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Thread: ACL issues...need experienced advice

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    Drool Catcher Gfitz911's Avatar
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    Default ACL issues...need experienced advice

    For the past 3-4 weeks, Koozer has been limping (rear left leg). This limp has not impaired his ability (or desire) to play, eat, do all things normally. Aside from the limp, he is perfectly healthy and normal. Since the limp wasn't going away, we decided it was time for a visit to the vet. Our vet is a very experienced Bulldog vet. During the exam, Koozer was very reactive to his kneecap being manipulated. He took x-rays, and actually found no signs of a completely severed ACL, but the vet was convinced he has a partial ACL tear (though you could not see that on the x-ray). The weird thing is, the X-ray shows that both knees look identical! The vet said that if he didn't know which leg Koozer was limping on, he wouldn't be able to tell based on the x-rays. Still, the vet is recommending a TPLO surgery for the left leg.

    So hubby and I are at a loss of what to do. If there are no DEFINITIVE signs Koozer needs surgery, then why would we do it (other than a tender kneecap and a bulldog vet's experience)? Is is possible that something else could be the problem? So we decided that we are putting Koozer on a severe restriction (no walks, no horse play, no fetch, etc.) and see if he does better. He is also on Metacam for pain and inflammation. We will be able to get him into surgery in a few weeks, but are we making the right decision on holding off? Or do we trust the expert? Also, they do stem cell therapy there, but the vet recommended the therapy with the surgery. Anyone have ideas of doing the stem cell therapy without the surgery...is that an option? I'm so stressed!!!! Any help or advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Gfitz911 View Post
    For the past 3-4 weeks, Koozer has been limping (rear left leg). This limp has not impaired his ability (or desire) to play, eat, do all things normally. Aside from the limp, he is perfectly healthy and normal. Since the limp wasn't going away, we decided it was time for a visit to the vet. Our vet is a very experienced Bulldog vet. During the exam, Koozer was very reactive to his kneecap being manipulated. He took x-rays, and actually found no signs of a completely severed ACL, but the vet was convinced he has a partial ACL tear (though you could not see that on the x-ray). The weird thing is, the X-ray shows that both knees look identical! The vet said that if he didn't know which leg Koozer was limping on, he wouldn't be able to tell based on the x-rays. Still, the vet is recommending a TPLO surgery for the left leg.

    So hubby and I are at a loss of what to do. If there are no DEFINITIVE signs Koozer needs surgery, then why would we do it (other than a tender kneecap and a bulldog vet's experience)? Is is possible that something else could be the problem? So we decided that we are putting Koozer on a severe restriction (no walks, no horse play, no fetch, etc.) and see if he does better. He is also on Metacam for pain and inflammation. We will be able to get him into surgery in a few weeks, but are we making the right decision on holding off? Or do we trust the expert? Also, they do stem cell therapy there, but the vet recommended the therapy with the surgery. Anyone have ideas of doing the stem cell therapy without the surgery...is that an option? I'm so stressed!!!! Any help or advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
    lking wel

    Good evening, First, I am sorry that Koozer is not well. Second, soft tissue (i.e. ligaments) will not show up on an xray. An MRI would be more definitive; however, more costly. It is good that you have restricted Koozer's activity and anti-inflammatorys will help in the short run but will not fix the problem in dogs that are more than 20-30 lbs if it is an ACL tear or rupture. I will tag you to a couple of posts. Third, I have not heard of stem cell research in dogs so I am not sure what the vet is getting at. I will tag a few members of the forum that have gone through this with their loved ones. I do empathize what you are going through. @2BullyMama @Izzy's Mom @bullmama.

  3. #3
    Drool Catcher Gfitz911's Avatar
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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Thanks. I know the stem cell is cutting edge, and the vet suggests it speeds up the recovery process and may help with future problems on the right knee, down the road. I appreciate the tags to the other threads. Sounds like I am definitely not alone in this!

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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Gfitz911 View Post
    For the past 3-4 weeks, Koozer has been limping (rear left leg). This limp has not impaired his ability (or desire) to play, eat, do all things normally. Aside from the limp, he is perfectly healthy and normal. Since the limp wasn't going away, we decided it was time for a visit to the vet. Our vet is a very experienced Bulldog vet. During the exam, Koozer was very reactive to his kneecap being manipulated. He took x-rays, and actually found no signs of a completely severed ACL, but the vet was convinced he has a partial ACL tear (though you could not see that on the x-ray). The weird thing is, the X-ray shows that both knees look identical! The vet said that if he didn't know which leg Koozer was limping on, he wouldn't be able to tell based on the x-rays. Still, the vet is recommending a TPLO surgery for the left leg.

    So hubby and I are at a loss of what to do. If there are no DEFINITIVE signs Koozer needs surgery, then why would we do it (other than a tender kneecap and a bulldog vet's experience)? Is is possible that something else could be the problem? So we decided that we are putting Koozer on a severe restriction (no walks, no horse play, no fetch, etc.) and see if he does better. He is also on Metacam for pain and inflammation. We will be able to get him into surgery in a few weeks, but are we making the right decision on holding off? Or do we trust the expert? Also, they do stem cell therapy there, but the vet recommended the therapy with the surgery. Anyone have ideas of doing the stem cell therapy without the surgery...is that an option? I'm so stressed!!!! Any help or advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

    We did both ACL repair, a replacement and stem cell with Nitschke. The repair snapped about 2 months after surgery and we then did the cadaver replacement which went well. Then in 2011 we opted to do stem cell with him because the arthritis was getting worse in both his knees and starting in his hips. The great thing with stem cell is you can freeze what is not used and the company will store it for you for as long as you want... i think the 1 yr storage is free and then a small fee every year after that. When we did the stem cell on Nitschke, recovery was about 6 wks and then he was like a puppy again, running,playing jumping.. just a very happy boy.

