cranial cruciate ligament rupture - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Smile cranial cruciate ligament rupture

Hello everyone, am new to the forum and have never posted but am hoping to hear from others who have gone through what we currently are. My dog Goulash ruptured his ccl and we are considering our options. Has anyone ever gone through this and what path did you take? we were advised both surgery and conservative treatment. Currently we are opting for the conservative treatment and Goulash is on cage rest and an anti inflammatory. Has anyone had success with this treatment? six weeks of cage rest is a long time. But with surgery he would need six weeks of cage rest too. Any and all knowledge and advice is truly appreciated. Thanks very much.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 05:06 PM
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I do know a couple of dogs who have done it, but they were large dogs. In both cases, the owners opted for the surgery, but, again, I'm not sure whether the size of the dog played a factor in that decision. Fortunately, both dogs are fully sound and competing in Rally and Obedience again, though one competes with a lowered jump height.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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thanks very much. I really appreciate the information.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 09:12 AM
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Clover has had both of his CCLs repaired.

I tried conservative therapy for the first knee - crate rest and anti-inflammatories. After a month I saw absolutely no improvement and he had a "traditional" repair. Seven months later he ruptured the second knee and he had surgery within a week.

The first knee was over 2 years ago and the second will be 2 years in July. Even though Clover is older (almost 15) he runs, jumps on the sofa, dances on his hind legs. Well before the surgery, he'd stopped standing on his hind legs; obviously that knee bugged him for awhile. I suspect he partially tore it in agility years before, and then finally tore it through.

Every once in awhile, usually after an extra active day, Clover limps a bit on the knee I waited to do surgery on - the vet says it seems to have developed more arthritis. The other one is perfect.

I spoke with two three vets about Clover's knee. My general practitioner vet felt that his knee was unstable enough that he really did need surgery. She recommended an orthopedic surgeon, and he wanted to do a TPLO (a more invasive, more expensive option is more akin to a knee replacement) and would "settle" for a traditional repair. I recalled my old vet (I moved but he was still only a little over an hour away) did surgeries even though he was a GP. He also recommended surgery, but recommended a traditional repair (basically string some sutures to stabilize the knee while the body heals around it and stabilizes it). He had been doing 1-3 of these a week for 20 years. He felt that TPLOs were better suited for larger dogs, or those who were truly professional athletes (agility trials every weekend vs. trials every few weeks).

I opted for the traditional with my old vet, as this was the option I felt most comfortable with. Additionally, my GP vet quoted at $1000-1500 and the orthopedic guy quoted $1500-2000 for the SAME surgery. Although I would have paid more if I thought I was getting a better care at the orthopedic, I DO think it's worth talking to a few vets and getting a few quotes.

Although I'm never, ever one to rush into surgery, my vet made the point: you can do six weeks of rest, have it not work and need surgery, then do six MORE weeks of rest, at which point your dog is confined for three months.

Clover absolutely needed surgery both times (surgeon said his CCLs had simply dissolved) and is doing great. I blogged about his second surgery, you can start here and read on:

No matter what you decide, I wish you a lot of luck! I'm not on this forum very often but feel free to email me if you have more questions. My email is my user name (Narwyn) at

~Kat, Clover, CDX RN NA NAJ, & AKC/UKC Ch. William


People in the dog show world know me as Karen, but the rest of the world knows me & I will introduce myself as Kat... I've been showing dogs longer than I've had the nickname, and the nickname is not new!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 09:37 AM
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I have a friend with a hav who did the surgery and it went well, the vet really thought it was better option and encouraged them to do so. I suppose every case is different and maybe a 2nd opinion, if it were me, I would probably opt for the conservative way first, like Narwyn, and if that didn't help..I"d step up to surgery.

Sorry to hear your baby is hurt

and to the forum!

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 08:50 PM
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I don't know if this is relevant or helpful, but my 14 year-old lab torn her CCL several years ago, just walking one step into the house. It could not be corrected with surgery, as she had congestive heart failure (under treatment) and could not have surgery. At her age, our vet treated her pain and helped us understand that scar tissue would form around her knee and support her leg. And it did. Believe me, if we could have done surgery, we would have. But she was not in pain and lived for another 2 years with good quality of life.

Your situation is probably different, but wanted to share ours. If it were me, I would always try conservative at first, but would not hesitate to get her the care she needs as necessary.

As it turned out, two years after her knee blew, she developed a bad tooth abcess and had to have anesthia to treat it. It was one of the sadness days of my life when my vet called to say they lost her on the table. It's still hard to talk about it, thank goodness our hav puppy Gracie was in our lives to ease the pain of losing our sweet Belle.

Good luck with your baby!

Leslie, Mom to Gracie (Noblegold Saving Grace) and Angie the HavaShih Rescue

Last edited by Lsprick; 02-12-2012 at 08:52 PM.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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thank you all so much

I want to thank you all so much for the advice and kind words! I hate to try conservative therapy for six weeks then have the surgery and have him in the kennel another six but hate to see him have surgery. It is a hard decision to make and I am hoping right now that conservative works. He is getting antsy already in the kennel and we are on day 3 of 6 weeks. My vet offered to give him a sedative, the kind that they give dogs when there is a thunderstorm, but would hate to see him all drugged up!! such a hard thing to go through, poor baby!! he has no idea what's going on!! thanks for all of your wonderful advice and kind words again!!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-13-2012, 10:34 AM
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Max tore his CCL and we are off to the the surgeon today.
I can't believe we have to go back there after what he has been
through in the last nine months, 2 operations for thyroid cancer.
He is feeling great and no more tumors yet.
I will let you know what direction we will take.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-13-2012, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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thank you very much...looking forward to getting a 'second opinion' from you and your vet! so very sorry for what you and Max have already been through.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-13-2012, 01:42 PM
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My Siberian Husky injured her cruciate ligament running on an Oregon Beach. We saw her 3-leg walking and immediately rushed her to a vet in Portland who gave us a tentative diagnosis but said we needed to see our regular vet and then get xrays from an orthopedic surgeon. Our regular vet tried conservative treatment with rimadyl or deramaxx for 6 months. For us this was a big mistake. When she eventually did have surgery (TPLO--expensive and hard on dog but no real good option for a Husky), the ligament was torn through. We used a local surgeon who had done about 100 TPLO surgeries (self-reported to us). The recovery was hard and long. Seven month after that surgery her left leg went. We didn't mess around that time. We took her to the Animal Specialty Hospital in Maitland Florida where TPLO's were done daily and had been for years. (This surgery requires a metal plate inserted for big dogs. I believe small dogs can have a much less invasive surgery.) I was amazed by the comparison in recovery time--about 1/4 to 1/3 what it had been for the first TPLO. Also, by waiting, the right leg (done after waiting for 6 months) developed much worse arthritis than the left leg. I wish I had known...

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