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Cruciate Ligament Surgery?!?!?

August 12th, 2005, 08:11 AM
I have a 4 year old Dogo Argentino (looks like a pit bull) by the name of Abby. She had surgery on a torn cruciate ligament on her left knee 2 months which cost quite a bit. She just recently tore the ligament in her other knee. I can't afford the surgery again, yet I don't want to have her put down. If I do get the other knee fixed what are the chances of her having hip problems or other joint problems? We are unsure of her lineage as I adopted her from the humane society when she was only 6 months old. Or does anyone know of a vet that could perform the surgery at a lower cost? Please HELP!!!! :(

August 12th, 2005, 08:34 AM
First let me start off by saying WELCOME! Dogo Argentinos are beautiful dogs!

My beagle tore her anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments approx 5 years ago. She too was about 4 at the time. It was not a cheap surgery back then so I can imagine how much it costs now.

Unfortunately, Abby will need to have the surgery done. Without it she will be in pain and it will put a lot of strain on her hips. I've known a dobe to have both knees done and she did great. Her exercise had to be strictly monitored as she was not allowed to do much running. My Misty is the same. Her exercise has to be monitored. She is not allowed to do a lot of running otherwise she will feel the pain later as she has arthritis.

If you are concerned about her hips, ask the vet to take an x-ray. They can determine if her hips are arthritic. Please don't let this stop you from helping her. My beagle has degenerative joint disease of the hip and knees (aka osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia). She is on supplements and with regular exercise and a careful diet, she is doing great.

I know that the surgery is expensive and the after care is intense. Trust me, I've been there too. I was just starting in my new job right after university. I had student loans to pay, car payments, etc. Then Misty's knee went. I had to put everything on a credit card and pay in installments.

You can ask your vet if you can arrange for a payment plan as you just had to pay for the first surgery. You can ask family and friends if they can help out. As a last resort, you could put it on a credit card and make payments that way. It would be a shame to put Abby down after having already gone through the surgery once and being so young with so much ahead of her.

August 12th, 2005, 10:27 AM
My senior dog came through this surgery with flying colours the leg was fine and he lived for many more years!! :D

Was your dog ever on prednisone?

Just a side note, you would WANT this surgery performed by a specialist IMHO because it's so intricate and detailed.

An ortho surgeon did my dogs leg and he recovered very well.

Try calling the VEC they are packed with specialists in there:
416 920 2002

The money is WELL worth it, even if you have to borrow!

August 12th, 2005, 10:55 AM
Daisy just had her other knee done 6 weeks ago. Part of the reason we did it was because of the joint problems she would have if we didn't. We noticed her hips were starting to bother her before the knee was done (initially is was thought to be soft-tissue damage). She's doing okay, still limping a little, but we have a hard time getting her to relax, especailly with a new baby. We also had her on glucosamine supplements, which helped. Don't bother with the doggy stuff. I gave her the same stuff I take for the gym, which is pure glucosamine, and about 1/3 cheaper. The vet also approved.

In the meantime, try to limit too much strain on the knee until you can afford it.

August 12th, 2005, 09:13 PM
This problem arises due to a congenatal structural problem - bad bone archetecture. If a dog has screwed up knees and it blows one out there is an 80% probability that the other will blow out.

There are a couple of very different surgical solutions for this problem. Search and read before you do it. The newer technique is very successful.

If this problem is not fixed properly the dog will live in constant low grade pain. Bad for the dog, and also results in a dog that is likely to bite sometime - think grumpy old man, always irritable.

You need to tell the breeder so they know they f*ed up.

You need to NOT breed the dog.

If you can't afford the surgery- probably $1500 or so, you should put the dog down so it doesn't have to live in chronic pain.

August 12th, 2005, 10:08 PM
db you are suggesting to put this dog to sleep because of cruciate ligament problems? The dog is from a humane society. Why would you make that suggestion?

Most of the time dogs with cruciate ligament tears have no pain at all just weakness in the stability of the leg.

