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Surgery for CCL/ACL

I have a 5-year-old mixed breed dog.  He is very healthy, active, and 48 pounds - a normal weight for his build.  He frequently cuts corners very quickly while running and I have recently found out that he has "completely torn" his CCL (the quotes are because I am not 100% sure that a complete tear can be determined by physical exam alone).  I was presented with only the option of surgery.  I have looked into TPLO, TTO, and extracapsular repair with the suture-type material.  I have found mixed thoughts on whether the surgery is necessary or if my dog is capable of recovery on his own with activity restriction.  I am hesitant to put my dog through such an ordeal if it is possible for him to recover without surgery.  So my questions are: Is the surgery necessary?  If so, which would be the best one for a 48 pound, medium frame, active dog who is still young enough to remain active for several more years?  And finally, if I wait and see if he recovers on his own and he does not, will he form arthritis that will make the surgery less successful?  I am very confused about what to do.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.
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I have a 5 year old German Sheppard Mix, 56 lbs. She tore her CCL on Labor Day. We took her to get x-rays and determined it was completely torn and she needed surgery. She had surgery on Thursday and she is at home now. The first few days were hard, keeping her confined and making sure she eats. I could also tell when her pain medicine was wearing off and would comfort her until I could give her another one. I've read articles on treatments other than surgery but I saw how much pain she was in and decided it would be best for her. I've read that the longer you let a CCL injury go, the harder it will be to treat it sucessfully with surgery. I was so apprehensive about taking her in and worried how she would deal afterwards. But I'm glad we did it. I was also leaning more towards other options than surgery but after going through it, I think it was best for her well being. She is eating well, sleeping normally, playing with her toys and seems to be only slightly bothered that she has stitches in her leg. I would suggest surgery now seeing how she is coping. I know it's expensive and the recovery is not easy. But now that it's over I know she is on her way to being better. I was concerned that if she didn't have surgery, her function and quality of life might never be the same. I didn't want to risk it.
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82861 tn?1333453911
My dog, Chica, blew out her ACL the same way your dog did.  She loved to run the fenceline with the dog next door.  When she reached the end and spun on the turn, she turned but her leg didn't.  BAM.  That quick.

Her ACL was completely severed as shown on MRI.  Arthritis sets in very quickly without the support of the ligament.   Bones rub on bones and that's how it starts.  With or without surgery, you can plan on arthritis in that joint, but it's not nearly as bad with the surgery.

Chica had TPLO about 6 weeks after the initial injury and it was worth every penny.  She would have spent the rest of her life (8 years old when it happened) on 3 legs.  Within a couple of weeks post-op she was back on 4 legs.  

As with most things, you get what you pay for.  Try not to go with the lowest bidder on TPLO surgery.  Ask your vet for a referral to a speciality hospital.  Sometimes a university hospital is the only game in town, and the care is superb.  Expensive, but worth it.  

You'll have to be diligent with the rehab - just like humans with a comparable injury.  We were lucky to have a pool that gave us the ability to do Chica's rehab ourselves.  Water therapy is about the best thing you can do with an orthpedic injury because of the lessening of gravity.  I learned that myself after a few ortho surgeries on my neck and shoulders.  The pool was the one thing that completely removed all pain.  Of course, getting out was another story.  :-)
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