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  #21  
Old 21.09.2014, 15:09
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Wow! Glad to hear that he is feeling better without surgery.

Our 11yr old Labradiva ruptured her ACL in March. At first, we thought it was just muscle pain after a day playing at the beach, but after a few days we went in for xrays and got the bad news. As she is still so active, there didn't seem to be a non-surgical option.

We elected for TPLO (instead of TTO or TTA). it seemed to offer the quickest recovery time and the highest success rate. But all of the procedures are a bit controversial. We had it done in mid-April.

The surgery went well and Lili was home after one night in the hospital. But we had to keep her almost entirely off her "feet" for 3 days and then 6 weeks of very little movement. Ever tried to keep a Lab quiet for 6 hours, let alone 6 weeks? As our house has a LOT of stairs, we needed to find a way to get a 30Kg dog up and down. Mostly, we used a sling to lift her back legs off the ground, but I carried her quite a bit; not so easy as MY knees are a bit creaky!

Luckily, my wife and I work from home, so our girl could lie at our feet. But every time the doorbell rang, a bird flew by, firecrackers... she wanted to jump up an investigate. And after six weeks, we were able to get her in the pool to start her rehab. She loves to swim, so this was easy, but it was early June so still a bit chilly for us.

Almost 4 months later, she is in good shape. She doesn't seem to favor the "bad" knee though you can see that the angle of her paw is a bit different (which is the point of the surgery). She can run (and wants to), though at almost 12, we limit it as we are afraid for both knees. But she swims every day so gets plenty of exercise.

I have seen videos of younger dogs that seem to have made a 100% recovery, running and jumping like normal. So I would recommend doing a LOT of research before making your choice and find the BEST Vet/Surgeon that you can. We really like our team here and it made things a lot easier.

Hoping ALL of our fur kids stay healthy!

PS - In Zurich, we had very good care at the Tierspital Zurich (Winnterthurstr. 260 8057 - 01 635 81 11). Caveat - It has been several years since we have been there.

Last edited by fduvall; 21.09.2014 at 15:17. Reason: Added PS
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  #22  
Old 19.06.2016, 01:02
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Hi fduvall, just sent you a personal message, but now I see you have answered me here!

UNFORTUNATELY, our now 4 year old Kuma has returned to having knee ( or back?) problems. WORST OF ALL, we recently moved into an apartment on the 3 and 4th floor WITHOUT A LIFT!

Now, he refuses to walk any steps and my husband had to carry him up the stairs, this evening. Now I am afraid my husband's screws shall break in his back! ( surgery in 2007) FIFTY THREE kilos is quite a load!!

Still trying how to figure this out...
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Old 19.06.2016, 09:04
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Susan, I am sorry to hear about Kuma.

In the short term, would a carry/rappelling harness help you to lift him?

When Melon and Psychocollie were losing their back legs (DM), I found that a sport harness designed for mountaineering was also just the thing to give owners of a handicapped dog a little extra lifting help.

Two designs to consider, both from Ruffwear:

The Double Back Harness:
http://www.ruffwear.com/Doubleback-H...&category=1131

And for milder lameness, where the owner only needs the handle to help steer and lift rather than carry, the Web Master:
http://www.ruffwear.com/Web-Master-H...&category=1131

Now - these were not available in Melon's and Psychocollie's day - but I adapted regular harnesses to do something similar. I've now bought Ruffwear for all the dogs, used the Web Master for 3 legged Haifisch (he was small), and am using the Double Back as part of large Heffalump's gait-training physiotherapy. Ruffwear makes fantastic products.

Both are available from Meiko, and from Amazon (.de too) as well as direct from Ruffwear.

There are other more 'serious' rappelling and S&R harnesses, but these will be more expensive. Meiko carries mountaineering gear - take a look to see if something there is adaptable.

You might want to contact Dr Béosier for another consult. I can't sing his praises enough - he has helped mine time and time again.

In addition to his practice in Cham, ( http://www.myvets.ch ) Dr Béosier is also an external specialist at Marigin in Feusisberg, I think he is there one day a week. Marigin also has a CT scan, should further investigation be needed.

http://www.marigin.ch

I go to both practices regularly. Dr Cantieni at Marigin saved The Belltie's life six months ago, I very much respect him. Now, he is not an orthopedic guy, but since he works with Dr Béosier he might also be a starting point to coordinate care if you don't want to travel to Cham.

