Cruciate ligament tear experiences with your dog - Page 1

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by ZweiGSD on 21 January 2020 - 16:01

My just turned nine female GSD has been diagnosed with a partial cruciate ligament tear. Over the summer I noticed a slight limp and thought she just injured a muscle. After about six weeks of no improvement I took her in to the vet in September. He did exam and X-rays and did not find anything. He thought it was a soft tissue injury and recommended a little more time.

After a couple more weeks of no improvement he suggested a rehab vet examination. At beginning of December the rehab vet found nothing outstanding that would be causing the limp, recommended restricted excercise and new X-rays to compare to the ones from September. January X-rays showed a couple of vertebrae that were closer than they should be so she was put on an anti-inflammatory (Galliprant) and a pain killer (Gabapentin) for ten days to see if there was any improvement. Limp was not as bad but still present. Last Friday regular vet and rehab vet were comparing old and new X-rays and suspected a partial ligament tear. Today regular vet diagnosed the tear.

After almost six months of limping he did not feel the scar tissue that normally will build up. He is recommending surgery. I am going to consult with the rehab vet tomorrow to get her input.

Looking for others' experiences whether it be surgery, rehab, brace, supplements or doing nothing at all.

by jettasmom on 21 January 2020 - 22:01

I had a pit that ruptured her ACL. Had the surgery, rehab was hard and always had a limp and did eventually rupture the other side. Lost her to cancer before I could do anything. I’ve been told once a dog ruptured one side the other side is likely to do the same.


by Hundmutter on 22 January 2020 - 03:01

Hard to remember as it was so long ago now, but we did have one dog whose experience almost entirely paralelled yours, Jettasmom. Ted started limping, we treated it as soft tissue injury from running but it didn't improve, Vet said it was his cruciate. Restricted exercise, and pain-killers (can't recall how long for); he recovered completely without surgery. Didn't have an ongoing limp to worry about ... but I was always worried he'd 'do' the other leg, cruciates tend to come in pairs ! But thankfully he didn't.


by GK1 on 22 January 2020 - 06:01

@jettasmom - interestingly enough I had the same experience with a female pit bull I owned years ago. Ruptured both CLs before the age of 3. My theory..spaying the dog as a pup somehow contributed to the weakened/failed ligaments. PTS from cancer at about 9. I believe the dog had joint pain throughout her life despite the CL surgery. Surgery on a nine year old dog can be harsh. Keeping the dog comfortable, thin and on a limited impact exercise program (walk, swim) may be a less invasive option.


by DuganVomEichenluft on 22 January 2020 - 09:01

Before subjecting your dog to a possibly unnecessary surgery, look into Prolotherapy for Dogs. This was extremely successful with my dog after he tore his post ACL.


by Argohof on 22 January 2020 - 11:01

My 4 year old intact male GSD was limping/ not putting any weight on his right rear leg, had TPLO surgery done by Dr Karl Kraus at Iowa State. We followed the recovery instructions to the letter and he has made a full recovery. He is still very active but I don't let anyone play ball with him- he is very reckless.

by ZweiGSD on 24 January 2020 - 13:01

Thanks for the replies.

We are going to try 4 weeks of physical therapy and then reasses. Dugan, the prolotherapy is something that I will look into. I really do not want to do surgery.

by jillmissal on 27 January 2020 - 10:01

My Rottweiler had this injury as well. He had surgery and the outcome wasn't good. That surgery failed and so did the surgery done on the other leg when that one went as well.

I'd be inclined to not do this surgery again on a dog unless under very special circumstances.

by Pioneer Wife on 29 January 2020 - 18:01

We used braces successfully on our female, who did end up injuring both hind stifles within a year of each other. She wore the braces daily after healing for about 6 years, until she passed, so she could run safely with the young dogs without fear of re injury. Cold laser and PEMF (originally studied by NASA) helped healing and strains.

Animal Ortho Care did her custom braces. Same gentleman that did the elephant's braces on Dodo Heroes on Animal Planet. Good folks to work with. They now have an adjustable ready made brace, that is very similar to one of the custom ones we had made for her.

There is a very good FB group for conservative management of CCL.

Fenzi Academy has an occasional course on rehabbing stifles by Dr. Torraca which was very helpful, looks like it is not repeating until August. Her other canine fitness courses are very good as well. This is another online course that others have shared.

Just as an FYI, the AVMA had issued an abstract indicating the increased risk of osteosarcoma in dogs that undergo surgery. The risk increases with the higher weight of the dog.
Association of tibial plateau leveling osteotomy with proximal tibial osteosarcoma in dogs


by TIG on 30 January 2020 - 14:01

My girl is now 12+. When she was around 3 while chasing a ball suddenly stopped and couldn't weight bear on hind leg. We thought she might have stepped in a gopher hole but vet thought it more likely from tight turns ball and squirrel chasing. It was the cl. Had surgery w great surgeon.

Pretty good result but was always careful w her. Also always some residual weakness in that leg - used to cut her nails like a blacksmith but can't do cause 3 legs no longer enuf support. Also if she gets even 3-5 lbs over her ideal weight or on cold rainy days you can see a slight limp. A few years ago I started to give her SAM-e and have found that to help a lot. If I run out - likely to limp. You can get it at Costco - goes on sale every 3 months. On sale it's about $15 a month. Very safe supplement. Good for bone and joint issues.


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