For Arthrex Territory Field Operations Manager Craig Leist, 2022 may have been his toughest year yet. First, he lost his father, then Hurricane Ian pushed the Orange River through his house in Buckingham, Florida —filling it four feet high with dirty water and debris — forcing Craig, his wife Amy and their sons Brandon and Ryder out of their house.
After months of cleaning up their house, the family was finally able to move back in on Christmas Eve. Things were looking up, until Otis, their four-year-old yellow Lab ran out the back door and completely tore his cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), the canine equivalent of a human ACL.
Two weeks later, he was still limping, so Craig reached out to Arthrex’s Vet Systems team for help. Vet Sales representative Doug Tollett called him back immediately and then got to work connecting Craig with an orthopedic surgery veterinarian from Miami who uses Arthrex products and was traveling to Naples to see patients at the Concierge Veterinary Hospital.
“Dogs are family for so many people,” Doug said. “I don’t want anyone’s dog to need surgery, but when they do, I’m really proud to be working for a company and a team that makes the solution for them.”
Randy Dominguez, DVM, agreed to squeeze Otis in for surgery the next day, using the Arthrex TPLO Locking Plate System.
“Otis had a full tear with mild to moderate arthritis at the time of his surgery,” said Dr. Dominguez, who always begins with a thorough arthroscopic evaluation of the dog’s injury.
TPLO stands for tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, a surgical procedure that aims to decrease the tibial plateau angle on a dog’s stifle (or knee joint). The angle is typically about 25 degrees in Labrador retrievers, which is much higher than in people (10 degrees +/-4). The CCL helps to stabilize the knee and a torn CCL can cause instability. Altering the angle on the proximal tibia eliminates the need for the CCL to stabilize the joint.
The surgeon measures the angle of the dog’s stifle, and then uses a specialty saw to cut through the tibia with minimal trauma. A stainless-steel pin is used for rotating the fragment; it is inserted in the proximal fragment and rotated to create the desired tibial plateau slope. This rotation helps to prevent the femur from sliding down the tibial plateau when weight bearing. A second pin is then inserted to stabilize the slope, the rotational pin is removed, and the surgeon secures a TPLO plate to the bone with bone screws; the second pin used to hold the rotation in place is removed once the plate is secured to the bone.
“This is definitely the best option for injuries like this,” Dr. Dominguez explained. “Several studies have shown the extended long-term radiographic and functional comparison of TPLO versus other techniques. There are significant differences post-op for peak vertical forces, vertical impulse and comfortable stifle range of motion versus open arthrotomy.”
Arthrex also offers the option of using a TPLO InternalBrace™ augmentation technique that uses an anti-rotational suture to neutralize rotational instability in combination with an osteotomy.
“The procedure went perfectly, and the repair was rock solid,” he said.
Clinical studies have shown that TPLO offers excellent mid and long-term outcomes in dogs from five-pound poodles to 150-pound mastiffs. Dr. Dominguez expects that Otis will make a complete recovery.
And for a dog like Otis who lives to run, the surgery is restoring the quality of his life. “Arthrex is big on education—I didn’t even know a procedure like this existed,” Craig said.
Not only was Otis home and back on his feet within days, but Arthrex donated the repair kit to Craig and his family. Doug also gave him an injection of the Arthrex ACP Max™ Platelet-Rich Plasma System treatment to help him heal faster.
“It was pretty amazing, Arthrex was already willing to give us a place to stay while repairing our house, and then they stepped up to help fix our dog, too, it’s really special,” Craig said. “This is the best company I have ever worked for; they really go above and beyond to take care of employees and their families. Thanks to Arthrex, 2023 is off to a much better start.”