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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17905
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hi, I have a 2 year old Newfoundland who is huge 180lbs to

Customer Question

Hi, I have a 2 year old Newfoundland who is huge 180lbs to be accurate. Last week I came home to her limping in the evening and then the following morning not putting any weight on her back left leg. After x-rays my vet concluded there were problems with both cruciate ligaments, the left being the worst. He suggested TPLO on both legs and at the same time? I cannot understand how she will be able to walk after surgery and am extremely concerned the long term affects? She is on a diet and has always been a very big dog even as a puppy, her paws and frame are massive. Three days after this diagnosis and on Metacam, you would not know anything was wrong. Could metacam really be that strong? I have just watched her run up the garden. Yours views would be greatly appreciated thanks Debbie
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 4 years ago.
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Georgie came up suddenly lame in her left rear leg and that her veterinarian diagnosed cruciate ligament disease in both rear legs.

If her cruciate ligaments were completely torn then even 3 days of metacam should not have led to her being able to move as if there were nothing wrong. However if they are partially torn then that would make sense, as metacam would relieve her pain and inflammation and get her feeling well enough to try and move normally. But she should be on restricted activity as even if she feels better if she is too active she could go from a partial tear to a complete tear, and then she would be very uncomfortable and lame. Metacam might still help her feel better then, but she would not be able get around well because the knee becomes completely unstable.

She won't be able to walk after surgery if both rear legs are done at the same time for several days. She will need help getting up and out to eliminate. The positives to having surgery done on both legs at the same time is that will keep her from being too active after surgery, which can cause problems with healing post-operatively, and then she only needs to go through recovery and rehabilitation once. Dogs that tear or rupture one cruciate ligament are much more likely to tear the other, because they put more stress on strain on the "good leg" and they already have weakness in their conformation and ligaments to start. Given all these reasons if we see problems with both rear legs we will often do both surgeries at once.

Of course the down side in a dog her size is having to get her up and support her to get up and out to eliminate. If she has surgery I recommend she stay hospitalized until she has learned to get herself up and around enough to get out and eliminate.

I do recommend that you seek a second opinion examination and evaluation from a veterinary orthopedic surgeon. Some general practitioners are very comfortable performing cruciate surgeries but if she were my pup I would want someone that has done hundreds of surgeries and can do the best procedure for her needs to evaluate her and at least give their opinion. You may or may not choose to have them perform the surgery but at least you will feel that the best thing is being done for her.

All dogs with cruciate ligament injuries will develop arthritis, whether they have surgery or not. Surgery is the best way of delaying
arthritis formation and lessening the severity in the long run.
In the meantime for joint pain and inflammation I do recommend using a combination of a glucosamine/chondroitin product (examples are Dasuquin or Cosequin) and an omega 3 fatty acid (like 3V Caps or Derm Caps). I recommend an omega 3 fatty acid dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give her 10mg to 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example a 180 pound dog could take 1800mg to 3600mg of EPA per day. Omega 3's and glucosamine/chondroitins work synergistically and improve cartilage health and joint fluid quality and quantity as well as reducing inflammation. They can take several weeks to see full improvement but some dogs do very well with them alone. They are available over the counter.

Another option is a product called Duralactin. This is an anti-inflammatory product derived from milk proteins and it also has omega 3 fatty acids incorporated into it which can be very helpful. See this link for further information:

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.