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<< Back to: rec.pets.dogs: Canine Medical Information [Part 2/2] FAQ

Question by mrst
Submitted on 7/30/2003
Related FAQ: rec.pets.dogs: Canine Medical Information [Part 2/2] FAQ
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Has anyone ever heard of doing knee replacement surgery for dogs?  I have a Lab/Dane/Rot Mix
who has torn his cruciate ligament twice in one leg and once in the left. Now because the first surgeon used metal wire,
Sam may have to have  null surgery to remove the rest of the wire. I know the replace hips, but I would be willing
to pay for knee replacement to just be sure he never has to have this done again. He's our big baby and putting him thru
this is terrible for him and us.  I wish it were me instead.
Thanks, mrst

Answer by gwikley
Submitted on 10/14/2003
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There is a process called TPLO. Tibia Plateu Leveling. This is an operation that is done on the knee when the ligaments are torn or damaged. This is a new process. It is patented and is done only by a few vets. The process involves changing the angle of the tibia so that when it rides on the joint that it does not create the same amount of force. The ligaments, in a normal knee, are there to hold the tibia in place against the forces of normal use. When they rupture or are torn various techniques have been use to repair the area. The "wire" or monofilament repair is the one most commonly used, and unfortunately the least reliable.

The TPLO surgery does effect the angle of the leg as it meets the ground. After surgery and recovery you will notice the leg is slightly different than the other. But the pain will be gone and the repair is permanent.

The average cost is about 3000. Some can find it for less. In expensive areas it can cost more.

I have a large lab. This was done on him. That leg is fully funcional now, 2 years later.

As a note: My dog also has congenital arthritus. His elbow was so bad that he could not use the arm. Dr. Conzemius, of Iowa State Vet Teaching School came out to U.C. Davis and implanted a new elbow. That was just a month ago. Recover will take awhile and the angle of the arm will never have the range of a normal elbow. But again, no pain, and atleast some use.  Beware of the cost. The procedure is not yet available to the general public. The doctor must be contacted directly. And, unless he is coming back to Davis, California, any future operations would have to take place in the Iowa State facility. Cost to me, so far: 6000.00

Good luck.


Answer by tkg
Submitted on 11/25/2003
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My dog had elbow replacement surgery as well around 8 weeks ago at UC Davis. Dr. Conzemius was the doctor.

We just visited UC Davis yesterday and start physical therapy this week. The good news is:
- The implant is apparently static and there is no problem with the implant.
-The doctors at UC Davis that they tried to get her to yelp by manipulating the new elbow and she did not. Their conclusion is that the elbow pain in the elbow that was operated is gone.

The bad news is she now has some other problems she never had before
- My dog is still limping quite a bit. She has a very severe and obvious limp now as opposed to before when she was limping very slightly.
- Her elbow bends out towards the right quite often when she walks making a very awkward triangular shape.
- Her paw is often turned outward when she walks making her gait look even worse and more uncomfortable.

- Also range of motion in her elbow after surgery has now become 46 degrees. Before the surgery the range of motion was less than 90 degrees but was not measured exactly.

The doctors took a radiograph yesterday and hopefully I will hear from Dr. Conzemius soon.

I am interested in hearing from others who may have had this surgery done on their dogs especially from this other person who had their dogs elbow replaced in UC Davis as well.


Answer by Jeff
Submitted on 3/24/2004
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My rotty blew her knee out last Sunday and today, Wednesday she just came home from the Vets with the results - surgery is in the near future & at a very high cost.


Answer by TPLO Advice?
Submitted on 5/1/2004
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Hi.  My 7-year-old lab/samoyed mix was diagnosed recently with a partially torn cruciate ligament.  TPLO was recommended by the Vet offering our second opinion.  The cost is $2700. plus any additional x-rays, medication & bloodwork.  If money were not an issue, I would go with the surgery in a heartbeat.  Does anyone have any advice for me before I commit to surgery?


Answer by Susan
Submitted on 5/13/2004
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My Lab had TPLO surgery on both knees several years ago.  It cost me about $3500 but she is completely pain free and agile now.  Three weeks ago my foster dog had TPLO on one knee and she is doing very well.  This one was "only" $1243 and that included the overnight stay and follow up checks (but not the initial X-rays).  I don't know what area you live in (I'm near Portland Oregon) but you might check with other Vets in the area and ask their cost - you might find it for less.  They must have special training to do the surgery and should be able to show they are certified.  If you live anywhere near a Veterinary college, you might see if they could do the surgery for less as a teaching opportunity.  Or just work out a payment plan.  I can tell you this surgery really, truly works!  


