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Newfoundland Undergoes Ligament Surgery for Both Knees

By Christy True
published: May 22, 2023 - updated: May 25, 2023 • 3 min. read
Lucy, a Newfoundland dog

Diagnosis: Double cruciate ligament surgery
Cost: $10,134 | Healthy Paws reimbursed: $8,107
Coverage options:  80 percent reimbursement | $250 deductible

Lucy is an 11-year-old Newfoundland who pet parent Rayna calls a “hoot and a joy.”

Typical of her breed, she loves people and will always roll over for a belly rub. However, she’s unusual for her breed because she doesn’t like to swim.

“She is very clever — we spent a lot of time when she was a puppy trying to out-think her (and usually failed). She tries to be sneaky sometimes and will have selective hearing if she doesn’t want to do something…until you say ‘chicken’ in which case she’s all ears,” Rayna said.

Lucy develops torn ligaments in both legs

A little over a year ago, Lucy started having difficulty standing and was avoiding stairs. Rayna and her husband Jimmy took her to the vet and found out she had torn cranial cruciate ligaments (CCL) in both knees.

A CCL rupture for a dog (similar to an ACL rupture in people) is an injury to an essential ligament in the knee joint that often requires surgery to repair. It occurs frequently in large dogs and in 2022 was the fifth most common dog claim to Healthy Paws.

“While we initially harbored fantasies of her scooting around with a little dog wheelchair for her back legs, the only real solution for a dog of her size was bilateral TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery,” Rayna said.

TPLO surgery changes the angle and relationship of the femur and tibia and reduces the amount the tibia shifts forward during a stride. It is the most invasive of the surgical options for the condition.

“It was hard news to hear, especially at her age,” Rayna said. “We consulted two vets and both agreed: Lucy was a good candidate for the surgery. I contacted Healthy Paws to see if the surgery would be covered and to our relief, it was!”

In January 2022, the surgery was performed on both knees, and it was successful. But that didn’t mean it was easy, she said.

Lucy, a Newfoundland dog in a tank
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Recuperation takes time

“There were a lot of sleepless nights and worry-filled days as we kept her medicated, stretched and massaged, dealt with potty accidents, and tried to get her confident in her ‘new’ legs again. When it was time, we took her in for formal physical therapy, which was also covered,” she said.

There, in addition to learning new activities to aid in her recovery, Lucy was treated with cold laser therapy and hydrotherapy. Cold laser therapy speeds healing and cellular rejuvenation. Hydrotherapy for dogs takes place in a heated, indoor pool specially crafted for pets with joint problems. Pups enter through a ramp, hoist or harness and doggy paddle away against soothing jets. Warm water provides an additional benefit, soothing swollen joints and enhancing circulation.

How Lucy is doing now

Lucy, a Newfoundland dog

Lucy has since fully recovered from her injuries and is an active older dog.

“It was a lot of work, but before long she was back to running around chasing squirrels. Today is now her 11th birthday, and it’s just amazing to see her in such good health,” Rayna said.

How pet insurance helped

Rayna enrolled Lucy as soon as she adopted her as a puppy. It turned out to be a good decision as she proved to be very accident-prone. Once, she even managed to hurt herself while at the vet, she said.

Healthy Paws was recommended by our friend who is a dog trainer. We signed up and have been very pleased with it,” she said. “We really appreciated being able to focus on her health and recovery. With insurance, we never had to pause to worry whether we could afford it. Filing claims was very easy, and they were approved quickly.”

The claim scenarios described here are intended to show the types of situations that may result in claims. These scenarios should not be compared to any other claim. Whether or to what extent a particular loss is covered depends on the facts and circumstances of the loss, the terms and conditions of the policy as issued and applicable law.

Insured persons providing testimonials in this report have not received compensation for their statements.

Christy True and Tomas
By Christy True

Christy has been writing about pets for Healthy Paws for 28 dog years. She also coordinates media requests. A background in journalism may be why she enjoys writing about offbeat animal studies and the latest viral pet trends. She has been owned by several dogs, and she volunteers with a local dog rescue. Outside of work, she can usually be found sliding down a mountain near her home in Bend, Ore.

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