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Discussion Starter #1
Our 3 year old chocolate lab has just been diagnosed with cruciate disease in both knees and hip dysplasia in both hips. Signs of arthritis in one hip and both knees.

We're devastated, clearly, and unsure whether to opt for surgery - although we understand conservative management may not be successful. He's a trim 25kg already so weight is not an issue.

We don't want to embark on a lifetime of surgery for the wee man or to put him through surgery that's unlikely to give him a good quality of life.

I know that cruciate surgery (TPLO and TTA) can have good outcomes - but what if the dog already has hip dysplasia? And how did your dog cope with the extended rest period (ours is life-loving and enthusiastic)?

Would love to hear how others have coped. Thanks.
 

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Oh my goodness!

It's a tough one, personally I wouldn't put mine through surgery, and I would opt for conservative management and give him the best quality of life you can with adjustments such as ramps into cars etc.
 

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Have you seen a specialist? Is he insured?
My dog had a double hip replacement when he was a year old. He's now nearly 10 and has had a good life :)
I would definitely get a referral to a specialist who will give you good and honest advice.
Where in the country are you? I can recommend Graham Oliver at East Midlands referrals in Nottinghamshire
 

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I don't have any personal experience of cruciate issues but my lab was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at the age of two. I was told it was both hips and that one was worse than the other. He was referred to an ortho specialist who said that hip surgery would be definitely be needed fairly soon and that arthritis had already set in. He also told me that Monty would need to be on anti-inflammatory drugs for the rest of his life.

He is now eleven years old and has had no surgery, nor has he been on any anti-inflammatory drugs - and he is still able to run around chasing his ball and leads a pretty normal life.

I took him for hydrotherapy for about a year or so after the diagnosis (despite the specialist saying that hydro was a total waste of time) - but apart from that he's had no treatment and he's been just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies.
We're still in turmoil. Based up in Scotland and haven't had a referral to a specialist yet.
If it was just the cruciates, we might go for surgery - if they could both be done together. Though how he would cope with the lack of exercise is anybody's guess. It's just the uncertainty of not knowing whether we could do all that and find that he then needs further hip surgery.
It's certainly a worry...
 

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One of my old girls had ED, HD and needed a cruciate op. She was 5. We went ahead with the cruciate op and managed the others. It wasn't easy. Luckily I didn't need to go out to work, otherwise it would've been dreadful.

Milly managed the rest restrictions with a lot of mind games, kongs & chewy toys. She loathed hydro afterwards ( unusually she was never keen on the water) and after several sessions she refused to swim at all, just hanging suspended in the harness, so it was a waste of time.

She recovered very well from the op and was as good new. We managed the rest with cartrophen injections, yumove and eventually a mild steroid when she had deteriorated to the point of being in constant pain.

Having said all that, her quality of life was very good until the last few months. She enjoyed walking and gentle ball playing without any ill effects.

In retrospect I don't think we would have done anything differently. It was hard at the time but after the cruciate op her quality of life was much better.

Hope this helps and good luck xxx
 

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To be honest I don't think you can make a decision without seeing a specialist and discussing his particular case, the specialist is in a position to answer your questions about how he would manage with each or all of the operations required and can tell you about how others have got on as they will have previous similar cases. Going to the specialist doesn't mean you have to go ahead you can still decide against it if you feel his best bet is conservative management.

Like Wendy, and several other members of this forum, I take my dogs to Graham Oliver at East Midlands Referrals. One of my dogs had elbow surgery but is having conservative management of his spinal issues and my other dog has just had TCT for patella luxation. As Jane said the recovery period is long and tiring for humans as you have to find other things to occupy them and can't leave them alone even in the house except when they're in a crate but it can be done and you get through it together. I always weigh up what the risks and benefits are and for mine the operations they have turned out to be the right decisions for them. I have no personal experience of hips and cruciates so can't help you with that.

Remember our dogs are very good at coping and are often in more pain than they let on which is why I think it is really important to have that specialist opinion to get as good an idea of possible of what they are dealing with so you can alter your lives to help the situation, for some that will include surgery for others hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, pain meds, a memory foam bed, lifting into the car, shorter walks and avoidance of ball chasing and steps etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice.

I think we're going to continue with the conservative management and rest until we see our vet again in 4 weeks then ask for a referral.

That will give us time to consider how we can cope with the post-op period (we both work full time and live in a first floor flat) and see how the wee man might cope without exercise. He is currently very depressed - and that's after spending one day at the vet (we rescued him and he has separation anxiety).

Thanks again.
 
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