    Knowing all I do now and having gone through both ACL and stem cell... I would totally do the stem cell again.. worth every penny
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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    @Gfitz911 I have seen you have been through the various threads. I hope the information has helped. Thank you @2BullyMama for your insight...I was not aware of the stem cell procedure. What was the approximate cost of the stem cell procedure.

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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Quote Originally Posted by rjisaterp View Post
    @Gfitz911 I have seen you have been through the various threads. I hope the information has helped. Thank you @2BullyMama for your insight...I was not aware of the stem cell procedure. What was the approximate cost of the stem cell procedure.
    $2800 for everything... In hospital for two days, stem cell processing, surgery for harvest of cells and the injection of cells to the knees and hips
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    Doggie Boutique Owner Izzy's Mom's Avatar
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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    @Gfitz911 I went through 3 ACL surgeries but I opted (or should I say our vet recommended) the most simple surgery since Izzy is a small bully (40 lbs). We did the ligament thread where they reinforce the ligament with a "fish line".... no metal plates or cut bones. Faster recovery and less evasive. Never heard about the stem cell but will look more into because it sounds interesting.

    SO did your vet do the "drawer test" where if the knees slide like a drawer means that the ligament is ruptured? That's the test our vet did on Izzy... I also trust my vet and he has tons of bulldog experience that I didn't feel the need to look for a second opinion. Were you referred to this vet?

    And just like you described with Koozer, they will act normal, eat, play and limp from time to time. Restricting movement is very important to avoid any damage to the other leg since they tend to compensate. Also keep him lean.... the more weight makes it harder on them. Izzy was at 48lbs when she had the first procedure and now I keep her at 40lbs. Lean and healthy!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by 2BullyMama View Post
    $2800 for everything... In hospital for two days, stem cell processing, surgery for harvest of cells and the injection of cells to the knees and hips
    does your insurance covers the stem cell cost?

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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy's Mom View Post
    does your insurance covers the stem cell cost?
    Do not have insurance... we have a credit card just for the pups so, I am not sure if insurance covers it. It may be too new of a process for them to cover, but you should definitely ask.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
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  9. #9
    Doggie Boutique Owner Izzy's Mom's Avatar
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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Quote Originally Posted by 2BullyMama View Post
    Do not have insurance... we have a credit card just for the pups so, I am not sure if insurance covers it. It may be too new of a process for them to cover, but you should definitely ask.
    I certainly will... I have Trupanion and they were great covering both surgeries. They paid 90% of the cost and I paid the deductible on each surgery ($150) plus 10%. So in the end wasn't that bad... but they wouldn't cover the water therapy part.

    My sunshine doesn’t come from the skies,
    It comes from the love in my dog’s eyes.

  10. #10
    I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog? I am an EBN Reporter
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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy's Mom View Post
    I certainly will... I have Trupanion and they were great covering both surgeries. They paid 90% of the cost and I paid the deductible on each surgery ($150) plus 10%. So in the end wasn't that bad... but they wouldn't cover the water therapy part.
    BEST OF LUCK! keep us posted on how she is doing.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
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    e.

    Nitschke (2004-2011) and Banks (2005-2014) -- My angels
    Thank you for all the love, fun and teachings




  11. #11
    Drool Catcher Gfitz911's Avatar
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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy's Mom View Post
    @Gfitz911 I went through 3 ACL surgeries but I opted (or should I say our vet recommended) the most simple surgery since Izzy is a small bully (40 lbs). We did the ligament thread where they reinforce the ligament with a "fish line".... no metal plates or cut bones. Faster recovery and less evasive. Never heard about the stem cell but will look more into because it sounds interesting.

    SO did your vet do the "drawer test" where if the knees slide like a drawer means that the ligament is ruptured? That's the test our vet did on Izzy... I also trust my vet and he has tons of bulldog experience that I didn't feel the need to look for a second opinion. Were you referred to this vet?

    And just like you described with Koozer, they will act normal, eat, play and limp from time to time. Restricting movement is very important to avoid any damage to the other leg since they tend to compensate. Also keep him lean.... the more weight makes it harder on them. Izzy was at 48lbs when she had the first procedure and now I keep her at 40lbs. Lean and healthy!

    - - - Updated - - -



    does your insurance covers the stem cell cost?

    He did not do the drawer test because his ACL is fully ruptured. This is why we decided to hold off on the surgery for a little while, to make sure it wasn't something else. He has not gotten better, so it is indeed the ACL. Because Koozer is still young, the vet is recommending the TPLO because that is the best surgery for active dogs. The cut bone will reposition the knee to prevent further injury. The vet is our regular vet and we trust him (thank goodness). There is a orthopedic surgeon that comes into the office to do the surgery, and he is VERY experienced with the TPLO surgery. I'm super nervous and have not been sleeping since we decided to have the surgery. Intellectually I know it's the best option, I'm just so scared to see my baby in pain. Koozer is a very healthy weight (60 pounds) and is rather tall for a bulldog. We keep him lean just so he wouldn't have joint problems down the road (that clearly didn't help this time). Thanks for all the advice and info. BTW, as far as we can tell, yes insurance covers the stem cell therapy. If not, our vet will work it in somehow, he says

  12. #12
    Drool Catcher Gfitz911's Avatar
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    Default Re: ACL issues...need experienced advice

    Our insurance is Pet's Best, if anyone cares.

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