Dear Labby: My Lab May Need Knee Surgery Antonio Rodriguez July 30, 2012 Dear Labby 45 Comments Kim needs some advice from our LABfans regarding her Labrador, Woody. When Woody woke up this morning he would not put any weight on his back left leg. I have had the vet look at it before and they said that he may have to have knee surgery someday. I played ball with him a bit last night but he wasn’t limping when we went to bed!! Anyone out there that has had the surgery, what are the symptoms and should I wait a day or take him to the vet today? I am worried sick about him!! Has anyone dealt with this issue before? 45 Responses Michaelene Gerster Trocola on Facebook July 30, 2012 Please give him time and major restriction before rushing into surgery. Most ACL injuries will heal on their own given proper time and care. Love this web site: http://www.tiggerpoz.com/ sarah July 30, 2012 My chocolate lab had a cruciate rupture in her knee when she was 9 months old. She had to have a metal plate fitted to the knee joint. She had to be kept on her lead while out for about 6 months afterwards but she is absolutely fine now. She is 6 years old and it hasn’t made any difference to her mobility. Hope your dog is ok. Ann M July 30, 2012 Kim…..something as serious, hard on your dog (and as expensive) as knee surgery, you bet I would get x-rays, and see them myself, and get a second opinion. You might also want to try something like Recovery. What are you dealing with? Osteoarthritis, arthritis,tendonitis? something else? How old is he? What are you feeding him? Gayle Bierer Moore on Facebook July 30, 2012 make sure it is the knee and not a foot. Mine are always stepping on something Gayle Bierer Moore on Facebook July 30, 2012 make sure it is the knee and not a foot. Mine are always stepping on something elaine baxter July 30, 2012 How old is your labrador.He looks to be fairly old.My labrador was 10 when he starten to lose the use of his back legs but we managed to keep him walking short distances for another 2 years by giving him Glucosamine tablets.Several other dog owners in our area are now giving it to their dogs.Hope yours will be ok. Barbara Gierig Engelhart on Facebook July 30, 2012 I’ve gone through 3 ACL surgeries on two of my labs. I tried conservative therapy on one of them but ended up having to do ACL on her. But after the 12 weeks of recovery she is doing awesome and running as fast as before!! Barbara Gierig Engelhart on Facebook July 30, 2012 I’ve gone through 3 ACL surgeries on two of my labs. I tried conservative therapy on one of them but ended up having to do ACL on her. But after the 12 weeks of recovery she is doing awesome and running as fast as before!! Mandy B July 30, 2012 I had 2 yellow labs that lived to 14 years old and my male was last to go in February 2011, he blew out both his knees running up and down a very steep hill in our property chasing chippies squirrels etc.. surgery here in Ontario Canada was 5000$ with no guarantees of arthritis but our family vet suggested magnetic therapy and glycosimine and condroitin capsules every day, I think your lab may have either the beginnings of a torn ACL from all the running and playing that most labs are well known to do and when he gets up in the am just like you and me he’s sore and stiff till he can work the kinks out, I hate to see dogs stressed but I feel the surgery could do more harm than good if you can heel him naturally or at the very least reduce his stiffness and any pain he is having. Hope that helps Natasha July 30, 2012 Just a suggestion, We have a 6 year old lab who was has arthritis in her leg, the vet suggested a surgery as she was limping pretty bad at times and did not want to get up or move, she had a hard time playing ball or swimming. \We started her on glucosamine pills but it was SO HARD to get her to take them, we TRIED EVERYTHING but she kept spitting them out then we put her on the liquid, not sure of the name of it but one that our vet had, and it has done wonders for her, it is like she is a whole new dog. It is worth a try on the glucosamine first if you want to avoid the operation, it may take a few weeks but trust me she is a whole new gal now, she even lost some weight because she is more active and enjoying life!! I hope you dont have to put Woody throught the operation but i would do what ever i could for my lab to make she she was happy and healthy. Best of luck to you both. Scott Kovacevich on Facebook July 30, 2012 Also.to crate rest THERESA MOORE July 30, 2012 We have experienced knee issues/surgeries from large GSD and small poodle dogs. my advice would be you can rest and confine him to see if just a stretched or partial tear of a ligament. both could possibly heal with confinement. At worst, TPLO surgery may be needed. most G.P. Vets. are not experienced in this surgery and an ortho specialist or Vet. teaching hosp. is needed. best of luck to you. Graeme Dunsmore on Facebook July 30, 2012 i have started giving my lab samlon oil every day, he is 6 years old big charlie boy, it is good for the joints, plus i am looking for afew other supliments that are good for him, i just cant think of lossing my big charlie boy, when i was a wee boy we had a big black lab, then when i was growing up i had another black lab, then wee had a white lab called sasha and i was breaking my heart on a vets floor in lanark, when the vet put here to sleep, i thought i was going to need