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Bilateral OCD surgery in pup


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I'd like to introduce myself as a new member; I wish it were under happier circumstances!


My almost-six-month-old BC pup, Duncan, has been limping on his right front leg for about three weeks. (No immediately obvious precipitating "trigger"). After some inconclusive X-rays from my current vet and three weeks of restricted activities, I got him in today to see Dr. Sherman Canapp of the Veterinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine (VOSM) group in Maryland (my home state).


Dr. Canapp diagnosed him with bilateral OCD of the shoulder (i.e., both shoulders), and recommended arthroscopic surgery. That's to be followed by two months of rehab/physical therapy. Dr. Canapp felt that there was a ~90% chance of full recovery (no restrictions on any activities following the rehab/PT period).


Has anyone else had experiences, either positive or negative, with bilateral arthroscopic surgeries for OCD, or with the VOSM group? (They came highly recommended by the "parents" I know of a Boxer pup with OCD, and I've seen positive statements here on the BC boards about Dr. Canapp). I gather they see a lot of BCs in this practice.


I'd be grateful for any words of wisdom any of you can share whose pups have received a similar diagnosis (or who have interacted with the VOSM folk).


- Lynn

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Hi! And welcome to the Boards!


I am sorry that you are not here under better circumstances.... :rolleyes:


I do not have any personal experience with this issue but I do that several other board members are knowledgeable on this subject. One member's dog did have the surgery as a fairly young pup and I do believe he is doing quite well. I attached a thread about Odin.




Good Luck!

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I know nothing about that veterinary group but I know several people who have had bilateral arthroscopic OCD surgery at Michigan State on their BCs. All were successful. Much much less recovery time over the old method.



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Thanks, Vicki, for finding my old thread.


Odin's OCD was unilateral, which is evidence it likely initiated (according to the vet and literature I read) because of a specific injury, so I don't know how different that migt be from the bilateral. But his was very bad and he had a huge bone (not just cartilage) fragment floating around in there, aside from the flattening of the joint and the cartilage separation. Because of that, even though arthroscopic sugery had been planned, the ortho vet ended up filet-ing him anyway because in her experience it is better to do that then try and spend a long time maneuvering a large piece out of a small hole without causing irritation to other tissues.


We opted to try stem cell therapy on Odin to give him the best chance for recovery. My ortho vet also really wanted us go to rehab/PT for 2 months as well, but to be honest we could not afford the costs related to diagnosis, surgery, stem cells, AND rehab/PT. Given his age, I chose to drop the rehab/PT, hoping that I could try and rehab him at home. Even given the non-arthroscopic surgical incision, Odin healed very quickly and showed very little pain at any time after the surgery. In fact the vet techs could not believe his energy and movement ability when they took him for walks as he was recovering overnight at the vet's after the surgery. He wanted to play! I honestly believe that besides the surgery and post-surgery drugs, he felt better as soon as the surgery was over than he did when he went in. So hopefully you will find the same to be true for Duncan.


Honestly the worst parts of the whole thing were 1) the cost and 2) the extended crate rest, which is not easy for a high-energy teenage pup to take. We were religious about his rehab walks and invested in lots of weird and different treat-dispensing toys like Kongs etc. Within 1.5 weeks of the surgery he saw NO reason he needed to be calm, at all. So we had to be tough with him at times, and that was hard on me emotionally because I felt so bad for him already.


I can't know how much or if the stem cells actually helped him. He had two treatments - one systemic and one directly into the joint 48 hour post surgery. But I will tell you he healed extremely quickly and very, very well. The stem cell surgical incision (in the tummy area) is pretty nasty, but it is my belief this therapy helped his joints immensely and was well worth the cost and trouble. Also, should he develop arthritis in that shoulder later in life we have some in cryo and can hit him again.


I'm having him X-rayed soon to see what is going on in that joint almost 1 year later, but the signs are all very good (he had the surgery 9.5 months ago). No hitches at all since the surgery. His chest and shoulder musculature is totally symmetrical. Normal range of movement, as evidenced by symmetrical "hi-fives" and other shoulder-stretching excercises. Absolutely no limp. I believe he likes to lead with his unaffected leg when "galloping" but he will switch leads too. No trainer I have taken him to has been able to see ANY difference between his gait/physical abilities and that of a "normal" dog his age, because most dogs have a side that they favor leading on anyway. The vets have been extremely pleased with his recovery. Hopefully this update will give you some hope re: Duncan! You have some tough times ahead. But on the other hand, rarely have I had such serious vetting have such a positive end outcome. All the luck to you and Duncan, PM me if you have other questions!

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I work in the veterinary industry in the same area as you and while I have not had any direct interaction with Dr. Canapp, he is HIGHLY regarded as an expert in these issues. Many friends with working border collies have worked with him and have been thrilled with the results. You couldn't be in better hands.



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Thank you so much for all your supportive posts!


Duncan came through his surgery with flying colors, and we were able to pick him up yesterday evening. Apparently it was "Border collie" day there at the practice, with two others admitted for surgery that day. Although they play classical music in the recovery room, Duncan didn't feel the urge to contribute (normally, he's a most enthusiastic, if someone out of tune, musician) - maybe it's only live music that excites him.


The flap on his left shoulder (the better one) hadn't detached, though the bone underneath was still necrotic. The cartilage flap on his right shoulder (initially the size of a quarter) had detached and had continued to grow, so they had to cut it into five smaller pieces to remove it. Still, the vet is convinced he'll make a full recovery as long as we can prevent him from any jumping, running, and roughhousing with friends for the next (gasp) 12 weeks.


