My 9-year-old, 90-pound goldie just had surgery today to repair the ligament that holds her knee in place. She will be home on Saturday and recuperating for up to 12 weeks. The vet says no walks, no visits from people or dogs (because she is a puppy at heart and gets very excited about company), no play, no activity of any kind except to do her duty.
If you have experience with this surgery on a large, energetic dog, I'd love to hear from you. Ideas about how to keep her quiet but also avoid lethargy (both hers and mine), how to manage her physically (I don't have another person in the house, and she is too big for me to pick up)...anything. Thanks!
My aunt and uncle had the same surgety done to their Wannerheimer(sp) last year. She was 8 years old at the time, and had to have it done to both back legs (at different times 5 months apart). She also loved company and was very active, but it was important to keep her off her leg as each one healed. They carried her up and down the stairs, and put her on and off the bed. Unfortunately, all I can tell you is that they kept her pretty much doped up for the first couple of weeks after each surgery. But she is as good as new now, and runs on the beach with the best of them.
I feel for you, as I know that surgery is not cheap. It's great that you think enough about your pet to do whatever it takes. I personally had to give my 9 year old Lab 2 insulin shots a day when he was diagnosed with diabetes, until he died a year later.
My brother's 8 year old Black Lab just had this done this past Friday 5/6/11, she tore her stitches out the vet had to put in staples in over the stitches & so they are giving my brother sedatives for her at least he has insurance on her. Some of you might want to consider having it on your pets.
Boy that's a tough one, I could'nt keep my 17 year old son off his leg when he broke it and now it's healed very wrong.
My border collie had that ligament problem too, twice, but miraculously healed both times. ( although he has arthritis now)
It seems mean but for his own good so he doesn't reinjure his leg- what about keeping him on a fairly long leash- and close, and give him a big big non-fattening bone to chew on?
This is the only thing I could think of- if I had to immobilize my canines- a leash would be the only way because there is no other way they would stay in one place. And a really delicious bone would keep them occupied (at least for awhile!)
Dorsi, I am so sorry to hear about your son, and I wish him well. It is hard for teens to understand that the choices they make today will have an impact on the rest of their lives. They are so busy feeling immortal.
Thanks for the suggestion about the bone. I hadn't thought about a bone, because I caught CinCin choking on a piece of one not too long ago, and haven't wanted to give her another chance to make me fish down her throat to get it out. I think I will try again, but maybe another kind and only when supervised.
About the leash, she has to be on a leash because I live in a town home community where that's the rule. So she will be out of the house only for her necessities. Meanwhile, I've called my neighbors and asked them to please stay away when we are outside. My girl is a jumper. She won't jump on you, she just jumps for joy when she sees a human. And that would be the end of the surgery and maybe the other hind leg as well.
Best regards, ST.
As an item of interest, today this thread made google's page 1 returns for the key word phrase "ACL surgery large dog".
Best of luck for your dogs recovery,
I had a very energetic 50 pound dog that once had 75 stitches
that bugger would NOT sit still after 24 hours, I literally had to leash him to the couch, I kid you not-
I would recommend a kennel or crate, or to leash him inside. the important thing is to keep him quiet and bones can help with this too.
I have used herbal supplements on another dog I had - after surgery, I believe it aided her recovery quite a bit. I really liked Tom, the guy who owns this company, because he seemed to care more about my dog - than making a sale to me.
http://www.dogcancerinfo.com/Pet-Health … ts-s/1.htm
Another thing I tried was to take frequent short walks, and put a dog bed next to my desk, ( an leashed him to the desk)
this went on for 3-4 weeks,
for dog care, try making a ramp or use a stool as a step to a bed or couch, this way you can easly reach your dog for care and cleaning of wound areas (plus they like it)
ArtCantHurtU, thanks so much for your thoughtful post.
I checked out the link, and I am very impressed with the range of products and information offered and the layout of the site. I'll give it a closer look later on today.