to go to sleep with her, it is very sore in the heart, when the day comes…. i just hope the day never comes, when me and my partner need to say nght nght for the last time………. Joyce Riley July 30, 2012 My older lab favored that same leg. She would carry that leg off and on. It didn’t seem to matter if she was overly active or not. Our vet originally thought it was a hip problem. It turned out after ex-rays that she had arthritis in her spine. You should get ex-rays to make sure the problem is in his knee and not something else. Mark R October 11, 2013 Such a great story I could not stop from shedding a tear for her and you. Marty Frydlewicz on Facebook July 30, 2012 My 5 year old black lab had torn acl surgery less than 2 months ago and you would never know it…..see if you can talk to previous patients owners and see how it went for them and it will make your decision easier…i did ! Jeanette November 23, 2013 I saw your comment about your lab having acl surgery. Our lab will most likely be having that surgery next week. He had it on his other knee 3 years ago. So we have been through this before, but it is so hard to keep him confined. Do you have any ideas of how to “entertain/play” with him during confinement? Any special toys that can make the time pass easier??? thanks Cathy July 30, 2012 Wait it out before you decide to do surgery and do get a second opinion. Lots of crated rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, and glucosamine chondroitin sulfate, MSM, EsterC, Fish Oil, are all good for joint issues. It my only be a hyper-extended joint, too, that will heal. wustaz July 30, 2012 our lab partially tore his cruciate (back left) when he was about 6 mths old on our open backed deck stairs. he completely tore it the following spring on the ice. He had traditional surgery and is 100%. I did take him to a physiotherapist during his rehab and he was in the water treadmill and pool twice a week to strengthen it. he also had cold laser on it. good luck with whatever it turns out to be Kimberly Paterson July 30, 2012 My 5 year old has just gone thru a TPLO surgery 11 weeks ago and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. It has been a walk in the park for her. Ryleigh started off with limping the morning after working with ducks so we rested her and strengthened her for the issue to return a few days later. I took her in for a consult and at that point she had a partial torn Acl. I took her to a rehab place and had her fitted for a brace. While waiting for the brace to be completed she ended up fully returning the tendon. She underwent surgery 10 days later and we haven’t looked back since. All is going well and she has had all her restrictions lifted. I would get a second opinion on what is going on and if it is surgical I would take the TPLO route. U will never look back. It is a lot of work but it is so worth the work. Good luck!!! Jane Kaminski on Facebook July 30, 2012 My lab tore her cruciate ligament on each knee…one at 4 and then the other at 6. It was very noticeable when she walked that it was a complete tear each time it happened. She lacked any sort of knee stability and would rarely put full weight on it. Unless you keep your dog locked up or on a short tight leash I can’t see where you can keep your dogs knee from developing further damage. They aren’t like humans where they know to be careful. As soon as he runs and stops a certain way it will just get reinjured over and over again. We tried this with my fiances Rottweiler and ended up having to give in to surgery for her torn cruciate. It just kept on getting worse and worse with reinjury. My labs surgeries were successful and she want to live a very happy and active life without any further knee issues. Our rottie is 3 months post op and is doing awesome. It can be pricey but I couldn’t see my dog in pain and discomfort like she was. If you don’t trust your vet’s opinion then I guess get a second opinion. To me it was worth spending the money on surgery. Sam Willoughby on Facebook July 30, 2012 We used science plan dog food its available from some vets, after a few weeks she was up and mobile again, we still give her codliver oil capsules Kathy July 30, 2012 Just went through the same with my 11 year old lab. She went lame and wouldn’t move for almost 24 hours. Took her to the vet and he could hear a partial tear in her acl. Kept her quiet and gave her some pain meds for 5 days. She got better on her own with no surgery but her running days are over. He also said to give her glucosomine, so she and I take it every morning. Vet said to buy the people glucosomine as it is cheaper than doggie stuff. Hope all is well. Linda July 30, 2012 I have three labs and my chocolate boy has been having some issues with his back knee after playing ball. He will not put any weight on it and will limp, etc. He was do for his shots so we asked the vet about it. She stated he could be in early stages of arthritis and recommended glucosamine tablets and or to switch his food (food that has glucosamine and chondroitin. We switched his food to Eukanuba Labrador and after a couple of weeks he is has not favored that leg…..so far so good…..it is definately worth a try before surgery. Good Luck! Mary Bettiol-DiCesare on Facebook July 30, 2012 If partial tear try laser acupunture herb called bone and sinew it helps strength the ligment. If a full rupture surgery normal / tplo/ tight rope you need to