6 Things To Think About Before Scheduling Dog ACL Surgery

6 Things to Think About Before Scheduling Dog ACL Surgery

Canine cruciate surgery is a very stressful and expensive endeavor for dog owners.

Nobody likes to see a beloved family member in pain!

But is surgery really necessary?

Surgery is SO expensive!

Are other options available?

What if it doesn’t work?

Which surgery should I choose?

The list of questions is infinite.

We’ve compiled some information to help you better understand the options available.

With this information, you can make the best choice for your dog.

1. Prolotherapy May Be a Non-Surgical Option for Large Breed Dogs

There is some good news- maybe you can bypass surgery at this time.

Yes, sometimes you can skip the surgery and opt for prolotherapy instead.

Prolotherapy is also called:

  • proliferation therapy
  • regenerative injection therapy.

During prolotherapy, the doctor injects an irritant solution into the tendon or ligaments.

Prolotherapy injections stimulate healing of the tear and relieve pain.

In large breed dogs, prolotherapy often treats partial tears just as completely as surgery.

Learn More About Prolotherapy

In large breed dogs, prolotherapy often treats partial tears just as completely as surgery.

2. You Can Choose “Bone Cutting” Surgery or the “Fishing Line” Technique

If your dog suffers from a torn cruciate ligament, you are well aware your dog is in pain.

Most likely, a trip to your vet results in a recommendation for surgery.

Often, family veterinarians do not perform bone surgeries.

Your vet may refer you to a specialist.

Most specialists recommend a “bone-cutting” type of surgery to repair a torn ACL.

Statistics show bone-cutting surgeries:

  • Slightly outperform the fishing-line technique in long-term function.
  • Have shortened recovery times and faster resolution of post-surgical pain.

Unfortunately, bone-cutting surgeries cost an average of 50% more than the fishing-line technique.

Furthermore, if something goes wrong during surgery or the recovery period, the side-effects could include the loss of your dog’s leg.

For this reason, we offer the “fishing-line” technique in the clinic as an option to our clients.

Learn More About the Fishing-Line Technique

3. Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) Surgery May Be A Better Choice Than Standard Cruciate Surgery

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement is the newest, most innovative canine knee surgery to date.

TTA surgery may be a better option than regular ACL surgery for high-energy dogs weighing over 50 pounds.

Learn More About Tibial Tuberosity Advancement

4. Your Dog Will Need Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

For best results, you must institute physical therapy immediately after surgery.

Post-surgery rehabilitation ensures:

  • proper healing
  • the maximum range of motion
  • flexibility.

In fact, good post-surgical rehabilitation can even be the difference in whether or not your surgery is successful!

Learn More About Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

5. Prevent Your Dog from Tearing the Good Knee Ligament After Surgery

Studies show 50% of dogs who tear one cruciate ligament will tear the ligament on the opposite side sometime in the future.

The reported statistic is 50%, but in real life, the percentage is probably closer to 70%.

The reason for the probability of injury on the other side is due to compensation. Often after surgery, the “good” knee becomes overused.

As a result, overuse or excessive weight-bearing can cause the beginnings of a cruciate tear in the “good” knee.

Learn How to Prevent the Second Injury

6. Dogs are Individuals and Have Individual Needs, Just Like People!

Last but not least, please don’t forget your dog is an individual!

Your dog’s health status is unique, and your dog has individual needs just like you!

At Natchez Trace Veterinary Services, we KNOW dogs are individuals.

We treat each dog as an individual, and no two treatment plans are the same.

Contact us today to learn more about your dog’s individual needs!


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