Today, we wanted to shine the light on a very special patient of ours, Miss Thea! Thea is a five year old chocolate Labrador Retriever who has been with us since puppyhood and we have enjoyed every moment! If you ever need a pick me up, Thea is your gal! When she comes to visit us, she is always full of kisses and her happy spirit radiates throughout the entire clinic. Not only is Thea delightful but her owners are the greatest as well! They have all become a wonderful part of our SAH family and for that, we are very grateful!
Thea recently came in for a visit because her owner, Michelle, noticed Thea had been limping on one of her hind limbs. She is quite the active lady so it is not abnormal for her to push herself too much and be a little sore for a day or so. This time however, things were different. Even though she was limping, Thea still blasted into the clinic ready for a good time! After a thorough exam by Dr. Ellis, he noted that she was showing the ‘toe touch’ lameness, which is common in ligament injuries. Thea had, in fact, injured her cruciate ligament. Michelle was ready to do whatever it took to be sure Thea was comfortable and able to continue on as her energetic self. It was decided that we would begin the process of a cruciate repair.
There are many steps before and after cruciate procedures but first let us fill you in on what exactly a cruciate ligament is. The cruciate ligament is made of fibrous tissues that are located in each knee joint. The femur and tibia are joined together by the cruciate ligament which in turn makes the knee work as a hinged joint, allowing it to move only backwards and forwards. If the joint is twisted in any direction, this can cause a cruciate ligament to rupture, which is what transpired in Thea’s situation. Often times, this can occur when a dog is playing and suddenly changes direction, if the animal is obese, or sometimes, the ligaments may become weakened due to certain illnesses.
To start, we needed to collect a blood sample to send out to the lab as well as obtain radiographs of Thea’s knee. She spent the day with us and we sedated her so we could get three perfect views of her knee. We then sent the radiographs to our surgeon, Dr. Frost. We collected a blood sample in order to check Thea’s internal organs to be sure that she was suitable to undergo anesthesia. All came back with flying colors and Thea was, indeed, approved for surgery.
Next is the big day! Thea was admitted to the clinic first thing in the morning to prepare for surgery. Dr. Frost then performed a Tibial Tubercle Advancement (TTA) to replace the cruciate ligament. Surgery went very well and Thea recovered perfectly! After all cruciate repairs, each patient will receive six therapy laser treatments to help promote healing and six physical therapy appointments with Dr. Ellis. Along with implementing physical therapy exercises at home, Thea will also need to keep her activity limited for six to eight weeks!
Thea has now been in for all of her laser treatments and has met with Dr. Ellis for two of her physical therapy consults. She is progressing wonderfully, thanks to her dedicated family! Throughout the whole process, Thea has been such a sweetheart and a pleasure to work with. She is one of the many reasons why we absolutely love what we do here at Sunderland Animal Hospital! Way to go Thea, our shining star!