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 Post subject: So many dogs have Cruiciate Ligament (back knee) operation
PostPosted: 03 Nov 2016, 15:51 
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Joined: 24 Jul 2010, 17:06
Posts: 34
Location: South Coast
This seems to be a relatively common problem nowadays affecting any type/size of dog, including Doodles. (Labradors are one of the breeds particularly prone to this so it's not surprising that Doodles can also suffer from it.)
My understanding is that the ligament acts like a strong elastic band, holding the top leg bone in place where it rests on the bottom (sloped surface) leg bone.

When the ligament goes, the dog shows lameness on getting up from rest, which may go away once it's walking, but eventually the dog shows pain on using the back leg especially for running, jumping etc.

They used to fix this by replacing the ligament with another 'elastic band', but they now recommend operating to cut the sloping piece off the top of the lower leg bone, swivelling it round to make the top a flat surface, then screwing a plate in to hold this in place till it heals. (This is called a TPLO operation.) https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwir-szK5YzQAhXnL8AKHRh2BuAQFggwMAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk%2Forthopaedic%2Fcranial-cruciate-ligament-injury%2F&usg=AFQjCNGz_cUNClpyyuUkaV2mt7fvj-Q0ng

When the two bone surfaces are flat, there is no need for a ligament as the top bone does not slide down the slope anymore. (Apologies to anyone vet-trained for this explanation.)

Molly is aged 6 and in the last year has had both back knees operated (TPLO) as above. It's a long recovery palaver and costs about 3K per leg and some insurances won't cover the second leg as they define any 'bilateral' condition -affecting two legs, two ears, two eyes etc- as one single condition, so once you've reached the insurance limit for one 'condition' that's it.

Molly has always been very competitive and loved to chase with other dogs, sometimes on the pebble beach surface. She also did agility for a year and could leap like a gazelle over a pole from a standing start. Unfortunately it looks like all that leaping, jinking and turning at full speed has taken its toll on her back knees.

Anyway I'm glad to say that 'Miss Moll' is now well on the way to recovering from her second leg op. done six weeks ago, but she's no longer allowed to run on the pebble beach or leap over anything.

Has anyone else noticed this becoming a more common complaint in dogs lately or is it just me noticing it more, now that I'm aware of it?

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 Post subject: Re: So many dogs have Cruiciate Ligament (back knee) operati
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2016, 09:40 
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Joined: 22 Aug 2013, 20:05
Posts: 516
I'm so glad Miss Moll is recovering well. Coincidentally only yesterday I spoke to a dog walker who I hadn't seen for awhile. Her cockerpoo Bella has just had exactly the same op you describe and is due to have her 2nd op after Christmas.
Is it possible that now we have the brilliant "Supervet" Noel, other vets are taking on his ideas about surgery? Anny


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 Post subject: Re: So many dogs have Cruiciate Ligament (back knee) operati
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2016, 17:05 
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Joined: 24 Jul 2010, 17:06
Posts: 34
Location: South Coast
Thank you Anny. As with any injury the hardest part is not being able to explain to the dog why she can't join in the chase.

I've heard a lot about the Supervet but not watched it. The TPLO op seems quite common now, though also quite 'high-tech' in that they give the dog an epidural to minimise the pain.

We realised how commonplace this injury is becoming in dogs of all sizes when we went to hydrotherapy to help get the muscle tone back afterwards, which makes me wonder if anything we're doing today is weakening the cruciate ligament.

Who knows. There are so many things to contend with today as a dog owner... :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: So many dogs have Cruiciate Ligament (back knee) operati
PostPosted: 04 Nov 2016, 21:52 
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Joined: 10 Sep 2010, 18:36
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Does seem if one goes it is near inevitable the other cruciate goes too.

Wonder if is more common due our life styles and indeed insurance coverage ?
Lifestyle rushing about , quick walk the dog. Use ball chucker or such more frequently as tires them out sooner but also lots of endless jolting the joints, twisting sudden stops. Think of the toys that puposesly don't bounce straight and how our dogs contort.As you say miss moll all that leaping about takes it's toll.


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 Post subject: Re: So many dogs have Cruiciate Ligament (back knee) operati
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2016, 10:19 
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Joined: 03 Nov 2006, 20:30
Posts: 18722
Location: South Dorset
I think there asre 2 problems - there is cruciate ligament disease where degeneration takes place of time, and which is thought to have a genetic factor. This is where both ligaments tend to be affected at some point in time. Then there is crucuiate ligament injury/trauma where the dog does some movement that causes a rupture. As long as the recovery program is followed 100% this doesn't usually mean the other one goes as well.

Daisy's sister Raggle injured her cruciate 2 years ago, and these days you would never know there had been anything wrong - she can play and leap and run and twist as well as she could before, and so far the other leg has been fine. She is 10 so if it was degenerative I think we would know by now.

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 Post subject: Re: So many dogs have Cruiciate Ligament (back knee) operati
PostPosted: 13 Nov 2016, 14:41 
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Joined: 24 Jul 2010, 17:06
Posts: 34
Location: South Coast
Good to hear Raggle has recovered so well. The TPLO does seem to be a very strong repair once it's fully healed.

When both ligaments go, it may well be genetic but it could be that all the jumping about has weakened both. The 'good' leg also has to take the strain of the three-legged phase while the 'bad' leg is repaired. (Moll was one of a litter of 12 so would be interesting to see how many Doodles from any one set of parents get Cruciate Ligament trouble.)

One thing this has taught me is that dogs can get about so well on only three legs, and still pull you into the pond... :roll:

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