Answer by janise burford
Submitted on 5/17/2004
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My American Bulldog mix has blown both acls. The first was repaired with the traditional technique.  The second knee had TPLO and the TPLO is FAR better!!!! The difference radiographically is dramatic. I highly recommend TPLO!


Answer by Lesaintn
Submitted on 6/14/2004
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My 6 year old Lab has torn both ACLS and we just completed his first surgery this Friday at University of Tn.  They has been very nice to us and our little 100 lb puppy!haha
So far so good,  he has a little razor burn rash where they shaved him, we have him confined.  If anyone is curious about the surgury feel free to email me.  I'm keeping everyday pictures and a diary on his progress.  In 8 weeks if he has healed we will get the other one taken care of.  The total cost is 1639.00 for each leg then at 4 and 8 weeks you do a followup of xrays and physicals- they will cost 200.00 a visit.  So each leg will cost about 2040.00.  A total of $4080.00.  Tar is worth every penny!  All he does is bring a smile to our face everyday,  its the most we can do for him.  The only thing required so far from us has been a little extra TLC from us,  confined space,  a belly sling to help support him as he walks to ensure no slips or falls.  This also ensure he can't try to chase a squirrel or rabbit out of the blue.  Its very important he is kept quiet during his recovery period. I also have to do flexing therapy on him for the first 10 days and use ice packs the first 4-5 days for swelling.  So far he has been so receptive to the extra attention.  He DOES NOT like his new look as a flower.  The collar ring doesn't seem to be appreciated to much although he is adapting.  I think its harder for me to watch him be comfortable than it is for him.  He is real good about letting me flex and massage the joint.  I sit the same way in the same place every day, so he knows to do the same.  It works out very well.  I am checking into hydrotherapy, has  anyone done this?  They recommended it since he will be getting surgery on the other leg,  they feel its in Tars best interest to get this leg in as best shape as possible before the next surgery.  I've read alot about it and think we will go this route,  from what I understand it should be done 2-3 three times a week and its 30.00 a visit.  
Well,  if your interested in getting this  type of surgery done with your dog and need to know any information ,  I'll be happy to let you know how we've done to date.  So far so good. KEEPING FINGERS CROSSED!!


Answer by Bart
Submitted on 6/21/2004
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I was wondering where in the Portland OR area Susan had the surgery done on her foster dog.....Susan - I could use a referral...or a contact address....


Answer by Erick
Submitted on 6/24/2004
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My dog Ray, now deceased, had cruciate replacement in both hind legs during his life.  I documented his second procedure with pictures.  http://www.rayskneesurgery.com


Answer by Lesaintn
Submitted on 9/14/2004
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After 12 weeks ( rather than the eight) Tar has now healed from his first TPLO surgery on his Right Knee and we just got the other one completed about 5 days ago.  So far so good.  This surgery was a little less than the first 1380.00 plus the followup xrays of 130.00 at 4 and 8 weeks.  So its actually less than first projected.  We live in Knoxville, Tn  so the University of Tn conducted the surgeries. You'll need a referral from your vet. We tried to enroll him in Physical water therapy after the last surgery, it didn't work.  He panicked when the water started rising in the tank.  Although he loves water, he likes it when someone is in the water with him.  So we decided just to continue walks and rest. The Doctor that performed the surgery said he felt the less movement the better.  He said he has seen many dogs have problems if they aren't completley contained until healed.  At about 10 weeks I got the okay to take him swimming in a pool.  They said as long as it was controlled and NO jumping in and out.  So I went out and bought a dog lifejacket and this helped him not have to swim so hard and allowed me to hold a strap so I could keep him controlled.  I noticed quite an improvement with him in the those 2 weeks.  I did about 20 minutes fully supervised.  It worked for us. Will let the board know how the left leg surgery preforms once he heals.  Right now he thinks he is fine and its harder to contain him and keep him mellow compared to the last time. Although after 5 days the swelling is already down and he is putting some weight on the leg.  