do some research to decide which is best for your pet. Also usually if one goes the another will too. Mary Bettiol-DiCesare on Facebook July 30, 2012 Please take to vet it my not be acl he may need chiropractics. My lab puts her sacrum out then limps and will not weight bear. Julie Ann Jessome on Facebook July 30, 2012 Hi Kim! I can only share my story with you and whoever else is reading my 2 cents. I don’t usually comment, but reading your story gave me a sence of ” Déjà Vu”. My Lab Logan tore his left knee ligament about 6yrs ago. Don’t know how it happened…I let him out one morning and he came back walking on 3 legs. I suspect he slipped on a patch of Ice. Anyhooo, after 2 days of R & R and aspiring and not getting better, I took him to the vet….and yup..the torn ligament.They wanted to simply tie both ends through surgery and didn’t garantie that it would not tear again… So I went for a 2d opinion and frigging glad I did! This other vet refered him to a special clinic where they did operate but added an artificial ligament (that has elasticity) and tied both ends to this. Worked like a charm. I did have to do physiotherapy with him for a couple of months… The specialist showed me the exercices/ knee flexes I had to do every day & swimming helped alot too. Now 5yrs later he’s still running, walking and jumping in the Lake to fetch his stick….just a little slower now a days, well he is 11 yrs old now ya know Hope this helps! Jenny Simmons Rose July 30, 2012 We have a 5 yr old yellow who destroyed his ACL when he was 11 months old. We ended up doing the TPLO surgery, and he has done very well. The opinion was that he was going to be a big, active dog, why do what could be a temporary fix? The recovery was over several months and was fairly intensive, but he came back perfectly. A good canine orthopedist will more than likely be able to give you a diagnosis possibly by just watching him walk and sit. Then you can worry about xrays. Ours did surgery on the same day and he came home that night. Good luck! Erin January 7, 2013 How much did the surgery cost? Lydia Cuellar Jones on Facebook July 30, 2012 Definitely want to get x-rays to rule out arthritis or hip dysplasia. My labby had CCL (cruciate ligament) surgery on her left knee. It was partially torn, so she could use it from time to time, but didn’t want her on pain meds due to impact on her liver, so we opted for the surgery. It went just fine…just restricted for a few weeks, and we had to do exercises on her leg, but it worked. Just don’t let the vet talk you into TPLO surgery…that should be LAST RESORT. Jan N July 30, 2012 This video may help you – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jg9E2nBt_E My 7 yr old black lab has had surgery on both of his legs and we are extremely happy with the results. It takes dedication to do the therapy every day but well worth it! We also put our mattress on the floor so he could still sleep with us without jumping on or off the bed; my husband built a handicap ramp so he could go outside without going up or down the steps….I guess you could say we babied him! One symptom we noticed when he pulled up lame was a “clicking” noise when he walked – that basically sealed the deal in knowing the diagnosis was correct. And we did take the conservative route at first with pain meds, etc. but he just did not show any improvement. Good luck to you and Woody in whatever you decide. Beth Morgan July 30, 2012 We had to put our 12 yr old lab Budweiser down about a month ago. At age 1 and 1/2 he blew his knee out. Our vet sent us to University of Illinois, where he had a small plate and some screws put in. He did fine, but never was able to be the hunting dog he was meant to be. At about age 6 he blew the other one. This one we had done by a local vet with some added elastic type stuff, no screws etc. Less costly and easier recovery, knowing he wasn’t hunting and working hard, this option proved easier, and actually that leg always was better than the other. He swam every summer in our pool which helped his knees alot. We never regretted the surgeries, he was unable to walk and in alot of pain. Until this spring, he did fine, then pain was getting uncontrollable, he ended up with some neurological problems, and went numb in his back end, hips and back legs. Definitely get x-rays, it’s the only way to know for sure what is going on. Budweiser would swim until he was ready to drop…pain or no pain becasue he loved the water. Good Luck!! Michele Giarrusso on Facebook July 31, 2012 I went to a veterinary Ortho doc in Vienna Virginia and had my 9 year old male labs knees done, one at at a ime of course, and it was the best thing. He blew one knee out but it doesn’t hurt really unless there is some pressure on it. You usually have about two weeks to do the surgery before issues arise. That is my understanding. I got titanium plates and screws put it. It’s more expensive but it works better and lasts forever and is much better for a big dog. The recovery te is about three months each knee, and one week of pain meds. Then some meds as follow up. My dog did great and lived to be almost 17. I would go to a specialist, personally, and spend the extra money. Some people go to TN tech and places like that, but I am glad I went to a guy who only does bone work. I got thorough care and a strong diagnosis and a solid surgery. Louise Steele on Facebook July 31, 2012 My vet practises accupunture