The ramp idea is a good one. CinCin needs frequent trips to the vet for a while, and of course I can't lift her into the car and she's not supposed to jump up or down. A ramp would help.
Since she is mostly very quiet in the house, I don't think I need a kennel. Her biggest activity (so long as no one comes to the door!), is to get up to eat and drink, and to follow me around. Once I park myself at my desk, she's right there on the carpet beside me.
Here are some good links about Dogs having surgery and what aides their recovery.
http://i.nconspicuo.us/2007/03/13/the-r … y-in-dogs/
http://www.botanicaldog.com/products.php?cat=80 (info about a propduct to help skin heal from surgery and hot spots)
www.bchumane.org/articles/20051123_Keep … aysOff.pdf -
this link is a story of a lab that had knee surgery and how they recovered.
Hope this helps!! Marisue
Marisue, thanks for the great info!
I especially found comfort in the lab story (the PDF document), even though the poor doggie blew out the other ligament, and there's a very good possibility CinCin will do the same. Thank goodness my dog is not as wild as that one!
Aid 4 Animals (Gabi), thank you so much for responding with this excellent information and advice.
Tomorrow will be 1 week since surgery. Yesterday's checkup and bandage removal at the vet went very well! Cin is "toe-touching", there are no fluid pockets or infection around the incision, and her spirits seem good. Stitches will come out next week.
Now we are in for the long haul, right? "Strict rest" for up to 45 more days.
The ramp is a necessity, and I will take care of that before we have to get back in the car for next week's vet visit. I've been using the "Bottom's Up" rear end harness and also the beach towel sling to get her in and out of the car (no, I can't manage the lifting myself, so my neighbors and daughter have been helping). But the ramp is what we really need. I think it would be less stressful for her, and give me more independence.
You are so right about it being the hospital's job to get her in and out of the car. I wish I could take those wonderful assistants and technicians home with me to help on this end!
I did talk with the vet about Benedryl, but when I described Cin's overall behavior and the close, quiet environment she's in, he didn't seem to think she needed it. Her "activity" issue is triggered only when she sees another human or dog. She would need the Benedryl only for those occasions, and dosing would be difficult or impossible to time effectively. However, I will talk to him about it again, because the round-trip to the vet's is about 2 1/2 hours, she seems to be stressed in the car (panting, whining), and when we get to the vet's it's hard to keep her calm with all the dogs and people around.
I so admire the excellent work you and your fellow professionals perform. Your matter-of-fact approach, technical expertise, and compassion are helping me get through this. I can be an emotional wreck about this dog, and just watching the staff at the vet's go about their jobs in such an expert way is very calming to me. A heart-felt thanks to all of you!
Along with all the advice here about keeping CinCin quiet I would highly recommend putting her on a calorie reduced diet food (if you haven't done it already). Medi-Cal or Science Diet both have excellent weight reducing formulas.
If a dog's cruciate ligament fails on one side due to regular wear and tear as opposed to a major injury or accident then there's a 30% chance the cruciate in the other knee will fail also.
One of the ways to help prevent this is to keep your dog on the lean side. The less weight your dog carries, the less stress on the ligament.
This can be difficult with certain types of Goldens.
I'm sure the Vet already talked to you about this but it doesn't hurt to repeat it. With CinCin on strict bed rest, you'll definitely have to cut back her food drastically. The great thing about the diet food is that it is really filling for the dog to eat but contains less calories.
Also once the period of strict rest has ended CinCin should be put on a physio routine. Her muscles will be weak and less supportive of the knee (on both sides). Gradual exercise and targeted exercises for cruciate repair should be done to ensure as successful a recovery as possible.
We used to see so many cruciate tears when I worked in the Rocky Mountains. It became almost a routine surgery. The dogs had so much extra stress placed on their knees running up and down the steep mountains that the ligament would eventually fail.
Good luck with her recovery!
Oh and honey has a natural sedative effect on dogs. If you need a little extra help calming her for the car ride just lace some bread in honey about 30-40 minutes before you leave.
RFox, thank you so much for adding your expertise to this thread.