Dogs can even last w/o the surgery but the longer it goes the more scar tissue the less chance of a great surgical recovery.

Take some time NOT lots to save up the money and do the surgery.

Did your dog ever take prednisone?

August 13th, 2005, 07:44 AM
if the the $ isn't there to fix it and the dog is in chronic pain, yes.

August 13th, 2005, 09:36 AM
What advice has your vet given you specific to your dog in terms of current and long term discomfort - both with surgery and without? With respect to a lower cost vet, that is a tough one. As Luba pointed out, you would want a specialist to perform the surgery and as with people, general vet practioners are now referring animals to specialists on a regular basis. The EVC on McMurrich that Luba referred to is excellent and is most likely where you would have the surgery performed - unless you went to Guelph. Guelph is definitely not less costly than a specialist in Toronto, particularly for emergency surgery at midnight - the EVC specialists require a 24 hour work-up - period. But you do have the 24 hours and Mississauga is closer than Guelph. I have seen pamphlets at the vet's specific to financing for medical procedures but have not reviewed them - might be worth a shot. I understand the surgery is expensive and would cause hardship, but if you have your 4 year old dog put to sleep and then eventually adopt another dog, who is to say what health problems this dog could suffer. Our Beagle who lived to be nearly 20 never had a vet bill beyond his annual check-ups and vaccines. We really have made up for that since.

August 13th, 2005, 10:10 AM
IF the dog is in pain (which I doubt from cruciate ligament troubles) then pain can be managed with medication until surgery is performed.

There is NO NEED to have your dog PTS!!!

doggy lover
August 13th, 2005, 08:22 PM
I'd talk to your vet about a payment program, mine would do it for me and had offered with my last dog when he had a few different surgeries. Just to pts you dog will run a few hundred dollars, so take that into consideration about the cost. I'm not familiar about this surgery but if it can wait a little while I'd wait and save the money. My last dog I bought for $50 and he cost me about $5000 in his lifetime not including reg vet checks and food, but I would have paid that much again to have him still. But cancer took him from me :angel:

August 14th, 2005, 06:37 PM
Thanks for everyone's advice and input it's helped me out a lot. No she's never been on Prednisone, just Metacam, which didn't seem to do much but make her really lethargic. With the help of some good friends who love Abby as much as I do I will be going ahead with the surgery. What price tag can you really put on a best friend?!?! I can't imagine being without her after promising when I adopted her that I'd protect her from anything!! :pawprint:
I've asked my vet for a payment plan as doggy lover suggested and he's agreed to it so that makes things easier.

August 15th, 2005, 05:46 AM
My friends lab has had both knees done. Although not perfect she is much better than prior to the surgeries.

In June 2004 a co-worker had her lab done with the new surgery. It was extremely expensive. I believe in the area of $2500.00. My co-worker was never completely satisfied with the surgery. This past June, one year after the surgery the dogs leg gave out. Combined with arthritis in the front legs and the other back leg showing signs of needing surgery she decided the most ethical thing to do was put her dog to sleep. He was no longer able to walk. Her vet agreed that it was the most humane thing to do. She was heartbroken.

Keep in mind that although there are many success stories there are some that are not succesful.

August 15th, 2005, 08:49 AM
We also use Aspirin with Daisy, and that seems to help. The biggest problem is she is so hyper, and we have a hard time getting her to not run or jump.

August 15th, 2005, 10:52 AM
I'm really glad that you decided to go through with it and will have the surgery performed. It's nice that your vet has agreed to a payment plan. This surgery is usually performed by a specialist and not your regular vet practitioner. When my dog required the surgery, it was performed at her regular vet's office, but the specialist came there to do the surgery. I didn't have to take her to his office.

August 16th, 2005, 04:56 PM
My vet did the first surgery on Abby's knee and it healed extremely well, so I'm going to trust him with the second one. I've heard of some failed as well as success stories, at least I'll know though that at least I tried :) Thanks again everyone!! :D