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ACL Repair for dogs in the dallas-fort worth area

At Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital, we are proud to acknowledge our practice owner, Dr. Wesley Taylor, as one of the few veterinarians in McKinney who perform ACL/CCL repair surgeries for dogs, including TPLO surgery.

Clients in need of canine knee surgeries, including ACL and TPLO surgeries, are commonly referred to external veterinary surgeons. At Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital, we offer ACL surgeries in McKinney, TX, without the expense of traveling to an external veterinary surgeon or specialty facility. We also include physical therapy and follow-up exams in our surgery fees to create a true partnership between the client and the doctor for the postoperative phase of care.

Our high standards in veterinary medicine, combined with Dr. Taylor’s advanced training and unique experience, ensure our patients are in safe hands before, during, and after pet surgery. Dr. Taylor and our team at Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital have successfully completed hundreds of these canine orthopedic surgeries. They are happy to provide high-quality care and peace of mind deserved by both our clients and their pets. Our hospital has been regularly recognized in our area for client satisfaction and clinical care.

If you are interested in a surgical estimate, we invite you to schedule an examination by giving us a call.

About ACL Repair

ACL surgery is a type of canine knee surgery. The anterior cruciate ligament, more commonly referred to as the ACL (technically known as the cranial cruciate ligament or CCL in dogs), is one of the main ligaments that connect the tibia, or the lower leg bone, to the femur, or the upper leg bone. ACL tears in dogs are very common. In fact, it is estimated that about 85% of orthopedic surgeries performed on dogs are ACL repairs.

The ACL specifically provides a counter-force to prevent the lower end of the femur from slipping backwards off the top of the tibia. Damaging the ACL causes a loss of front-to-back stability between the upper and lower bones of the leg (femur and tibia). Therefore, if the ACL is torn, it can severely impact mobility. In some cases, even walking becomes very difficult or almost impossible, in addition to very painful.

ACL tears in dogs tend to happen due to chronic biomechanical stress on the joint; unlike humans, who tend to tear their ACLs because of acute trauma, often due to athletic injury. If your dog has the beginnings of an ACL tear, it will inevitably continue to deteriorate because of the continued stress. This is an important aspect of canine ACL damage, because it means that unless the ACL is repaired, their mobility and quality of life will inevitably suffer as the condition worsens.

Warning: About 50% of dogs will tear their second ACL (in the other knee) at some point after tearing the first. This is true regardless of whether or not we repair the first knee, however, some veterinarians believe that repairing and rehabilitating the first knee can improve the chance of whether the second knee gets injured.

ACL injuries can have a variety of symptoms, which range from subtle lameness or swelling to complete avoidance of bearing weight on the leg with the injured knee. The degree to which the condition is expressed is related to how severe the tear is. A telltale sign of an ACL tear may be clear when the dog is sitting: they will stick the injured leg out to the side, however this is not a 100% diagnostic sign.

Click here to learn more about Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease. 

If you believe your animal has an ACL injury or needs ACL surgery, call us for an examination at 214.726.0838.

ACL Repair Treatment Options

At Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital, we are highly trained to perform a modern variation of ECR surgery, as well as TPLO and other surgical approaches, to maximize treatment outcomes in our patients. Each surgical procedure comes with its own advantages and risks.

Extracapsular Repair Surgery (ECR)
There are several methods to address a torn cruciate ligament, but the most common is extracapsular repair surgery (ECR). Extracapsular repair surgery is one of the most documented and successful techniques for ACL repair in dogs.

ECR surgery is a common option due to its simplicity, cost effectiveness, and minimal bone and joint trauma. The extracapsular procedure focuses on the stabilization and correction by placing an artificial ligament below the skin and fascia, but outside of the joint. Depending on your veterinarian’s recommendations, ECR surgery will require a lateral suture surgery (a Tightrope is one patented type of extracapsular repair). Extracapsular repair surgery is known to have a low complication rate and typically yields successful results.

