Over the course of a young life dashing about madly in pursuit of balls, Barnaby’s joints had already taken quite a toll and one day on Bamburgh beach he tore the cruciate ligament in a back leg. He was in agony and began to limp immediately. Because it couldn’t get better, and both his knee and hip were affected by arthritis, the only real option was to have a knee replacement and for such a big dog that now usually means a Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA). In this photo Barns is looking really sorry for himself, first because he is in enormous discomfort, not long previously having had the surgery, and second because the collar he is wearing acted as a greenhouse and helped him develop a nasty ear infection and took even longer to clear up than the wound in his leg took to heal (and that’s saying something as that got infected too). In fact he had MRSA – so it doesn’t just occur in people! Everyone had to rally to support Barnaby through what was a terribly traumatic time. In all it took about four months for him to return to normal, and this means the kind of normal you get if you are a dog with arthritic changes to his hip and knee and a metal plate holding his patella on to the tibia, instead of the usual bendy bit of cartilege which nature intended. Barnaby thinks we should give some advice, based on a few things we have all learnt, because we did it the hard way, with no written instructions, no detailed information, and it was the most worrying time of his life because of the seriousness of the infection, psedomonas aurea, in both leg and ear. One week he went to the vet’s every day except one. So:
1. Keep the leg wound immaculately clean and stop the dog licking his leg at all costs. Do not touch the leg wound without latex gloves and after touching anything else. Use the inflateable kind of dog collar pictured here to stop the dog having any kind of contact with the wound – once we found this sort, we never looked back. Use it night and day.
2. Adopt an incredibly cautious and methodical approach to post-operative exercise. This is all very detailed of necessity so follow the advice given in these veterinary handouts to the letter: we found them online and they proved invaluable.