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I Don’t Want My Dog To Have Cruciate Ligament Knee Surgery (TPLO Surgery). What Are The Alternative Treatments?

I Don’t Want My Dog To Have Cruciate Ligament Knee Surgery (TPLO Surgery). What Are The Alternative Treatments?

Many dog owners choose not to have cruciate ligament knee surgery or TPLO surgery. 

  • Maybe your dog is too old
  • You don’t want to risk the surgery
  • Surgery is too expensive and/or you don’t have insurance
  • Your dog has a secondary condition
  • TPLO surgery can be pretty invasive, and you don’t want this
  • You would prefer the non-surgical route, involving conservative management

There are several treatment options available if your dog has a cruciate ligament injury and you don’t want them to have surgery. Conservative or non-surgical management includes: 

  • Rest
  • Restricted activity
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • A knee brace
  • Physiotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Laser

Wearing a knee leg brace can stabilise the knee joint and prevent excessive movement and rotation of the joint, which can help give the ligament a chance to heal. In the case of a fully ruptured ligament, a brace alone is not enough to repair the damage.

Watch this YouTube video of Titus the husky, making a full recovery without surgery by using a custom knee brace and rehabilitation: 

  • Titus had one cruciate injury when he was 5 years old
  • 5 years later, the other cruciate knee became injured (either a bad partial tear or complete rupture)
  • The owners decided to get two custom braces. The first to support the first knee so that it didn’t become weak when taking the weight of the new injury, and the second brace for the newly ruptured knee
  • When the owner put the brace on, Titus was immediately able to weight bear more

Watch Titan’s hydrotherapy and physiotherapy here: 

  • Hydrotherapy builds up the muscle where they have lost it, so the muscle takes the weight off the joint
  • Physiotherapy gets Titus to start putting more weight on his back leg, building up his balance again

Alternatively, a wheelchair can be used to rehabilitate the knee injury, by reducing the load on the limb and helping to immobilise the injury. For dogs with a fully ruptured ligament, who can’t have surgery, wheelchairs help maintain mobility and preserve muscle mass. They also provide mental stimulation and exercise, both of which are a vital part of your dog’s recovery. 

It is important to discuss treatment options with your vet to find the best option for your dog.

Read more about Cruciate Knee Ligament injuries here - Causes, Prevention and Treatments

Find Cruciate Ligament Knee Braces here 

Find a custom cruciate knee brace just like Titan’s here 

Previous article Cara is a 14 year old German Shepherd. She regularly sees the vet and has rear knuckling linked to the typical GSD weak hips / neuropathy and some osteoarthritis. What would you recommend?
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