The most common orthopedic problem we see in dogs have torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL or CCL) in their knees. There are many different surgeries to fix it. Doctor Kuhn loves TTA sx and extra-capsular repair. Do you know the difference? No?! Don’t worry, normal people (non-veterinarians) don’t. Usually, we choose which surgery to do based on the dogs: size, conformation, any concurrent issues (such as hip arthritis) and budget. The American Veterinary surgery specialists state that most dogs can have varying clinical signs. Some dogs present to the doctor because the dog is only toe-touching the ground with one foot. Other times, a subtle lameness exacerbated by exercise often occurs. Sometimes the lameness subsides with rest and anti-inflammatory but will recur with exercise. A lot of dogs will just sit with one leg off to the side and others will just start to get up slowly. The acute injury often id what everyone thinks about. Their dog jumped and now it is limping. Most people don’t think about the ones where it is a slight tear today, then another slight tear and then it tears all the way so that clinical signs are much more progressive and harder to observe. The TTA surgery is wonderful for bigger dogs that have torn their ACLs. This surgery helps to stop the forward movement of the knee thereby stabilizing it.
Below is a drawing representative of the procedure with a before and after picture of the knee.
Picture courtesy of columbusvetcare.com
After surgery, recovery time at the hospital is 2 weeks but physical therapy is started immediately. Physical therapy helps shorten recovery times and increases patient comfort. Finally, 8 weeks after surgery radiographs will be done to determine how the healing process is progressing at that time and make sure they are fit for full duty.
Most dogs are walking better the next day but sometimes some limping will still occur for up to a couple weeks afterward. Most dogs do great and are back to their normal selves 8-10 weeks later