Here I am with my woes about Milly and her possible torn acl. I have not been able to take her to the vet for x-rays yet because my father was in the hospital and then when he finally got out, I was involved in a car accident. In addition to other issues, I don't have a car at the moment:( So I did not get a firm diagnosis yet but this past weekend I met a vet that was visiting someone in the neighbourhood. She said to get the firm diagnosis Milly would need to be sedated however in her opinion, she thinks it is a torn or partially torn ligament. Milly doesn't seem to be in pain but she definitely favours her hind leg.
Continuing our conversation, I mentioned in my research that many vets don't recommend surgery for dogs that are less than 30 lbs (Milly is 24 lbs and 5 yrs old). She agreed that in smaller breeds, restricted activity, supplements and the dog should be fine in a few months without medically treatment. Has anyone chosen not to have the surgery for their fur babies? What has been your experience? I don't want Milly to be in pain and I certainly don't want any long terms issues with this leg not getting immediate treatment but life just sometimes gets in the way unexpectedly.
Thanks for that. I had two vets tell me she needed to be sedated. The first is her regular vet who said he didn't feel the drawer movement when he examined her. She did show some pain in that area but he said she was strong and stoic and he could not tell for sure especially since she snapped at him when he checked her other leg although there are no issues there. The other was the vet who told me that in a more social situation just by looking at Milly's gait she thought there might be a acl tear but she would have to be sedated to tell for sure. Did they give you any other information but early arthritis if you didn't have the surgery? I have started her on fish oil and will start on glucosamine as soon as I can get to the health food store.I just hate to see her limping around, it breaks my heart!
I have a friend who didn't even take her dog to the vet and she was limping on both hind legs (first one and shortly after the other). She thought that she would have to put her dog to sleep but after several months, she is back to normal with absolutely no intervention. Is this common?
By the way, how is Percy doing? I wish him a speedy recovery and that he gets back to fraping really soon :)
Percy didn't exhibit any pain at all upon exam. The vet (two of them actually) noted the drawer movement They really didn't tell me anything else other than early arthritis. Percy is doing pretty well. The scar is ugly and he is not weight bearing yet but he's up and around and seems pretty normal for the most part. He definitely doesn't like to be restricted and it's hard to keep him from jumping up. He's made it to the couch several times now. :)
I know what you mean about feeling sad to see them limp. I feel the same way!
Snickers is 5 years old and 22.5 pounds. When we first went in after Snickers started limping, my vet said he could not be sure without sedation and an xray. She refused to show pain when he examined the knee. I asked him at that time about letting it heal on its own and he also said that it would result in arthritis. Whatever you end up doing, keep Milly from running, jumping or climbing stairs. In the period of time between Snicker's partially tearing her ACL and her surgery, I believe she tore it much worse. The surgeon said it was just hanging on by a thread. She is doing really well and gets her staples out Tuesday.
Facing similar situation with Al. He apparently hurt his knee on a long backpacking trip, jumping fallen logs on a stretch of rough neglected trail. He showed no problems for 7 long fast miles after that. Nothing apparent until next day, when he woke up ... tired, or just not his usual self. He did not limp, but quickly faded. I carried him out 17 miles in an improvised sling. He could still walk quite fast, but showed an occasional skip/limp. Took me quite awhile to recognize that it was his left rear leg.
Our breeder said that dogs are very good at hiding pain. She was emphatic: keep him strictly crated/confined until we get a diagnosis, No stairs or activity, only minimal potty walks on-leash in the yard, carry over steps. He's on Rimadyl for now. Fortunately, she knows the local vets and surgeons and radiologists. This is when a dependable breeder really counts. We're awaiting final diagnosis.
Sorry to hear about Al. We recently went through it with Ricky-Rafa. It was a tough decision but once the ACL tear was diagnosed, we went ahead with the surgery. Both Snickers and RR had their tears around the same time. Both seem to be doing very well post-surgery. Wish you guys the best. It's hard.
Please keep us posted. We all love Al.
Kudos to you John for carrying him 17 miles!! Shows what true love you guys share!!
May I ask how you will get the diagnosis? Will Al be sedated? The problem I get is I feel that they vets right away go for the worse case scenario, sedation, x-rays and then talk about surgery no other options.
I really wish I could figure out how much pain she is in. I got Metacom from the vet as an anti-inflammatory but then I learned that this is only available in Canada and not the best medicine available. I paid a lot for it and don't want to throw it out but I don't want to give Milly something that will hurt her either. Grrrrr, if only they could talk!
We got Metacam for Ricky-Rafa. It's available at our CA vet and also from veterinary catalogs at lower prices with a prescription. It worked well initially, but then over time became less efficient. R/R is 2 and the decision to do the surgery was postponed several times because he did seem to be getting better. Over time, it became clear that his limp was worsening and surgery seemed the best solution. He's doing quite well. Dogs are very tough and tolerate a lot of pain w/o complaint. I'm glad we had the surgery done. It was awful seeing him limp. The hardest part now is confining him. He wants to run and play w/ Lucy. He definitely wants to jump and it's hard containing his enthusiasm even on a short lead. Good luck to all of you. We love our dogs so and want to make the right decision. So many opinions re. doing or not doing the surgery abound. It's daunting.
Vet did X-ray without sedation. Got radiologist's report yesterday, not as bad as I'd feared:
no bone damage, possible cartilage damage, no obvious CCL rupture, possible partial tear... in other words: inconclusive. Possible narrowing of L5-L6 disc, possible subluxating patella (gosh I'm so smart, I can make it sound like I know what this stuff means). I'll talk to our breeder again tonight; she may want a 2nd opinion. She asked for the name of the radiologist, knows the surgeons... knows people who've been through this. She warned that dogs hide pain well, will not necessarily limp with a torn CCL (your description of Milly fits Al; on a trial walk at the end of the evacuation, he walked briskly down the trail, keeping up with me easily, with just an occasional skip/hop). Also, if he did suffer a trauma in the bad part of the trail, he zoomed 7 miles afterwards with no indication of trouble until next morning.
Al's been on Rimadyl 5 days. Tramadol day2-3 postinjury but I stopped that since he seemed to be feeling OK. He can definitely get around -- I got careless twice, and he chased a squirrel and jumped onto the bed, exactly what our breeder warned against; we don't want to give him a chance to exacerbate it.
Good luck with Milly. I'll ask our breeder if she knows what consequences of delay might be. It would be really hard to nurse a sick dog when you're hurt yourself. Al weighs 23.5; feels like 30. I'd expect a lot of lifting/carrying (we have 5 steps to get outside).