Double Trouble for Holly

X-ray of Holly's surgery

Holly is a beautiful 4-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cross, who came to see us in October last year with a lameness problem. It turned out Holly had snapped her cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left leg. This is a very common injury in large breed dogs, but somewhat less common in smaller dogs, but can actually affect any size as well as cats.

Holly was at risk of this injury as the top of her tibia sloped downwards towards the back of the joint quite steeply, which results in enormous pressure being put on the ACL.

Unfortunately this anatomical quirk is normally present in both legs equally, which means of course the risk is high that both joints will have the same problem. 

Surgery is always the best option for cruciate injury (whether partial or complete rupture, and whatever size of patient), and in Holly’s case we opted to perform a TPLO. This is a complicated procedure that involves creating a perfectly placed, curved saw cut right through the tibia, then rotating the top of the tibia around a measured distance, and stabilising it with an orthopaedic plate and screws. This is challenging enough in a large dog, but as the patient gets smaller, so do the bones, which makes it significantly more fiddly.

Holly had TPLO surgery in October, recovered very nicely, and then promptly snapped the ACL in her other leg in March…So, back to surgery for Holly, to have a second TPLO on the right leg this time. 

Holly Vares TPLO

Holly recovered extremely well from surgery and came to see us recently for her 6-week x-rays. The bone is healed completely, and she is happily walking around without a limp, and in no pain at all.

6 more weeks of lead walking and Holly will be back into full activity again.

This sort of case gives us enormous pleasure. Seeing a patient who was in such discomfort and not able to walk very well at all, wagging their tail and running around greeting everyone is a wonderful feeling. And very well done to Holly’s owners who have obviously followed the post-operative care plan very well, and have done a wonderful job rehabilitating Holly back to being an active dog again.

Paul Eason BVM&S MANZCVS (Surgery; Emergency and Critical Care Medicine)


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