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Hello everyone, first time posting here. We have a 7.5 year old pitbull who tore his ACL a few weeks ago. We've gotten a variety of recommendations from veterinarians in our area. One procedure that we felt was interesting was called a "tightrope" procedure. Does anyone have any experience with that? Apparently they recommend it for small to medium sized dogs. Our guy is 45 pounds, so I guess he's technically medium sized, but is all muscle and a little nuts. Once or twice a day he likes to run laps in our yard or living room and jump over furniture. He's not a competitive athlete, but with the amount of force he creates running and jumping there's a concern that he could tear through the stuff they use to keep his knee stable.

Any input would be greatly appreciated
 

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Welcome to the forum KMack17. Really sorry to hear about your boys injury. Glad that you are getting second and third opinions as it is a tough decision to make. I guess it comes down to the severity of the tear in the ACL. If it's not terrible I would probably opt for conservative management of the injury and hope that it healed. The downside to the bully dogs is that they are so active and pain does not stop them from going balls out when they want to. This can lead to the surgical repair being ripped out and being back where he is at now or worse. I know my vet advised against it but that was for one of my dogs and each case is going to be different.
Hopefully, others who may have experience with this surgery will chime in here. Best of luck with things and please post back with an update.

Joe
 

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In dogs it's referred to as a CCL. I'm not familiar with the term "tightrope" but it may refer to a procedure where they replace the ligament with plastic line. There are two other methods on called a TPLO and the other called a TTA. The later two procedures modify the joint so the ligament isn't needed. My vet recommend the TTA when my pup got his first tear. It took two to three months to heal which I'm convinced that because he favored that leg, a few years later he did it to the other knee. I'm sure regardless of which way you go, I would think the most important thing would be to focus on physical therapy after he heals to maintain strength in both legs.
 

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I had a dog many years ago who had the tightrope surgery. He was 6 at the time and it held for the rest of his life and allowed him to hike and run and jump and bike. He was much larger than they recommend, being a 65 lb boxer. So it can work on a larger dog. My concern wouldn't be the size but rather the joint angle. When my current pitmix had a partial tear I took him to a PT vet and we had a bit of an educational chat about the joint angle on these guys being very extreme and causing them to be more prone to tearing the CCL. Given that information, I would be hesitant to trust at tightrope to hold. Additionally, the boxer I had success with was incredibly lean. That dog was a bag of bones (while also being significantly more muscular than my current fairly muscular pit mix). He also tore it through play with an overzealous pup and not his own normal behaviors. So really there are a lot of factors to consider. So really I just wanted to share some of the things I would think about. Weight matters, but also how lean and how muscular, joint angulation, how it tore in the first case, behaviors which might influence the durability of the repair, current age, etc. It's not an answer but hopefully it gives you some food for thought. I highly recommend a PT vet, they can provide a lot of insight you might not get otherwise and ours helped us do some exercises that have thus far kept him from further injuring the joint.
 
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