Indy’s knee injury and TPLO journey

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Pre Surgery 10-16-2015/ 01-6-16

Indy is a 3 year old pure bred brindle Boxer. He is 69 lbs of pure joy. His favorite activity is to play fetch with whatever you will throw for him. He was rescued from Northwest Boxer Rescue when he was 6 weeks old by my family, and has grown into one of the best boxers I have ever owned. For a Boxer he is relatively calm.

Indy hurt both his back legs on 10/15/2015 when he attempted to jump onto my bed that evening and he didn’t quite make it. He cried in pain and instantly sat down and started shaking. He wouldn’t stand when I asked, so I had to manually get him up to take a look. He was non weight bearing on the right hind leg and toe touching on the left rear leg. I had never heard him cry in pain, not even after his castration surgery. So knew right away I had to take him to work that next day and get him checked out.

The next morning he was still tender on both legs, putting more weight on the left than right. Dr. Brown and I started with sedation and pain meds so we could take some radiographs of his legs and hips. On physical exam both of his cranial cruciate ligaments had ruptured. He had the classic signs that we look for in the veterinary field. The first was the “drawer sign” as well call it, this is where the veterinarian can push the tibia forward from the femur at the knee. Second he had the tibal thrust, the tibia can be push forward when the knee is held a 90 degree angle and the hock is flexed. DON’T try this at home, remember he was sedated and this is painful. The radiographs showed inflammation in both knee joints.

OH GREAT… my dog has both knees that need surgical attention. WAIT… I have insurance on him, okay let’s find out what to do to get him fixed up.

Dr. Brown and I discussed all my options for Indy and my decision was clear that I was going to do the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO).

I contacted my insurance Trupanion in order to get the preapproval process done and see if this would be covered and of course the company got back to me the same day because they are awesome! The surgery for TPLO on both legs was approved. I had $500 deductible for my plan and Trupanion covers 90% of the costs.

Next up, the surgery date. I have a crazy life with 3 boys in sports and working too, so I needed to pick a date that I could be home with him after for a few days and a date that work for the rest of the staff at Raintree. So Jan 13th was the day. EEK!

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Surgery:

The surgery itself went smooth. The surgery took just over 3 hours to perform on both legs and it turned out great.

Now comes the hard part…. The after care and rehabilitation is the most important part.
After surgery Indy did very well. He woke up from Anesthesia with no problems and seemed to be comfortable and pain free. I took him home the same night. I of course carried him into the house and outside to potty the entire first day. He didn’t have any eliminations the first 16 hours which worried me, but on the other hand I was all up in his business. I felt like I had to support his hind end, we he apparently wasn’t going to pee with me standing right there. So early the next morning I helped him outside with the sling and then removed the sling and let him hobble a few steps and he finally urinated. He wasn’t eating the greatest either and had the most horrible room clearing gas!

Later the second day the smelly gas turned into diarrhea and he had no appetite at all. So I started him on a different antibiotic for the diarrhea and switched to a bland diet with rice added. The rest of the weekend was rough. He was clearing the room with his gas and vomited a few times and since he wasn’t eating well I had to force the medications down his throat. My poor guy looked so sad. His knees weren’t giving him any problems. By Saturday (3 days post op) he was getting up on his own and with the sling support would make it outside without a problem. I was icing him 4 times a day about 20 minutes at a time and using the therapeutic laser over his incisions and knees once daily as well.

Monday came quickly and I was back to work, so I brought him with to do some diagnostics to make sure his tummy was okay. I ran blood work and took x-rays and all checked out okay. He was much happier Monday and was eating better, it seems we are making head way with his diarrhea, the gas on the other hand was still present but at least it wasn’t as often so the candles in the house could actually mask the smell before the next one slipped out. LOL

1 week
Indy is making so much improvement, I have to tell him to slow down when heading outside. He is eating great, diarrhea is completely cleared up. I finally slept upstairs in my bed. No more couch for me.

2 weeks
Staples are out! Range of motion exercises have been started. Oh man it’s hard to keep him down. He is taking the stairs to his favorite place to lay down. He leaped up onto the couch unexpectedly once, I think it may have hurt a little after he did it, but I could tell he was proud until I yelled at him. He is grabbing his favorite green football in his mouth again and the Boxer wiggle butt is back.

3 weeks
Hair is growing back some and incision has healed well. I let him do a small jog in the back yard for about ten minutes and continue his range of motion exercises.

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6 weeks
Can’t even tell he had the surgery. He is ready to run and chase balls. I will throw the ball 3 times for him and let him go get it and bring it back and then stop. Don’t want to over do it. He has gone on a ½ mile walk to greet his human brothers after school and has had no limping or soreness afterward. He still knows his limits and hasn’t tried to jump up onto my bed at night. He walks upstairs with no problems or pain.

3 Months
Indy has made tremendous progress. He is jumping into the back of my Jeep to go for rides. He can chase his ball with no pain and loves his walks. He doesn’t show any signs of pain after playing. The other day was very rainy and slippery outside and he took a corner to chase his girlfriend (6year old beagle) in the backyard, he slipped in the process. I cringed thinking ,”oh no his knee”. He kept going without a problem or care in the world. No pain or limping later in the day at all.

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