Cruciate Repair surgery for my 8 year old dog?

I have a 8 yr old female mix (jack russell, & Chihuahua). The vet said based on feeling her leg he believes that she needs cruciate repair surgery. Deramaxx 25mg seems to make her function normally. After a long day sometimes she will begin to limp and when she isn't on the medicine she doesn't seem like she wants to do much which is sad because she has always been a very active dog. I noticed that you said dogs under 35pds sometimes do as well without surgery. Any recommendations? She is 16 lbs.

  • Vetinfo

    By: Julie Ann El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    The problem with a complete cruciate rupture is the knee joint is no longer held together in its normal position and functioning correctly. This leads to pain and ultimately significant arthritis. There are a few different surgical techniques for a cruciate rupture. For large dogs the TPLO technique has significant advantages. Since your dog is smaller the somewhat less expensive techniques may be an option. Keep in mind that your dog by virtue of her breeds can look forward to a long life which means you need to consider how she will be affected and her comfort level 5 or more years down the road. Your dog's inactivity now is due to pain. If the cruciate is torn but not completely ruptured you have another option. There is a company that makes a well designed splint for cruciate dogs called Wound Wear. You can contact them at The splint can be used during the recovery period for a partial tear which can be several months. It is critical that you use the splint nearly full time. Instructions are on the website. The goal is to prevent a complete rupture. The splint is comfortable and after initial fitting owners are able to apply and remove the splint in minimal time. They look rather elaborate but the company has addressed all of the motions that cause a splint to come off or not be comfortable. If the cruciate rupture is complete and surgery is not an option due to finances the splints can be used long term. I would suggest you schedule a consultation with either a veterinary surgeon if one is available in your area and if not, a general practitioner who has considerable experience in cruciate repair. During the consultation you can discuss your surgical options, splints etc. You are not obligated to go forward with surgery but you will have complete information to base your decision on. Julie Ann, Vet Tech

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