makes a wonderful differance to my dogs,I carried 1 in once,he was virtually paralyised,convinced 1 way journey(took 2 neighbours to lift him in car) an hour later he walked down the ramp of car and into house!!To this day neighbours do not believe it. It's a Lab Thing on Facebook July 31, 2012 Thanks for everyone showing their support to Woody & Kim. That is what It’s a Lab Thing is all about. Sam Ford August 3, 2012 *Our Yellow Lab, Cargo has arthritis in his back legs, my vet who is a lifelong friend has him on Gucosomine (2 pills a day plus the anti inflammatory Medicam which works wonders (it’s amazing stuff) Cargo is now 12 he has some bad days but he doesn’t get walked as far but he still is a puppy at times The Medicam is fairly expensive but it is easier on the dog than surgery Hope this helps Jackie March 4, 2013 Metacam is a wonderful medication for arthritis and pain in dogs, but you can get it much cheaper if you ask your vet for the generic version Meloxicam. (Same thing as Mobic for humans). It is in tablet form, but depending on the dose you can spit one tablet in half, put it on your dog’s food, and save a lot of money. Erin Horner, DVM August 3, 2012 Hi Kim, I am so sorry to hear about Woody’s knee problems! Unfortunately, cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tears are not uncommon in Labs. It sounds like Woody may have a partial tear. Your veterinarian can check for this via x-rays to look for joint effusion (inflammation within the joint), as well as by checking for what is known as a “cranial drawer.” Cranial drawer allows us to know if the joint is stable or not by checking to see if we can move the joint in a way that the ligament usually prevents. If the joint is stable, meaning that Woody only has a partial tear, he may improve with rest and physical therapy. The good news is that his body can stabilize the joint in this way, however, the bad news is that most dogs with a partial tear will eventually tear the ligament completely, possibly with a meniscal tear, down the road. This is the reason that many veterinary surgeons will recommend surgery to repair the knee with even a partial tear. Surgery for a dog Woody’s size will likely mean a TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy), but some surgeons prefer the TTA (tibial tuberosity advancement). I would recommend speaking with your veterinarian about options. He or she may advise a surgery consult with a board certified veterinary surgeon. Please let me know if you have further questions! Steve August 5, 2012 It sounds like an ACL for sure,my lab got it two years ago..with high end dog food from the vet with glouchosime and some product called limpmussle worked awesome for me! sorry if the spelling is off lol kelly January 19, 2013 My 6 year old lab tore his ACL. after 2 opinions we decided to go ahead with the surgery. He did great . When you first pick them up from the vet its sad to see him like that but in no time at all he was back to his old self again. Good luck. Karen August 24, 2013 Hi. It is now 08.24.13 and I wondered how you made out. You may never see this, but I pray you will. I want to know how your fur friend made out with the brace. It looked well made and expensive. I am in this same place today and looking. If anyone wants to share I would appreciate it. Thank you. Karen Kelly October 12, 2013 I have a 7 yo chocolate lab who is having knee problems. I just had a thought, has anyone tried some sort of knee brace for their dog? I want to try different options before we jump into surgery. Michelle December 9, 2013 My lab Megan is 8years old now both cruciates went when she was about 2 years old we did restrict her walks for a while but in the endshe did need the op we have a wonderful vet who said he wouldn’t go for the TPLO method he referred to it as Totally Pointless Leg Operation he operated himself using fishing wire restricted walks for a while & loads of Hydrotherapy & seraquin ( joint supplement ) now you wouldn’t know she had ever had a problem. Good luck with your baby Elizabeth December 9, 2013 I have a 8 year old lab who just had Tplo surgery 1 month ago and in the process of recovering the acl on the other leg ruptured. We are having the other Tplo surgery in January once the other leg has more time to heal. Long recovery and kennel confinement is very hard for a lab but I had no other option. I’m glad I did it though. Also a very costly procedure Bob Romanas December 13, 2013 My Lab was 7 a great hunter. He developed a limp so I had a suggest the surgery where they cut the bone at the knee to change the angle. I was told it is common for Labs to have this. Then 2 titanium plates on each side of the bone are attached. He went in for surgery on a Thursday. Sat he just did not appear very well. At noon I called the Vet and told the person what was happening. I was told if the doctor thought it was serious he would call back. This was a Sat at 11am. I never got a call back. That nite I took him to an emergency vet hosp. He did not appear dehydrated but they injected fluids under the skin. His breathing was very shallow. This was midnight. I would take him into the vet in the am. He was dead when I woke at 6am. the Vet was a real Jerk. He gave my dog Previcox for pain. Upon further research this drug could be fatal. Just like Rymadil it’s a crap shoot. As all of you know it is a heartbreaker to lose your best friend and hunting buddy.