You are so right about Cin needing to lose weight. She lost 15 pounds since I adopted her a year ago, and she has at least another 10 to go. I noticed that her appetite is about 75% of what it was before surgery. She is on the Science Mature Adult 7+ foods, but I'll talk to my vet about making a change. I'll also talk to him about targeted exercises, and do you have a resource about these exercises that you would recommend?
I like the honey tip. I bet she'll like it too!
Again, thanks so much!
Unfortunately, I don't have a resource on hand for the exercises. I don't work in Vet Hospitals anymore. If you have any Hydrotherapy clinics in your area these are great for exercise post surgery. They provide muscle exercise without any weight bearing problems.
Any exercises should be cleared with your Vet and begin after the mandatory rest period of course.
Hydrotherapy is great for weight loss too!
We've had to give Simon Benadryl sometimes for his allergies, and it really helps him calm down.
I hope the injury heals well, like I said Simon injured both his legs at different times, and I have an ongoing battle with my husband about Simons weight (dad likes to feed him lots of treats) which is harder on his legs.
Good luck with your furbaby.
To all of you who have contributed so much knowledge and heart-felt caring to my question, here's an update.
Cin is doing well. No infection in her incision, and she's putting a little more weight on her operated knee every day. She will get her stitches out this Thursday coming, and I am looking forward to a good prognosis.
Meanwhile, the challenge is always there to keep her quiet, and to get her comfortably into the car.
Aid 4 Animals, you suggested a "jury-rigged" ramp. You were so right in your thoughts about what a commercial ramp costs...for the size of my dog and the height of my SUV, we need an 84-inch ramp, costing about $200.
My cousin had a great suggestion. She said, find a place like a wall or a hill where you can back the car up and get the dog in that way. Well, I found that place, only about 50 feet from my front door. And my neighbor just happens to have a steel bar reinforced piece of wood (about 20 inches wide) that her dad made for her doggie to go up and down short steps (this doggie also had ACL surgery). We will use that piece of wood to bridge the gap between the "hill" I have found and the back door of the SUV. Thank you Aid 4 Animals!
RFox, I found a hydrotherapy clinic only 6 miles from my home. I've talked with them, and we'll set up a program after Cin's stitches are out and she gets the OK by the vet. By the way, Cin HATES water. It's a thing from her childhood. She's a retriever, but she will not put even a paw in the water, and hates sprinklers and hoses. The hydrotherapy folks will work with that fear.
Things are looking good right now, thanks to the help of all of you!
Warmest regards, ST.
Update on Cin's Recovery...
It's now been a little more than two months since surgery. Her checkups are good, she walks funny (with her knee pointed outward), but all is going as expected and the outward turning is common, according to the vet.
We started taking 5 minute walks, two times a day, this past Wednesday. Cin is eager for this time out, but she also stumbles from time to time. Not to worry, says the vet.
Taking rides in the car is still not an option, even with the hill and the rigged ramp. I can get her into and out of the car here, but if we have a destination away from home, she must remain in the car, unless we have a vet tech or two who can lift her out.
Her progress is so good, the vet says, that the 5 minute walks, increasing to 10 minutes next week, should do the trick down the road. No hydrotherapy needed.
She's been more or less housebound for two months, and that will continue for another six weeks. But you know what? It's all worth it. She's getting better, continuing to lose weight (she's now down to about 83 pounds, from 105 just a year ago, with at least 5 more to go), and her spirits (and poops and pees) are excellent.
What I need right now is a groomer to come to the house, yes, a house call! Cin hasn't had a bath in months and still does not have the stamina to stand for an hour for a bath and a blow dry. But she has a mat under her right ear that has to be removed by a professional.
Anybody know a groomer who makes house calls around Doylestown, PA?
Again, thanks so much for all of your thoughtful comments and suggestions.
One more thing, RFox...the vet says the chance of a cruciate tear on the other leg is about 60 percent. So much to look forward to!
