Strategies for a wounded Newf …

xena.jpgI’ve dreaded this day for a long time. Xena, the best dog I’ve every owned, came up lame while tormenting Gilligan in the lake on Saturday. A vet visit has confirmed that Xena suffered the equivalent of a human ACL injury in her hind knee. And I’m trying to decide how to proceed.

I’ve been here before. My childhood dog, Mitzie, suffered a similar injury that we never treated. She hobbled along pretty well for the rest of her life. And my cocker spaniel, the late, great Crystal, suffered the injury on both of her hind legs. I went the surgical route there. I worked on the first one but the second wasn’t as effective.

The vet suggested a consultation with a local veterinary surgeon who does TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osetotomy) surgeries, but I was a bit put off when the surgeon was pushing to schedule the consultation and the surgery on the same day. I told her I wanted just the consultation, then I started poking around on the Internet. It seems there are mixed opinions of the TPLO procedure, ranging from folks who had it done on their dogs and were thrilled to people who think it’s a largely unnecessary scam that vets use to rake in lots of cash.

Looking for perspective, I posted on Newf.net to see what that community had to say, and the consensus seems to be toward Conservative Management.That’s where I’m leaning right now, but I intend to go to the consultation with the surgeon anyway and ask a lot of questions. Complicating factors are Xena’s age (10 is pretty old for a Newf) and the waterfall of stairs that flows through our house and property.

If anyone out there has been through something similar, I’d appreciate your input.

7 replies on “Strategies for a wounded Newf …”

  1. Bob,
    Just read your note re: Xena and wanted to add something. When Mitzie got hurt, we did take her to a vet and she did have surgery. I’m not sure just what they did at that time but she was in a cast for 6 weeks. The vet did caution us that the surgery may not be effective but we wouldn’t know until after the cast came off. As you know, it was not a success and she hobbled around for her remaining years. After reading what your vet told you, I’m sure Mitz had the exact same injury. It occurred when she was running up from the woods while delivering newspapers with Jeff. Don’t know if this info will help you reach a decision or not but thought I’d let you know. Mom

  2. Hi Bob,
    So sorry about Xena. I don’t know anything about this surgery or injury. But my boy mutt has lots of leg/back problems (Arthritis, hip displaysia and bone spurs) We opted out of surgery for him and I started giving him these supplements:

    http://www.healthypetnet.com/HealthyPetNet/Products/Agility.aspx?realname=&cat=0&hdr=&Ath=False

    They worked for him, he started walking fine within a few days, and running agan. Climbing stairs that he wouldn’t touch the days prior.. Not sure it will help with ACL, but it could help her with the pain for her aging bones and tissue around the area. We’ve gone at least 3 more years since his original diagnosis and still all is well.

    Hope your Pup feels better soon, no matter what you decide.

  3. Thanks, Nita. I’m not sure if they’ll help with the ACL, but she’s going to need all the help she can get on her joints as she gets older. I was shifting her off the Prescription Diet dog food that contains the same supplements, but I’m clearly going to need to make sure they end up in her diet somehow. I’ll take a close look at these. My main concern is dosage. She’s big and probably would have to eat several a day for it to be effective. Might be better to just stay with the prescription food, but I’ll have to do the math.

  4. Give the princess warrior a special pat and scratch from me.

    These four-legged friends are such a joy, and such a worry, aren’t they? Every day I expect my Irish, red-headed, hot-tempered cat Maggie to get her head stuck in a drain, or something worse.

    These are such difficult decisions. Let us know what you decide, and how she’s doing.

  5. I think the most important factor is her age and whether she can recover from the surgery and be close to 100% of what she was. Based on a conversation with my veterinarian, I’m going to go ahead and give it a shot. She’s old for a Newf, but she’s in great shape other than the injury. I’m afraid if I don’t get the leg healed. the stress on her joints will drag her down more quickly. Keeping my fingers crossed …

  6. Hey Bob!
    I had that surgery done on both of my dog’s back legs. He was half newf! He was about 7 or 8 when he had the first surgery. Then about 10 for the second surgery. My vet here in knoxville did the surgery. Dr. Tom Bihl at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital. Both surgeries were a great success! If you haven’t had Zena’s surgery yet you should give him a call!

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