Poor baby hates the E-collar he'll have to wear for the next 2 weeks (until the sutures come out). He didn't have to wear it while in recovery; apparently he had all the techs so wrapped around his paws that he had someone making a fuss over him and hand-feeding him kibble at all times.


Meds include Tramadol (pain), Rimadyl (NSAID), Simplicef (antibiotic). He'll start on Adequan injections (2x per week for 4 weeks) in a week. He'll be on Dasuquin for life.


PT will involve weekly laser treatments (in their clinic; starting in two weeks; heat and energy to stimulate tissue and reduce inflammation), and in-home exercises (again starting in two weeks). At eight weeks post-op they will probably introduce him to their underwater treadmill, which they claim is better therapy than swimming (better range of motion; in fact they say no free swimming for 12 weeks). They didn't mention stem cell therapy, though I know from their website that they offer it. They did mention ultrasound therapy and acupuncture. It's possible that after the first month we'll be able to reduce the frequency of the PT.


Keeping him quiet will be the big challenge; fortunately he's got a great temperament, and has put up with the last three weeks of restricted activities with good grace (though he cries whenever he sees one of his friends out for a walk and we won't let him join them). He's also very obedient, as well as crate-trained, and the vet says both will help considerably. In two weeks he'll be allowed 5-minute leash walks, twice a day, which will mean that I can resume bringing him to my office. In the meanwhile I'll try to work from home as much as I can manage (his shoulders need to be iced three to four times a day, and he's much happier flopped at my feet than anywhere else).


So, if anyone has good suggestions for appropriate toys and low-impact activities, please let me know, especially if you can suggest an online supplier! He's not allowed to play with the toys that would bring out the "wolf cub" in him, so his squeaky sheep, ropes and the like have been shelved for now. I've laid in a bunch of Kongs, which I've been filling with wet kibble (he's not much into peanut butter) and throwing into the freezer. (I've also cut down on the amount of kibble I'd ordinarily be feeding him; the last thing he needs during this rehab period is to put on any excess weight). I've also been giving him Bully sticks. And we've trained him to play "stay-catch": he lies down in a "stay" while I toss a ball to him. He won't dash after it if he misses it. If he catches it, he rolls it back to me.


The vet says he can resume obedience classes as long as he doesn't play with the other dogs. We'll have to play it by ear, though, as his best bud (a German shepherd pup) is enrolled in the same class he's supposed to start in a couple of weeks.


Again, thanks for your support and advice!


- Lynn

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Hi there, im new here too :rolleyes:


My boy Chaos was diagnosed with OCD of the right shoulder, not in both about 3 months ago now and it's been three months since he had his surgery with GREAT success! He is 100% now and we are starting agility training again.


I went to a specialist to do his surgery and he looked at his X-rays before before deciding to do his surgery, Chaos had very large lesions of cartilage on his shoulder and therefore we opted to operate. He had been limping for months before and after physio and treatment, we finally went to a specialist and we had to have the surgery. It's good that you catch it early as this reduces the chances of your dog getting osteoarthritis when older, however any dog that has had a joint or joint surgery is more likely to develop ostearthritis - therefore suppliments are recommended!


The surgery went great without complications, you see a normally vet can do this surgery BUT it is definetly NOT advisable as they would need to cut through the dogs muscles to expose the joint and for these muscles to heal after surgery takes a very very long time, Chaos had a "key hole" surgery, meaning they make a tiny incesion to the shoulder and use a camera to guide their way through and remove the damaged cartilage! Chaos was 10 months when I had the surgery done. They are up and walking by the next day of surgery with little or no pain!


I am very happy with the results of surgery!


GOOD LUCK, especially for trying to keep him quiet - it's a task and a half

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Odin's crate rest recipes and games (remember to subtract calories for extras so he doesn't gain too much, keeping them slim really helps joints!):


kibble mixed with plain yogurt or cottage cheese and frozen in kong, squirrel, etc


kibble mixed with canned dog food and put in a kong (our favorites include tripe and lamb)


raw meaty bones (at first I pinned a towel around him to keep the surgical incision clean, but we also had two 6-7 inch incisions unlike your arthro incisions), including lamb necks, chicken thighs and breasts, etc.


We tried pretty much all treat dispensing toys. Look around for different types of designs.


game - touch my fingers, touch the target. Sat next to the crate and asked for touches on my moving hand alternating with nose-targets to different things inside his crate.


We worked on flash cards for "sit" and "down" - I kid you not :rolleyes: He liked the game and maybe got the "down" card? But I couldn't tell and sit wasn't really cuing off the card so much as my movement when I held it.


Name games - teaching him names of toys and then laying out toys and asking him to give me different ones by name.


Sounds like the surgery went great! Keep us updated.


ETF confusing punctuation

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Ooky, these are fantastic suggestions for keeping an active pup engaged and occupied! Thank you so much!!


And thanks to all of you for your interest and support.


Any of you have any good online sources for treat-dispensing toys that don't cost $100 (and up) each? (I've seen some lovely wooden puzzle boxes for dogs, but my husband will probably freak at the thought, given our recent expenses - not to mention the $1000 for X-rays etc. at my regular vet's that proved inconclusive. Note to self, if lameness doesn't resolve itself quickly, go straight to specialist - his consult cost way less than I spent at my regular vet's). PetSmart and Pet Depot didn't have anything worth mentioning other than Kongs.


- Lynn

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