Sad case, but I would still have small amounts on interaction, but make sure your Goldie stays lying down or w\e position is best for it. Physically moving it up and down the stairs would be complicated if you can't lift it lol, that you need to get a friend or something to do.
O well, best of luck with the recovery for it ^_^
thranax, you hit the nail on the head! Small amounts of interaction.
Cin had two small interactions with people today, both of which were very good. No jumping, no rearing on her part, and so, no stressing her knee.
Thanks for your support. Cin and I both need it.
I have a 2 year old Border Collie who is going in to have ACL surgery next Thursday. I have many concerns about this. He is a sport dog, agility, flyball, dock diving and just hard palyin' dog. My vet was telling me this morning that he will need to be on lead activity only for six months. I really don't know how I will be able to do that. Has anyone been through this? Any suggestions?
Glad to hear your dog is on the mend! The 'keeping calm' part can be a real challenge, esp. for big, powerful playful dogs like yours. Wolfgang tops out at about 110lbs. and while a lazy lump in the house, lives to pull and play outside.
tksensei - Noticed the pix. Spitz? Samoyed? Beautiful! Tomorrow morning (6/30/09) my dog goes for ACL surgery on his left knee. 3 years ago the right knee was done. I arrived home after my first total knee replacement and Sammy got so excited he took a tumble down the steps and tore his ACL. Meds for 2 weeks and then surgery. Boy did I feel for him! We shared some physical therapy and physical misery! He was a 12 year old American Eskimo. Now he is 15, and the vet said at his age we could opt not to do surgery. But on pain meds and anti-inflamatories for 10 days now I saw him fall down the steps too many times. He is active and must have the ability to get around. A doggie door, deck, and steps lead to the back yard. Surgery was a difficult decision and it will be difficult to keep him down, but I have done it before. My main concern is his age and surviving the surgery. But he is in good health and the vets are optimistic. I want him to have good use of his legs for the year or two he has left. One thing that changed is he never again got on the couch or the bed. He sleeps on the bed I gave him after his first surgery. Maybe his is due for a new one. Thanks all for listening.
I realized after rambling on about Sammy's upcoming vet visit for ACL surgery that I did not give the info about Sammy's first surgery. Limited activity was attained by leashing in the house, with controlled multiple outside breaks. The drugs helped at first too. It is when they start feeling better that it is hard to keep them down. A favorite chew toy or bone can keep them occupied. As I mentioned previously, I provided Sammy with a large soft bed of his own and he never got on the couch or bed again. (That is where he had always slept.) He seemed to take comfort that the bed was his alone (at the time 2 more dogs and 5 cats also shared this home), it was low, and I can still tell him to go to bed and he settles in. A special place of his own was key. Glad CinCin is doing well. Sammy needs to take off a few pounds post surgery, which should be helpful in his recovery. Thanks for all the info. Hope mine helped. Luck to all!
My 15 year old dog Sammy had surgery to repair his ACL yesterday. He came through the surgery pretty well even with his advanced age. But he sure had a rough night, and bad day today. He is taking his pain meds and antibiotics, but is still in a lot of pain. Since I have had total knee replacements in both knees, I know how he feels. Prognosis is good for his use of the leg for the remainder of his life. Once he heals and becomes more active I may have to go with the leashing in the house to keep him quiet. Right now that is not a problem. More later.
As I have reported, Sammy is on the mend. I wish I could take the pain away. He has fought going out but pees OK when he does. But he has not eaten anything but some canned food which is used to disguise the pills. I am hoping that by tomorrow morning he will be willing to eat a real meal and get his system working. I have a retired brother that lives with me and he said that Sammy whined for me by the front door for quite a while today while I was at work. He seemed to settle down when I came home. I am off tomorrow and can spend the day right with Sammy. He is an American Eskimo which shares the looks of the Samoyed and Spitz but smaller. I have a female American Eskimo named Sadie. All my animals are rescues. Sammy had a bad first year and a half. But I have had him for over 13 years now. He was rescued with another dog that just passed in February. I called him Hobo. Sadie was rescued almost 11 years ago. She was being used as a "football"!
