Hi.  My Ella was running after a ball and suddenly yelped and sat down.  After that she was limping.  We watched her for a few days and it seemed to improve.  However, it wasn't completely back to normal in 2 weeks so we took her to the vet.  The vet felt around and said that she tore her ACL and would need surgery.  Surgery is scheduled for this coming Thursday.  I was all set until I started reading up on ACL surgery.  I'm wondering if Ella can possibly heal on her own without the surgery if I keep her from running or going up/down steps.  I know it takes a long time to completely heal but I'm worried about putting her through a surgery that may or may not help.  Has anyone's baby had this surgery or is there anyone who chose NOT to have it?  I don't have much time to make up my mind since her surgery is scheduled for Thursday.  Any information would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks. 

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Cindy, don't trade ACL surgery for back surgery! Just kidding of course, but if you have a dog who needs to be confined, do that downstairs, she may not be happy, but she'll get used to it.  Like they say on airplanes, if the oxygen masks drop, put your own on first.  You won't be much good to anybody if you're not good to yourself.  Then you can take all the time you need to come to what is the best decision for you.

I agree with Anna....you don't want back surgery, BTDT already.  I can't lift Max but I have had to help him up the stairs the last 2 weeks and it's not easy.  His is age.  We ordered carpet stair treads so that should make it easier for him.

I agree with you, Anna and Linda.  I put a gate across the stairway so Ella can't go up and down.  It will be very difficult to make her sleep downstairs when we sleep upstairs.  Not sure how that will go.  This lil dog is sooooo spoiled.  If it gets to be around 9:30-10:00p and she's ready for bed, she will stand by the stairs and whimper until I pick her up and put her in bed (upstairs, of course).  I've never had a dog who acts like her, lol.  But...I will still have to pick her up to bring her up the stairs to our front door after she does her business :(  I've been lessening her food amount a tad because she definitely could lose a couple pounds.  This will make it easier on both of us!  I called the vet to see if we could get another bottle of her pain medicine while I ponder whether or not to go through with surgery, but he says he has to do bloodwork on her before he can release any more medicine.  So...I will have to get her back in for bloodwork I guess.  It's too bad there's not something over the counter I could give her that would be safe for a week or two.    Thanks again for your replies!

I am not a fan of pain medicine either for myself or the animals and animals are more tolerant of pain than we are.  Unless the pain is excruciating, it is a signal from the body which will help her avoid doing things that are harmful.  Pain medication also has side effects.  You can give homeopathic ARNICA ( small pellets that you can get at any Health Food type store. Don't touch the pellets, drop 3 or 4 in the cap of the small bottle or on a spoon and dump it in the dog's mouth at any time, but at least 15 minutes before or after food being taken.  Look for 30C or 30X strength.  Totally non toxic and very helpful in any traumatic injury. ) Start with 3 times a day, decrease as you see improvement.

Outside, I don't know how many steps you have. If it's just a few, you may be able to solve the problem with a ramp made of plywood with some cheep indoor outdoor carpeting nailed to it for traction.  A place like Home Depot will have what you need to make this inexpensively and can cut the woof for you too..

My older dog also has the built in clock for going to the bedroom, except she does it after eating for her nap-time, then again around 10PM.  These creatures of habit can be changed, if you create a new habit, it just takes a few days of consistency on your part   and deciding not to feel sorry for her.  Decide what makes sense for both of you and stick to it firmly. 

I will look into the ARNICA.  I've never heard of it but I'm all for non-toxic meds.  I'll also ask my husband if he can design a small ramp for our front steps.  There's only about 4 steps but the last time I took her out a few minutes ago, my back went into spasms and there's no way I can pick her up again.  I was trying to think of some sort of hammock or sling I could wrap around her so I'm using my arms more for lifting her than my back.  She has a life jacket with a handle on top but its pretty cumbersome.  Guess I'm going to have to get creative.  Thanks for the ideas!

Second opinion. I surely would have another vet look at her, not as some sort of aspersion on the favorite vet, but just to confirm. Lately I've discovered where human vets are concerned that one is well served always to get a second opinion on any invasive procedure a doctor or dentist wants to perform. Same applies to dogs, IMHO.

I have been considering a second opinion even tho I really like our vet.  I don't see where it can hurt! 

Definitely a ramp would be a great help whether you decide on letting her heal on her own or you have the surgery done.  Max can't do a lot of stairs because of his neck.  My husband built a ramp off our deck for him and it makes his life so much easier.  The only time he does stairs is to come up to bed at night.  He never was overly confident with stairs and now that he is almost 13 it's a real struggle for him.  I can't carry him...I have had back surgery.  We are installing carpet stair treads this weekend. 

If you want to look into acupuncture for pain relief I can attest that it really helps..at least for Max and his neck and me and my back.

I would get a second opinion from an orthopedic vet.

She can, but the arthritis will be WAY worse if you don't do the surgery.  Seanna has tore both her rear ACLs and had surgery both times- she is now 7 and you could never tell there was anything wrong with her.

I decided not to have the surgery for Milly. She was five at the time. I did a lot of research and learned that under 30 lbs, they can recover without but it's a lot of work. It took about six months and then as predicted she had trouble with her other leg. Altogether about a year. I added gloucasamin and chondriotin plus fish oil to her daily regime. After a couple of weeks of forced rest, we started with very short walks and worked up. Seeing her now, you wouldn't know there were issues. Some day she seems a little sore but she's now 7.5. Good lick whatever you decide!

My vet told me they do have better results with longer legged dogs when I went through this with my Sparty several years ago. Sparty had a partial tear and was very anxious as well as being very difficult with being confined. I decided not to risk surgery as I felt the treatment would have been too stressful for him. He was about 6 at the time. Research indicates that dogs with a torn ccl are very likely to have the other leg go as well. I committed to reducing some of the activities he loved that were likely to injure him further. No more soccer or running long to fetch a ball. Sparty loved catching a ball so we did that instead. After he got better (we restricted jumping and stairs for about a month) he was able to take long walks for many years. He did have arthritis but it was relatively mild. Occasionally we used pain meds. He lived to age 13 when he succumbed  to cancer. It is a difficult decision to make and I doubt there is a perfect solution but this is what we did and it worked out well for us. Best of luck to you!

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