Stretched or torn ACL in dog? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-03-2012, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Stretched or torn ACL in dog?

Anyone have any experience with this? I went out to run errands last Friday and came home to my 13 yr old yellow lab limping on his back left leg. I called the vet and got him in right away. Vet said his stifle is loose, and it could be stretched or torn ACL. Instructions are to keep confined and short walks on a leash and we have a recheck this Friday. He is already on Adequan and Previcox for arthritis (which is working because I swear he thinks he is 2 years old). Surgery is an option, but my vet said out of every 10 dogs he sees, he only refers 1 or 2 for surgery, and that most of the time dogs improve with rest and time.

I'm hoping to hear success stories without surgery because at his age it makes me very nervous. There is so much conflicting information on the internet. I don't know why I drive myself crazy researching stuff
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-03-2012, 11:44 PM
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Something similar happened to my Chihuahua. Husband came home, door blew shut with the wind, dogs panicked and ran... next thing we knew the Chihuahua (he's 7yrs old)was limping and holding his back leg up. Took him to the vet - they wanted to do surgery... the cost was $2K. They did an x-ray and could find nothing - but insisted he needed surgery since a ligament just had to be torn.

We did some research online and decided to wait. They gave him some painkillers and after about a week he wasn't much better so I called to set up the surgery... but I couldn't set it up for about 10 days.

Well, about a week later he seemed so much better... and he just continued to improve. I cancelled the surgery and today (this happened about 2 months ago), you would never even know that he hurt his leg. He is 100% back to normal.

From my experience - I would wait on the surgery... I can't believe my vet wanted to do surgery on him and charge me all that money and he healed on his own (just to note - if surgery was absolutely necessary, I would've paid). This is not the first time we have felt our vet trying to charge us for unneeded services - we're looking at other vets.

Good luck! I hope he heals quickly - took our dog 2 weeks to see a real improvement, and it just got better from there.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-03-2012, 11:59 PM
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My BullMastiff stepped in a hole and tore his ACL. He had to have major surgery and now has a plate, screws and all sorts of hardware in there.

The Vet completely botched the surgery and his other leg (which he also ripped his ACL on) is stronger than the "fixed" one. The Vet also left him on a heating pad for hours and he ended up with major, major burns. All the skin on his side peeled away, he still has giant scars from it.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-04-2012, 12:22 AM
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Most dogs under 30lbs who tear their ACL (it's actually called a CCL in dogs) will heal well enough with NSAIDs and rest to not need surgery. With dogs over 30lbs though, it's more of a crapshoot and no telling which dogs will do well with surgery and which without. I think it's worth giving rest a try for a few weeks- if he's not at least improving (not 100%! Just better and getting even better), then reconsider doing surgery.

Delfina- that's horrible! I hope you reported them, that sort of dangerous incompetence shouldn't be allowed to continue.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-04-2012, 12:32 AM
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I have to say I disagree with the "CCL" comment. I am in NY and every hospital I have been to refers to it as an ACL.

In my experience most of the dogs who tear their ACL are overweight. The more overweight they are the more severe and persistent the problem is likely to be. If he is overweight getting him to lose the excess weight might help quite a bit.

Surgery really isn't an option I would do immediately if it were my dog- I would want to see if rest and anti-inflammatories would do the trick first. If those didn't work I would most likely evaluate how much money I had, versus the age of the dog, along with how much discomfort I thought the dog was in.

I have a Shetland Sheepdog who is 13 years old. She has what is likely to be a torn meniscus. We held off on the MRI our vet suggested (even though the vet is completely trustworthy) because I don't want to put such an old dog through the anesthesia an MRI would require...and because an MRI would be thousands of dollars before even getting a diagnosis.

An older dog is going to take more time to recover and will have a harder time with anesthesia IMO...and that isn't even taking into account the surgery itself that will cause him pain and discomfort until it heals.

Her leg definitely does bother her some but we are treating it day by day. Right now we just found out she has Splenic Nodules and thickening in her intestinal lining which may or may not be cancer so obviously now any surgery for the meniscus is not our primary concern.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be ****ed if you do, and ****ed if you don't. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-04-2012, 01:07 AM
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ACL, anterior cruiate ligament in any living thing doesn't heal itself, impossible. However the scar tissue can resemble a fusion until it's under stress again, that's where the problems begin & surgery is probably the only option. So I would let the dog be, see if this happens, then just watch him for a re-occurance of pain.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-07-2012, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to give an update. He is still limping but much improved. We went to the vet yesterday for a 1 week follow up and the vet says his stifle is already more stabilized and is thrilled with his progress. Going to continue with the Previcox and do another loading dose of Adequan. He also gets 4 GlycoFlex 3 treats a day. Leash walks only for at least the next month.

He is not overweight and for his age he is still very physically fit. The hardest part of all of this is keeping him calm because he just wants to go go go!
bigbayboy is offline  

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