TPLO and Day 1

So, since so many people with agility/performance dogs go through ACL tears (actually, their really CCLs in dogs), I thought I would blog about Ticket’s surgery and rehab/recovery, to share my experiences.  Certainly, there are things about Ticket’s experience that may be different from yours–Ticket is not even two years old yet, and she’s only 20 pounds, both of which can aid in speeding recovery.  She’s also shown a pretty high pain tolerance based on her desire to keep “doing” despite having inflammation in her knee.  So, your mileage may vary, but I hope she’ll be a good story for those who find themselves in the same boat as me.  I already posted about her initial consult, CCL injuries in general, and how I made my decision to go forward here.

Ticket came home from Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists today.  Yesterday, she had arthroscopy of her left stifle, confirmed a partial tear (~25%), and then had a TPLO to repair it.  The surgery went great–was a lot faster then I thought it would be.  Since I’m a vet, Dr. Beale let me watch the arthroscopy–actually, he said I could watch the whole thing, but I just couldn’t watch them cutting and plating my baby’s knee.  The scope was actually really neat.  I think it has to be the best way to definitively diagnose a partial CCL tear.  We were able to see the part of the ligament that was torn, the part that was intact, and evaluate the entire joint through a small incision.  Both the lateral and medial meniscus were perfect — more commonly those tear in complete CCL tears, but it can happen with partials as well.  No signs of arthritis anywhere, just inflammation within the joint (duh).  I left after the scope, but an hour later, Ticket was awake and extubated.

Per the staff, she rested comfortably and mostly just “chilled” even after completely awake from surgery.  From the couple of times she’s had injectable pain meds/sedatives at work, I can attest to the fact that she enjoys her drugs. 🙂  I wasn’t able to see her before I left–she got excited when she accidentally heard my voice, and resting post-op and not getting upset is super important.  Sometimes it can be hard for us as owners to realize that sometimes us NOT being there is best for our babies.  Hence, also why I left Ticket overnight, when I know if I’d asked, Dr. Beale would have let me take her home.  That night of rest and the “good drugs” can make a world of difference, and again, I know she was calmer there then she would be at home.

When I picked her up today, Ticket was in great spirits, and was much less painful then I expected.  I had to bear hug her to keep her from wiggling all over the place, and she persists on trying to drag me around with the leash.  She was already starting to use the leg (toe-touching when walking) this morning, 24 hours post-op.  She has good range of motion (ROM) of that stifle right now–much better then I expected.  Her physical therapy right now is just her short walks outside to potty, ROM exercises, and ice on her knee afterwords. 

Keeping Ticket quiet for the next few weeks is going to be a challenge, and I know I’ll have to make some changes in my routine to keep her from getting too excited.  But she’s home, and the road to recovery has begun.

Obviously, someone isn’t worried about it…


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