Answer by booni
Submitted on 10/25/2004
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Hi Susan
Could you please tell me the surgeon you used for TBLO surgery in Oregon.

We need to do for our dog..email me boonibala@hotmail.com


Answer by lesaintn
Submitted on 12/15/2004
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Tar has now had his second TPLO surgery on other knee and its 12 weeks later and he is as good as new. Few complications with drainage and souture reactions but all went well.  Second surgery was 1350.00 and each followup was 125.00 ( 2 times)Again surgery was preformed for University of Tn in Knoxville. They are very good! I would highly rec. to anyone.  


Answer by Carly
Submitted on 1/5/2005
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I too would like that number of the vet from Susan. That would be great!


Answer by Rocky's Dad
Submitted on 4/23/2005
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It's looking like Rocky will be needing TPLO surgery on both of his rear knees. I inherited Rocky and his cousin Molly when my mom passed away 1 1/2 years ago. Mom cut them a check for their own inheiritance... but this is going to greatly cut into the amount she left them for their "normal" expenses.
Does anyone know of a clinic in California that will do the surgery at a reasonable rate?


Answer by luvmy4babydogs
Submitted on 9/10/2005
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My almost 11 yr old German Shepherd mix just under went knee surgery on her left rear leg 1 1/2 weeks ago.
She tore her ACLS and a few other things 2 times within a month.
2 days after coming home from surgery I had to grab her tail to keep her from running into the dog yard with the other 3 dogs because she has to do nothing other than walk for 4-6 weeks.
Instead of sending me to a specialist to have Kitana's'surgery my vet performed it himself for 1/3 of the specialist's cost.
I still haven't received the bill but estimated cost will be around $400-600.
She does appear to be pain free and I see signs of improvement every single day. She seems to be more alert and returning to normal. "Grinning" at the other dogs and 2 cats if they get within 5 ft of her when all are in the house.
The vet explained to me what all he had done and it was basically rebuilding the knee with what was still good. He also injected some type of lubricant into her knee to help her out.
He said she would not use her leg for 1-2 weeks after surgery but within 2 days she was walking on it even though her foot was turned under. While standing I would turn her foot the correct way and when laying down I would perform physical therapy on her to keep her muscles stretched out to make it easier on her.
All of this seemed to work whereas now I must take her out on a leash at all times because she thinks she feels so good she can run with the rest of the pack.
As far as costs go I would suggest for everyone to check into other vet clinics in their area and sometimes in another town/county because where you live depends on what alot charge. I live in Kentucky in a small town but if I drove 25 miles away everything for animal care is 3 times as much.
This is just my 2 cents worth.


Answer by Sarah
Submitted on 9/18/2005
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I am also curious as to the clinic Susan used in the Portland area for TPLO.  Most clinics I have checked with are charging at least $2400 and our little guy needs bilateral surgery (yikes)!  If you are out there Susan please email me thecassidys2004@yahoo.  



Answer by Barbara
Submitted on 11/11/2005
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I have a Bouvier who is almost 10.  He has a degenerative (severe) knee problem.  Our vet can't do anything for him except increasing his dose of Duramax.  Please help me help my puppy!


Answer by BOB-OH
Submitted on 11/22/2005
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My Lab had the TPLO surgery done 3 years ago and was doing fine until a few days ago.  As we we're warned about she slipped and tore the other leg.  The good news is the x-ray shows the repaired leg is as good as ever.  Now I face the difficult decision of having $3,000 surgery on a 10+ year old dog with arthritis in her hips.  What do
I do????


Answer by tammy
Submitted on 4/15/2006
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I am planning to have the ACL surgery done this week on my 85 lb. puppy.  The vet said they have done many of these with great success and didn't seemed concerned.  This is not the TPLO surgery.  Is the other one considered okay?



Answer by doggiestyle
Submitted on 4/24/2006
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I think that total knee replacement surgery on dogs in now done sometimes at an extremely high cost.  I think that the Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, TX do it.


Answer by kellyk
Submitted on 6/2/2006
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hello... i know this message is alittle late but i hope someone reads it...my golden is 8.5yrs. old and is scheduled for a knee replacement on the right and acl surgery on the left, she is prescribed previcox and consequin.  this happened to both from her compensation on one. i was wondering if anyone has advice or photos on what to expect. thanks!!!


