What To Consider Before ACL Surgery for Your Dog
Canine cruciate surgery (ACL surgery) is a very stressful and expensive endeavor for dog owners.
Nobody likes to see a beloved family member in pain. The list of questions going through your mind may be infinite.
Is surgery really necessary?
Surgery is SO expensive!
Is surgery the best option?
Are other options available?
Which surgery should I choose?
We’ve compiled some information to help you better understand the options available. This list can help you to 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 surgery and opt for prolotherapy instead.
Prolotherapy is also called:
- proliferation therapy
- regenerative injection therapy.
During prolotherapy, the veterinarian injects an irritant solution into the tendon or ligaments.
These prolotherapy injections stimulate healing of the ligament tear and relieve pain.
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 of your dog’s pain.
Most likely, a trip to your vet results in a recommendation for surgery.
Often, family veterinarians do not perform bone cutting surgeries.
Your vet may refer you to a specialist.
And most specialists recommend a “bone-cutting” type of surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Statistics show bone-cutting surgeries:
- Slightly outperform (3-5%) 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 complications could include the loss of your dog’s leg.
For this reason and in most situations, we offer the “fishing-line” technique as an option to our clients.
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 lbs.
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
In fact, good post-surgical rehabilitation can even be the difference in whether or not surgery is successful!
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 opposite side is because often after surgery, the “good” knee becomes overused.
As a result, overuse or excessive weight-bearing initiates tearing of the cruciate ligament in the “good” knee.
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.