Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Ortho Adventures

As some of you may recall, a couple of months ago, I reported that Lois was having some hind leg issues.  Our vet didn't know what was wrong so we consulted with an orthopedic veterinarian.  Diagnosis: torn cruciate ligament or ACL. ( Orthopedic Adventures http://petsandothercritters.blogspot.com/2011/10/orthopedic-adventures.html).  Treatment recommended by this orthopedic specialist was -gasp- cut the bones in Lois's leg then screw them back together at a new improved angle! 

Hating that idea, I sought another.  Meanwhile, Lois favored that left hind leg more and more. Then I learned about an ACL treatment called Tightrope.

This is a much less extreme and invasive procedure.  Basically two sets of two small holes are drilled into the bone near the knee joint through which a sturdy cord is threaded.  This cord supports the joint; doing the job a fully functioning cruciate ligament does.  I made an appointment with Dr Lanier to determine if this was an appropriate plan for Lois.

Dr L examined Lois and said he wasn't so sure it was an ACL tear.  He couldn't feel the "shelf" you see.  Physical manipulation of a joint sans intact ACL acts differently than a normal joint.  A torn ACL creates an abnormal space or shelf. When the dog is fighting the manipulation it is difficult to feel the shelf.

We agreed that we'd sedate Lois so Dr Lanier could be sure of the diagnosis.  If he found a shelf, he would perform the Tightrope. 

Guess what?  No shelf.  No torn ACL.  It turns out that Lois has arthritis!  She has been favoring the left leg because there is a chunk of calcium in her knee that hurts when she moves it.

Dr. L gave Lois an injection of an anti inflammatory directly into the joint.  He also prescribed some anti inflammatory medication to be taken orally. In addition, Lois has had three Laser treatments and will have three more in the next week.  

Lois has improved enormously.  She is back to her normal play routine.  (We had stopped the fun for several weeks to rest the allegedly torn ligament). Lois runs and jumps with ease and glee.  There is no sign of strain or pain in her leg anymore.

Yep.  Say it with me...Wow!

Just imagine if we had proceeded with the bone cutting plan.  I try not to think about it too often, for that thought is an ipecac.

Lois will be seven next month.  That's middle aged for a big dog.   She may need anti inflammatory medication in the future and perhaps some more Laser therapy.  We will manage her arthritis. Being a middle aged gal myself, I will share my Glucosamine Chondroiton suppliments with Lois.  Our exercise regimen will continue too.

I will be forever grateful to Dr Lanier. 


  1. Ah, I'm so glad Lois didn't have to go for those "extreme" operations. I guess you'll both have a happier New Year!

  2. There is great joy in seeing your comments above, especially the run and play part.
    Richard lanier DVM

  3. A good vet is worth his/her weight in gold!

    When my bird Sam was so ill, we were blessed with a truly wonderful avian vet who couldn't save him, but treated him with great tenderness and helped us to make his last days as pain-free as possible so he could die at home. Sam died in my lap...at home, where he was happiest and most comfortable.