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This came up on another thread...thought I'd share our experience.

Storm came in holding her right hind leg in the air after a day of playing outside with her new baby sister Ava. This happened over a year ago, and it was about four weeks after we brought Ava home. Two dogs still getting to know each other, slick spring grass and BOOM.

We did a lot of research and after a few phone consults with orthopedic surgeons in Illinois, Colorado and California, we had a consult at Iowa State with Dr. Conzemius. He did a relatively new procedure - new at least to treating this particular problem. She had an arthroscopic debridement instead of the traditional TPLO. We wanted to give the less invasive form of treatment a try. With the arthroscopy, she started PT after one day, instead of having to be practically immobile for 6-8 weeks after a traditional TPLO. We figured it was worth paying for something that would potentially help her to recover faster, with less pain and less chance of debilitating arthritis in later years. She did three weeks of PT at Iowa State and after that we kept her on a short leash - literally - for somewhere around 6-8 weeks. The time we were able to turn her loose would have been the time she would have just started PT had we gotten her a TPLO.

During the leash time we took her on slow walks and gradually built distance. About a half block at a time. At first we were only going one block and it seemed ridiculous! My husband carried her up and down the stairs for the first month she was home...we didn't want to take any chances. She's always been a big girl and her weight was slowly ballooning. When she got hurt she weighed 80 lbs, and she was soon up to 89 lbs. even on drastically reduced rations. (She was not and is not blessed with a great metabolism :emo8: ...even these days, her knee is fine, and she eats half of what we feed Ava, who only weighs 60 lbs. at 17 months.) I was starting to think my hubby woud be the next surgical case in the household. It sucked - their kennels are in the basement, we spend most of our time on the first floor, and we all sleep upstairs. He was toting her up and down stairs at least 6x per day and more on weekends.

We kept up the leash walks reigiously every day. Honestly it was hard for us - we have a huge fenced yard and we hardly ever go on "walks" with them....they go in the yard to play and potty, and otherwise I'm at classes or the park or the store with them. Storm still hates pottying while on leash to this day.

These days she's great. She went on a diet (down to 78-80lbs. again and holding), she's back training, she plays with her sis in the yard and at the park no problem. Some days she gets sore if she's outside playing for a long time. We have a standing prescription for pain meds, we have them on hand if she's sore. I think she gets on average one per month, and she's fine the next day. I do give her a joint supplement with her meals.

We were lucky enough to have part of the surgery and all of the rehab paid for by Doberman 911. This happened in the middle of a huge home renovation...our credit cards were maxed, our mortgage had just jumped by $400/month, and we were paying extras out of pocket. It couldn't have been worse timing but things worked out fine in the end :)
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