Answer by Deb
Submitted on 6/10/2006
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We just went through a Tplo surgery with our little pit bull about 8 wks. ago. She is doing very very well, and has done well throughout the entire period. The two main things are 1)pick an orthapedic surgeon that has a great deal of experience, and 2) dont do too much too soon, it is imperative that activity is pretty much restricted,except for walking around the house and backyard,after total rest, around 2 or 3 weeks into the restriction period.


Answer by Jenn
Submitted on 10/21/2006
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My american staffordshire terrior also has a torn ligament in his leg, and the vet recommended to wait until he was lame on that leg before surgery -it's been months, and although my dog is a tuff cookie, I'm thinking I need another opinion. I would also like to know if Susan or anyone else has contact info. for a doctor in Portland, Oregon. Thanks, and good luck to all your babies going through the same thing :)


Answer by otis
Submitted on 11/12/2006
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we are a couple who own a year old male yellow lab named Otis. Otis is a year old and unfortunately has a case of bad genetics. in all four limbs, elbows and knees, he's been experiencing pain ever since he was a pup. his cartilage never formed right in any of these joints. we've tried a surgery on his front 2 legs.. in which the surgeon finally said was unfixable. after tons of x-rays and medical exams.. and lots of money.. :)... our final option is to give him rimadyl and adequin shots for comfort, and he's on a special diet of hill's prescription id. we're hoping this will do the trick until elbow/knee replacement arrives! hopefully our Otis can hold out till then. i'vetalked to the surgeon in Illinois who has performed this surgery on the patients listed above. from what i'veheard, the proto-types are still being perfected. he has my name and number until further notice. our veterinarian has become a friend.. and is also keeping us informed with this topic. until the surgery is available, keeping Otis comfortable is our first priority! please keep us updated about the previous surgeries.. and how you're puppies are doing! it's inspiration to keep going!


Answer by Liz
Submitted on 12/27/2006
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Erick's story made me cry. My 11 year old maltese ruptured the right rear acls and surgery is recommended and is scheduled for tomorrow (12/28/06). I am nervous because my Casey has a heart murmur, autoimmune blood disease, a history of calcium oxylate stones and has not been the healthiest of dogs. I am afriad that the stress of surgery might trigger another bout of the autoimmune disease which could kill her. Would anyone hesitate to operate?


Answer by Monica
Submitted on 3/15/2007
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Baggins is only 5 years old and so far she has had 3 surgeries. When she was 2, she tore her acl in her left leg. We repaired using a more standard surgery (no TPLO) because TPLO can be the wrong procedure in a lot of cases. Plus, it is much more invasive than other cures.  Later we found that she had displacia in her right hip which most likely caused her to tear the ACL in the left.  About 6 months ago, she sprained her left knee and pulled out the screws in her left ACL repair. They did surgery to take out the screws and the arthritis in that knee has built up so much that they thought it was stable on its own. Then the right cruciate completely tore (2 weeks before we were to go to Italy for 6 months). The vet let me pick the surgery, so again I said no TPLO.  BUT, given her hip displacia and potentially the condition in her other knee, he should have done the TPLO. Now, both patella are luxated. They tell me that we can repair the right knee now with pins to re-align everything. For the left, though, the suggested remedy is total knee replacement surgery. They don't have the technology for such a thing in Italy... and I can't find out enough on the internet to determine who does this kind of surgery and how much it costs... please help me! Most everyone on this site keeps going back to TPLO, etc, but this is NOT the same a knee replacement.  If anyone knows about knee replacement or has found a good website, please let me know.


Answer by Kathyr
Submitted on 6/6/2007
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Our 12 year old 50 lb mutt had the surgery you are talking about last July-06.  He was up and about the next day without any limping and has been perfect since.  We paid $2700 for the whole thing, had to see a special surgeon that our vet ref. us too. We used our equity line. There was never a question of money, he is one of the kids in our family and we treat him the same and will do it again if nec.  He is happy and healthy now.


Answer by mary
Submitted on 7/18/2007
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my 5 month old boxer had a knee surgery that went very wrong...be aware/informed/and research research all options before believing the surgeon is capable of repairing the injury. my dog is now worse than he was before,and all for the grand total of 12,000.00  yes i said 12,000.00.  my puppy now faces an amputation!!
of course thats an addition charge.  please get second even third opinions  


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