My Dalmation's name is Sammy! Well, actually it's Samson, but we call him Sammy. He's a pure-bred Dalmation but he's not white with black spots like you see on Disney. He is what they call a "liver-dal"...brown with a white patch on his chest with liver colored spots. His paws are the same as well.
Well, glad to hear he is getting better. I remember when Wolfgang was still a pup and he started growing too fast and had terrible pain in one leg. The vet put him on some pain meds. Watching an animal suffer is particularly sad because they often can't fully understand what's happening to them.
Thanks for your good wishes, tksensei. It helps to have support through this. They are family!
Hi, onthewriteside! Sammy coming from a regal name like
Samson is great! My Sammy already had his name. I was at the SPCA to put in a claim for a dog (VERY long story) and this guy came in with a rope around the dog's neck lifting his front end off the floor screaming at him and dragging him across the floor. He got to the counter and said the dog was useless. They asked age and if he had a name. He said 1 1/2 and Sammy. After he was gone and they took Sammy back, I told the person at the counter that I would take him too! That was March 1996.
People like that just piss me off. My Sammy was a part of a litter of 9. The people who owned his parents bred Dalmations. 7 were "normal" white with black spots, but Samson and his sister were "Liver Dals" and considered "of no value". So I got him for free. He has been a great dog, despite the fact he requires a lot of personal attention...even at 11 years old.
My sister almost took Sammy's "valueless" sister as a puppy, but instead opted to rescue a collie- mix from the pound. She's about the same age as Samson, and had a leg that was apparently broken at birth and was never set properly (which has been giving her problems in her later life). But the Vet has told my sister that to try to fix it now would be basically a waste of money. I don't buy that...
How are his eyes? I've heard Dalmations tend to have issues there.
Update: Sammy - Surgery was on Tues to repair torn ACL. This is Saturday. Doing well. Getting back to normal except for non use of the repaired leg. Less pain. Cut back on pain meds but still giving them. He goes out the doggie door by himself now to the deck and down the steps to the yard. Getting back to harrassing the cats when they walk by. Face shows less stress. Back to eating some dry dogfood. Even at 15 I think this surgery can be very helpful in certain circumstances. Definitely needs to be heavily discussed with your vet, but can be very successful. Will post more of the recovery later, and what I may have to do to curb his activitity.
More follow up on Sammy after his surgery to repair the torn ACL in his knee. At 15 his recovery is a little slower but he is doing well. We had an incident two days ago that I thought important enough to mention. Nobody ever tells you these things, but because of the surgery he could not get in the right position to make stool. And with the pain meds that backed him up he had not gone for several days after the surgery. Granted he was not eating much, but... Then two days ago it all moved through his system. What a horrible mess! It was hung up in his long hair and he was in misery. I had to cut away a lot of hair, getting very close to private parts, and try to manually clean him up. With stitches he cannot have a bath. It was an arduous job, but we both came out the other side feeling a lot better! He is no longer on pain meds except a half pill at night. So far keeping him from running and jumping is NOT a problem! Hope this information helps.
We my parents had a Siberian husky puppy back in the early eighties she got hit by a car, which borke her hip. The vet suggested putting her down, but my parents opted to take her to a specialist almost forty miles away. Poor puppy had to wear a full leg cast, which makes me irritated when people hit a dog and just keep on going. This happened to our neighbors also, but that time around the dog died.
I have an older big dog that tore her ACL CCL cruciate crucial ligament tendon joint in her knee. Too old for surgery, and has a very sensitive stomach so she cannot take rimidyl or previcox NSAIDS. She almost died from the Previcox NSAID even though the vet said it was safe. Then I searched online Death by Previcox to find many dogs have died from Previcox.
I do give her lots of supplements, salmon oil, glucosamine, etc from USBones.com a family owned company with natural and holistic pet products made in the USA with USA sourced ingredients.
Has anyone else tried a Dog Knee Brace?