Another thing to consider, depending on diagnosis - if Kuma needs specialized pain care, the team at Veterinary Anesthesia Services are top-notch. They also work with Marigin, so again you could start there. More about their pain management services:

http://www.vas-int.com/en-us/service...ce/pet-owners/

(A different issue, but Dr Iff from VAS did the anesthesia for both The Belltie and Hooligan's recent surgeries - both are ultra high risk and both came through with flying colors, thanks to her skill and the enhanced protocol. Another vet I very much respect, hence the recommendation to look into their pain management protocol.)

This won't help with lifting Kuma up stairs, but if after diagnosis it is determined that he needs rest and mobility restriction, and if you think wheels might help him (and you!) during that phase (wheels are not only used by permanently handicapped dogs, they are also used by dogs in recovery), Tierisch Anders, a group that supports disabled dogs, often has wheels for rent, saving you the expense of buying for a temporary solution.

http://www.tierisch-anders.ch/rollwagen.html

(I don't know if they would have something in Kuma's size, but they might be able to help you source whatever aids might be needed.)

Keeping all our thumbs pressed and paws crossed for Kuma.



ETA:

Another thought, albeit one that is not a preferred solution:

If the flat stairs prove to be unmanageable for Kuma, is there a possibility for temporary foster care? How about your dog sitter - would she be able to keep Kuma, with you coming over every day to provide routine care?

ETA2:

Another resource: Marco Mouwen, the physiotherapist who is working with Heffalump, might be someone to consider seeing. He is fantastic, focusing on rehab and the practicalities of mobility issues. He has his own practice in Birmensdorf but also spends one day a each week at MyVets and Marigin. He works closely with Dr Béosier, as well as with Dr. Gerold at My Vets and Dr Cantieni at Marigin.

Last edited by meloncollie; 19.06.2016 at 09:19.
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Old 19.06.2016, 09:23
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Thanks, MC. As always, you are a source of information!

First, foster care in a house with a garden, a ground floor apartment or an apartment with a lift is essential.

Our recent move was an effort to simplify life, while I take time off from work to attend family needs in USA.

Oh dear, it seems life is never straightforward.

Immediate issue: How to get him back in the apartment, after his morning business?? ( he walks down without an issue, but refuses to enter the building or even go near the stairs.)
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Old 19.06.2016, 09:26
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

In the fresh air this morning!
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  #26  
Old 19.06.2016, 10:31
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

My emergency stairs technique for dogs with back leg mobility problems:

Put on a harness with a back handle or simply add a handle to any regular harness by sewing on one made of a length of webbing (like a lead) or cloth.

If you don't have a harness of any kind to hand, make a sling out of a towel and place around the chest, behind the front legs, holding the sling ends in your hand.

Make a sling of toweling strips or a rolled up towel, place under the dog's belly just in front of the back legs, holding the ends of the sling in your hand.

With right hand on the harness, sling in left hand (or the reverse depending on direction) very gently guide the dog one step at a time, front first then back. Pause to stabilize on each step if needed. If the dog cannot put weight on either the front or back legs, help him by lifting those using the sling just enough to clear the stair.

But you have to be careful if you do not know why the dog is reluctant or unable to walk, as you could do further damage. Hence the need to see the vet asap.

The other thing I have done when I have a dog with mobility problems and wobbly knees myself is to put my disabled mutt in my lap and 'bounce' down the stairs on my butt. Same thing going up stairs. Undignified, sure. But who cares - it gets the job done.

---

Do you think there might also be a behavioral issue going on? If so, that's a whole 'nother direction to explore. But before going that route, though, one really needs to identify or rule out a physical problem.

---

If you need to consider a foster situation, you might contact the Verein für Behinderte Hunde. This is a group of owners of disabled dogs, folks who have experience dealing with the issues, and most importantly folks who have 'Herz' for disabled dogs. They might have some suggestions for appropriate foster care or other help. I very much respect this group:

http://www.behinderte-hunde.ch
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Old 20.06.2016, 12:27
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

How is is Kuma today, Susan?
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Old 21.06.2016, 09:08
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

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Hi fduvall, just sent you a personal message, but now I see you have answered me here!

UNFORTUNATELY, our now 4 year old Kuma has returned to having knee ( or back?) problems. WORST OF ALL, we recently moved into an apartment on the 3 and 4th floor WITHOUT A LIFT!

Now, he refuses to walk any steps and my husband had to carry him up the stairs, this evening. Now I am afraid my husband's screws shall break in his back! ( surgery in 2007) FIFTY THREE kilos is quite a load!!