Immediately after surgery here at Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital, a 3M Soft Case will be placed on the knee to reduce inflammation, support the affected leg, and assist with physical therapy and rehabilitation. The cast typically stays on for approximately 4-12 weeks, which depends on the success of the recovery process. Keep in mind, every pet heals differently. When the cast is removed, the sutures below the cast will be removed as well.

Your pet may go home with an e-collar to prevent damage to the cast and the incision. Please, keep the e-collar on to prevent delayed recovery or further injury. Continue reading to learn more about the recovery process.

Tibial-Plateau-Leveling-Osteotomy, or TPLO Surgery
In addition to the extracapsular suture repair treatment method, there are several other methods to address a torn cruciate ligament, including procedures such as tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) and TPLO surgery, which stands for tibial-plateau-leveling-osteotomy. This surgery essentially levels the knee joint to minimize forces that cause the femur to slip backwards on the tibia (thereby replacing the function of the ACL). The TPLO procedure involves inserting a bone plate and screws into the upper tibia. TPLO surgery aims to eliminate the angle of the tibial plateau, which will prevent abnormal motion and ultimately restore stability for the knee joint. Commonly, animals are able to bear weight faster on the leg after TPLO surgery, compared to ECR surgery.

Historically, TPLO surgery has been chosen for large, active, younger dogs, although in recent years the veterinary community has seen success in using the TPLO procedure on small to medium-sized breeds as well. TPLO surgery may also be considered for dogs with steep tibial slopes or when other types of surgical stabilization have failed, such as the extracapsular repair surgery, as mentioned above.

Post surgery, TPLO procedures typically require 8-12 weeks to heal. During this period, it is recommended to restrict activity in order to not cause complications to the fixation. The patient should be confined for the majority of the recovery period (small room or a run) and includes leash walks only, no playing, jumping or climbing. If not confined appropriately during the recovery period, implant failure or loss of rotation can occur, causing pain and further issues for the patient.

TPLO is typically more expensive than extracapsular repair procedure, but our ability to capture efficiency and minimize preoperative costs enables us to offer this critical procedure at a better cost profile than most specialty surgical facilities. Additionally, at Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital, the veterinary surgical staff and postoperative care staff are one and the same, so you and your dog will not be handed off from general practitioner to surgeon and back again. Everything including preoperative diagnostics, surgery, post-operative hospitalization and follow-up care are provided here in our McKinney hospital.

Just like for an extracapsular repair, physical therapy and medication will be recommended by our vet staff to ensure a successful healing process. A Highlands-Eldorado veterinarian will discuss the best options for your pet with you taking into account their age, size, weight, and the severity of the injury.

TPLO Treatment Options

Postoperative Recovery

Follow-up visits are crucial to the recovery process. We need to see your pet weekly to evaluate the cast and assess healing. We may make adjustments to the cast based on how the pet is walking and using the leg, and therapy plans will be updated each week based on progress. This is important because it encourages the pet to use the leg more versus relying on the cast for stability.

Follow-up visits are all included in the cost of the surgery, so please do not hesitate to call us! If your pet is skipping or refusing to use the leg we need to see him or her within 24 hours. There could be something wrong that is causing the pain. Following our instructions will make your pet’s recovery quicker and hopefully uneventful!

The soft cast must remain dry and clean, as moisture can damage the integrity of the cast, interfere with the rehabilitation process, and/or irritate the skin. We will send home a boot for your pet to wear every time he or she goes outside. If your dog is constantly licking the cast, keep the boot on full time.

Physical therapy begins the day after surgery to promote accelerated healing in the soft tissue surrounding the knee, regain muscle memory, build strong muscles, and to help us identify potential issues immediately. Physical therapy is essential to the healing process. Make sure your pet is fed, has had play time, and urinated and defecated prior to physical therapy visits. This way, they are focused and will get all of the benefits from the session.

Click here to learn more about the post-operative recovery process.

Postoperative Recovery - Ace

Postoperative Recovery - Buddy

Postoperative Recovery - Cash

Postoperative Recovery - Leia

Highlands-Eldorado Veterinary Hospital

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