If yes, what was your experience?
Did you use the Dog Knee Brace instead of surgery?
Or did you use a Dog Knee Brace after surgery to protect the joint like insurance?
Grooming. Yes, for long and or fluffy dogs, trim the hair between the legs and around the back end for easy cleaner pee poop breaks. Because I have a very fluffy big dog, I used thinning scissors that I use for my hair, to trim the feathers way down on the back legs. I trim her short between her legs up to her bellybutton so it stays clean and dry in the under carriage area.
If Cin Cin your dog has a knot, you said you need a groomer. You can trim the knot off yourself with scissors, just be careful not to get the skin, so cut off half the knot, then cut off more and more to make sure you don't get the skin. I find with long hair or fluffy dogs, trimming knots as soon as you find them is very important otherwise the knots get bigger. Knots can pull on the dog and be uncomfortable, so keep up with brushing with a rake and or cutting off the knots.
I tried one Dog Knee Brace that had velcro straps and even with my dog hair trimmed down a lot, the velcro stuck together and got all tangled in the hair.
Then I ordered a Posh Dog Knee Brace that does not use velcro straps. Much easier to put on for a long haired dog. When I get it on correctly, it does support the knee so my dog can walk and put more weight on her leg without pain and go walk for about an hour. Without the Dog Knee Brace she can only walk about 10 minutes. So the Posh Dog Knee Brace does help support the knee joint.
I searched online at craigslist for a Pet Ramp. I found a brand new ramp 6 feet long for $25 someone was selling because they had a young dog that didn't use it.
Now she can get in and out of the car now by herself without hurting my back.
I am looking to buy a large Plastic Crate Wagon so we go on longer walks and she can enjoy the scents when her leg gets tired and lay in a towel padded wagon. As I love long walks and she loves being outside so I think a wagon with big wheels to use on trails will keep her happier to be able to still enjoy long walks in nature.
Weight. She cannot eat big commercial pet food, gives her diarrhea and gas, all the cheap wheat, corn, and soy fillers. I want her to love her food, so I buy natural holistic pet food from USBones.com and I also give her fresh or frozen green beans or green peas (avoid canned veggies as salt causes diarrhea), cooked cooled sweet potato slices, banana slices, peach slices, and apple slices. Fruits and veggies are filling and provide natural necessary nutrients that a dog cannot get from big cheap over processed commercial pet food. The cheap big commercial pet food makes most pets fat. To learn about big commercial pet food, read the book Pet Food Pets Die For by a pet food researcher. Best to avoid big commercial pet foods like science diet, iams, purina, hills, eucanuba, grocery store brands, walmart (chinamart) brands, etc. You love your pet, give them great food.
This way she can eat snacks through out the day and not gain weight.
Thanks everyone for sharing. This has been helpful to find solutions for a torn ACL CCL Cruciate Crucial Ligament Knee Joint. I never heard of this before till my big dog started limping and holding up her leg after a hard run. Had I been aware of it, I never would have allowed hard runs or big jumps in her older age.
Here's my experience with an older dog and a torn ACL - when it happened I looked seriously into the different treatment options (mainly different surgeries vs. conservative treatment), and after evaluating her size and age, decided not to put her under the stress of an invasive surgery. She was 10 at the time, is 11 now, and we put her on bed rest with 0 activity (except for going outside to do her business). Obviously no jumping, no running, no playtime, nothing. It was hard, really hard. But we managed to get through it. I did end buying her a knee brace from Ortocanis - http://www.ortocanis.com/en/technical-h … brace.html and used it daily while she was recovering. In my opinion and from anecdotal experience, the brace was essential in helping to stabilize and support the leg as it healed. The brace didn't have any issues of getting stuck in her fur like you mentioned, and she adapted to it almost immediately. Even now I continue to use it now and again, after longer days with more activity than usual, or if I notice her favoring that one leg. I'm a big a fan of the knee brace, I know there are people who aren't but in our case it definitely helped my dog to recover from her injury.
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