Still trying how to figure this out...
This is one of the points people learn in SKN Theory Classes; that the choice of type (breed, size, weight, sex) is important if you live in an apartment without lift ...

Did your dog have a proper medical? I can highly recommend www.orthovet.ch in Frenkendorf.

Good luck!
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Old 21.06.2016, 15:40
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Maybe another idea for lifting help...

As part of Heffalump's physiotherapy, we put his back end in a t-shirt while he is doing groundwork and longieren exercises. (The idea is similar to a TTouch wrap, that is, the shirt 'binds' his front and back ends together, making him more aware that he actually has a back end. But I digress...)

As I was working with Heffalump today, I thought about you and Kuma. The t-shirt thing might make for a less unwieldy lift than the towel slings as per my post above.

To put the t-shirt on, the tail goes through the neck opening, the back legs through the arms. The extra material is gathered up at the waist and tied in a knot over his backbone. Obviously for Kuma you'd need an pretty big t-shirt!

To use it as a lift, you'd hold on to the knotted bit at the waist, and lift his back end by the neck opening. You could even quickly attach another length of fabric - say an ace bandage or similar - around the part of the shirt encircling his back legs, leaving enough for a handle over his back/tailbone - to give him more support. And then lift as with the two slings.

I fiddled around with that this morning (anything to distract me from housework!) and it worked pretty well with 22kg Heffalump. I don't know if it would work with 53kg Kuma, but perhaps worth a try. At least it wouldn't cost anything....

Anyway, thinking of your big lad, keeping our paws crossed for him.
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Old 21.06.2016, 19:55
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Hi Susan,
Our dog will be having a surgery for a similar problem in 2 weeks.
We found reading in English the explanation and the generalised recommendations the vet below makes for certain conditions. It helped us to decide that surgery was the right answer for our dog. Fitzpatrick referrals in the UK (aka the Supervet on ITV 4)

www.fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk/

Will let you know how it goes for our girl, she will have surgery in July.
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Old 23.06.2016, 08:25
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Many thanks, everyone. As you can imagine, we have been quite busy.

The return visit to Tierspital Zürich was not very satisfying, as the x-rays showed left, but the doctors suggest right. They admit to being unclear and want to re-check before surgery. However, he walks without a limp and is not lame. He cannot walk up stairs, and yelps if forced to do so.

Our local vet in Wilen does not agree with the diagnosis, placing the problem with the spine.

Fortunately, he can stay with our angel, Angela, at Angela's Dog Sitter, for now.

We've always lived in large family homes with gardens, thus keeping a large dog was not a problem. This move was only meant as a temporary solution, as our house sold quickly. We are already looking to move!

MC, you've got GREAT suggestions! Thank you.

Wish us luck, and I'll keep you informed.

( I'm at a dental congress and am writing quickly. Please excuse mistakes or shortness.)
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Old 01.11.2016, 20:04
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

VERY SAD NEWS...

While I was out of the country, and our son was home from university, our big fluffy Bärli took a turn for the worse. Hospitals stays, examinations, changes of diet, medications,therapy, sonigrams, ... etc.....

and then...the worst....cancer...

The specialist vet said it was the most agressive he has ever seen, in his twenty years of practice......no chance for a cure.

Rest in Peace, our sweet friend. Your absence is painfully felt.
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Old 01.11.2016, 20:10
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

So sad Susan to loose a friend, our thoughts are with you.
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Old 01.11.2016, 21:12
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Oh Susan, I am so very sorry.

You gave Kuma a wonderful life, he was so much loved.

May you find strength at this difficult time.
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Old 01.11.2016, 21:36
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

I am so so sorry - he was only a puppy ... hugs to you and family,
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Old 02.11.2016, 23:07
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

So sorry to hear about Kuma. It is always so sad losing a pet. They are very special members of our families. My thoughts are with you.
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Old 15.11.2016, 22:53
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Thanks, everyone. He is sorely missed....
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Old 15.11.2016, 23:13
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

Oh no, I just saw this. I am so, so sorry for your loss. But you gave him a good life, loved him and got lots in return.
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Old 15.11.2016, 23:28
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

So sorry Susan, you must be feeling very sad. I know what it is to lose an animal, a gut-wrenching sense of loss. Give yourself time ...
Thinking of you.
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Old 16.11.2016, 00:51
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Re: Surgery for dog's knee ligament tear ??

I am so sorry for your loss Susan, my thoughts are with you and your family...
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