Saturday, December 21, 2013

TTA Knee Surgery: 1 Year Later

Wow. Time really has gotten away from me. I can't believe I haven't posted at all in the last 2 months. Life has been good though...lots of hiking and lots of letting the dogs just run, run, run.

I've recently seen a bit of extra traffic on previous posts about Holly's knee surgery, so I thought I would give a quick update on the results.

It's been a full year since Holly underwent knee surgery last December and I am happy to report that her recovery has been 100% successful.

To recap, Holly had been having on again, off again issues with her back and groin on the right side pretty much all of 2012. The physical therapist warned me that reoccurring groin issues are often a sign of knee instability. So I had her knee thoroughly checked out but it didn't reveal anything concerning. However, Holly's PT was right, and around Halloween 2012, she totally tore her right knee.

I did a grotesque amount of research, asked a thousand and one questions, and got 3 different opinions before deciding upon having a TTA done. I was terrified about doing this 'cutting the bone' option, but all other methods I researched didn't have a good success rate for a dog of Holly's history, level of activity and with a propensity for trying to kill herself.

She had some minor problems with recovery. I discovered she could lick her incision while wearing BOTH a cone and a basket muzzle. So she wore her ice pack stocking for the whole of her 3 month recovery and that ended the licking.

She threw out her sacrum around week 8, which was really painful for her. We also discovered she has spondylosis in 3 places along her spine.

But around 4-5 months after surgery, she no longer seemed to need chiro or acupuncture. And aside from the issue with her sacrum, she was never lame throughout the entire healing process. So I finally gave up 'protecting' her and let her be a dog again.

Throughout the summer we walked, hiked, swam, played and didn't bother her with any real training. We had fun with backyard agility and treibball, and I created some new retrieve games that she loves. She has gained all her muscle back and has remained totally sound.

Knowing what I know now (you know, hind-sight and all that), I would still make the same choices for her again. The only thing I would change is to have done more hip and back x-rays pre-surgery...had I done so I would have found her spondylosis sooner.

As a side note, this summer I worked very hard on Holly's's something I've had trouble with in the past with her. But...I worked hard and it has been rock solid of late. As a result, she's has spent most of the last 7 months having fun off leash. The whistle you hear is what I use as their emergency recall (I just use my fingers to whistle)...


Muttsandaklutz said...

Welcome back! So happy to hear that Holly's surgery was such a success. It's amazing what can be done nowadays.

Walter is a terrible open-wound-licker too -- he has a skin infection on his outer hip area at the moment, and he can still lick at it with the cone on, so he is forced to wear pants all day long -- looks ridiculous but it works! :-)

What gorgeous, gorgeous scenery you guys have to practice your recalls in -- so jealous!!

Kim said...


I'll bet Walter looks super cute in his pants ;)

The place in the video is the ONLY flat space in my whole's a surprisingly pretty spot beneath our large reservoir dam.