of stories of complications and failed surgeries, so it's a tough decision, I'm sure.
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I'd say, change vet.
In 2001-2002 my corso, Paco, had both ACL hurt.
We asked different orthopedics vets, and in the end we got the names of 2 "good" vets that did the (at the time in Italy it was not very common) TPLO surgery.
We called both of them.
One said that he could not guarantee the surgery if the dog moved, so we had to crate him (as he was a young dog and he would have been alone at least 6 hours per day that would have been very difficult and hard for him), the other one said that we did not have to do anything like that.
He said that, if the surgery was done well, the dog could move, he only had to avoid stairs (for 1 month) and we could not let him off the leash, free to run without a care (6 months), and this is easily achieved by limiting his space (either your friend keeps the dog inside and has his neighbour let him out shortly once a day, or he use a fence to create a small area in the garden)... but he could move and walk from the first day. No crate at all (he thought it was ridiculus crating dogs for so long).

We went to him, obviously... and everything went alright. He limped a little the first days (that's normal), but then started to walk without pains, as long as we did not let him free to run.
Same thing the second time (we did one ACL at a time, so he could lean his weight on the other leg and move more easily).

And every time we went there (first visit, controls, surgery...) we met people from all over italy that did the TPLO with him and they were all satisfied. I've never heard of a dog that had problems after his surgery, and no one was crated.
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Thank you. He lives in a bit of a remote area and changing vets is not an option. He talked again with the vet today about all this, and voiced his concerns. The dog's acl is not completely torn, so they are going to try a pain/activity management approach. Currently she is free to jump (more like sail :rolleyes:) off the deck and it's several feet off the ground. She has done this ever since he's had her...she loves to jump - she is a very active dog. He will put up rails and a ramp so that she is forced to walk down. Also will look into a brace for the knee. Apparently they can assist healing by stabilizing the knee.

We'll see how it goes.
Whatever you decide to do keeping her weight on the lighter side will help.
The conservative method for treating a torn ACL can work - it happened to my dog's friend who we always play at the park with, and within 3 months she was back at the park playing with us again. Like your friend the tear was partial and recovery without surgery was an option. Now when she's at the park I see she wears the Ortocanis dog knee brace to help support her injured knee. The owner told me that the brace works really well and doesn't bother her at all.. never tries to take it off.

I think it's a great idea what your friend is doing by looking into the alternative healing methods.. I sincerely hope it works out!
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