Extracapsular Repair Failure

While checking my blog traffic sources, I found that I had a visitor searching for information on extracapsular repair gone wrong in a dog. My heart goes out to both the owner and the dog.

We too had a scare recently, when Jasmine, after she recovered from bilateral ACL repair, suddenly started limping on her left leg again. Fortunately, it turned out to be a muscle injury, unrelated to the knee. That was a great relief.

If lameness occurs after the recovery period, I believe the first thing to do is to confirm whether the repair truly failed, or whether you’re dealing with a different injury, such as muscle, tendon or meniscal injury.

When can extracapsular repair fail?

Fortunately, the chance of the joint failing after full recovery is rather low.

However, any of the ACL surgeries whether it’s the TPLO, TTA or extracapsular repair can fail during the recovery time quite easily. That is why strict post-operative care is important. If the joint is subjected to too much stress too early, things fall apart. One unfortunate jump of the couch can be all that is needed.

One of the reasons we opted for the extracapsular repair was, that the worst case scenario seemed to be starting from square one, should something go wrong. It is the least invasive option from the three.

It is believed, that the odds of failure are high in large breed dogs, simply because the stress on the repaired joint is too great. Jasmine is proof to the contrary. Our surgeon uses an extra suture to stabilize the joint for larger dogs and has very good results with that. Once recovered, the joint is kept stable by scar tissue and the suture is no longer needed.

What if it does fail?

Unless the reason for the failure was an accident that is not likely to happen again, you might want to consider one of the other surgeries, TPLO or TTA. The recovery time after TPLO and TTA is a bit shorter and not as strict. Keep in mind that every surgery requires a diligent rehabilitation though and things can go wrong with either of the ACL repairs.

Categories: CCL injuriesJoint issuesKnee issues

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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