An Alternative To Surgery
Without surgery, the lameness caused by a partially torn or ruptured ACL will improve or go away completely in many dogs, especially small ones. You can expect this to happen within three to six weeks. That doesn’t mean sit around and let your dog suffer for a month and a half. They still need special care from you.
Surgery isn’t the only option for healing, and it isn’t right for every situation. There are a number of effective treatments available for a pet with a torn dog ACL. Your vet will take your dog’s lifestyle and energy level into consideration, plus your dog’s weight, age, and size.
Physical Therapy For Injured Dogs
Faith Rubensteins Dakota received physical therapy from Carol Wasmucky, PT, a licensed physical therapist for humans in Herndon, Virginia, who founded Pet Rehab Inc. and works full-time with animals by referral from veterinarians throughout Northern Virginia.
She began Dakotas treatment by measuring his hind legs, one of which had atrophied and was smaller than the other. Our goal, says Rubenstein, was to have both legs measure the same. Dakota and I worked with a holistic veterinarian, who put him on nutritional and herbal supplements, and we did acupuncture as well. I restricted his activity so he was not allowed to run off-leash for six months, and during that time he had regular physical therapy. Dakota wasnt a swimming dog but he became one, for swimming was the perfect exercise for him. After six months, both hind legs were the same 17 inches in girth. He was in great shape, his drawer test results improved to nearly normal, and he didnt need surgery.
Wasmucky, who has worked with thousands of canine patients over the past 10 years, encourages anyone whose dog has a partial tear to use physical therapy to build muscle so that even if surgery has to be performed, the dog goes in and comes out in better shape. This means shorter rehab time, she says, and a faster recovery.
Recover From Acl Surgery For Dogs
The surgery itself is the easy part, the challenging part will fall on you to keep your dog somewhat quiet and still for 6 8 weeks post- op. The first 2 weeks require crate rest. A crate is the only way to ensure no jarring, jumping or pushing off motions from occurring. The post op care is the same no matter which procedure you choose.
We get the easy part of the job, the surgery, and you get the hard part of the job, recovery. If, you choose to come to Helping Hands, your dog will leave our hospital with a knee, good as new. It is you and your pets responsibility to keep it that way.
We perform the lateral suture technique on a regular basis with great success on all sizes and ages of pets. We know having choices is good but can also make the decision for what is best challenging.
Watch the video below to learn about the type of dog ACL surgery we offer:
The only additional fees you may incur would be for Bloodwork, Biopsies or E collars
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Picking Up Irie After Acl Surgery
After what seemed an endless evening, we were at the clinic the next morning to pick up Irie. She came out in perhaps the largest cone Ive ever seen. One of the techs helped us get her to and into the car. Wed prepared the car with a memory foam bed for her.
What we werent quite prepared for , was the size of the incision, which was on the inside of her leg, was undressed, and included a long row of staples.
Once we got Irie home, we fed her a small meal and set about making her comfortable on the floor. She wasnt to do any climbing so that meant no jumping on the bed or couch, her usual places to hang out during the day. And, since my office is upstairs, wed closed off the stairs with a baby gate.
For the first night, wed made a pallet of dog beds on the living room floor. We kept Irie on leash all day, going outside only for potty breaks. That night, I slept with her on the dog beds on the floor with her on leash to make sure she didnt get up in the night.
The first two weeks of Iries recovery were the toughest due to the very strict restrictions during that time. She only went out for bathroom breaks, and remained on leash 24 hours a day. Were so lucky that we both work at home so someone was always available to sit with Irie and keep an eye on her.
What Are The Treatment Options For A Torn Acl In Dogs
Unfortunately, treatment for a torn ACL is not cut and dry. As you can see from the list below, the number of treatment options are through the roof. Your veterinarian will be your best guide in developing a plan based on your dogs specific condition. He or she may talk with you about some of these treatment options:
- Five different surgery options
- Laser treatment
- Dog ACL braces .
Also, treatment options will vary depending on the size of dog and the type of tear . Next, lets discuss the differences between a partial and a complete tear.
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How To Avoid Re
After your dog has made it through surgery and post-op recovery, it is important to avoid a re-injury of the knee. So even after surgery, follow-up visits are necessary to ensure that everything is healing appropriately.
In addition to regular checks by your veterinarian, I often recommend ToeGrips® dog nail grips as an adjunctive therapy for my CCL patients. The non-slip grips fit on a dogs toenails to reduce slip-and-fall injuries by improving traction on hardwood floors. For one account of how ToeGrips helped a senior dog who suffered a cruciate ligament injury, read ToeGrips for Older Dogs: Bigsbys Story.
What Are The Surgical Treatment Options
Surgery is usually the best choice for your dog, as it helps stabilize the knee and reduces the chances of cartilage damage and weakening of the opposite knee. Its important to know your options.
Morrigans knee immediately after surgery. It looks scary, but it healed really quickly, as you can see in the picture below.
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Understanding The Cranial Cruciate Ligament
While you have probably heard of an ACL before, you might not fully understand what this important ligament does.
A dogs cranial cruciate ligament has three critical functions:
Factors Affecting The Cost Of A German Shepherd Puppy
Purebred German Shepherds are one of the most expensive breeds out there, and you may be wondering why. Ive mentioned earlier that pedigree and coat color affects their price, but they arent the only factors that come into play.
Breeders are not only responsible for producing GSD puppies, but they also need to ensure that these pups are healthy and in their best condition before their new owners take them home.
And of course, these medical expenses are not cheap, not to mention purchasing food and other basic needs.
Check out this comprehensive list of factors that affect the cost of a German Shepherd puppy:
Other minor factors can also impact the German Shepherd puppy price. These include the breeders location and the cost of shipping or transport.
Knowing these factors can also help you choose a trustworthy breeder who can offer you a puppy worth its price.
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If You Found This Post Likely Something Bad Just Happened To Your Furry Friend’s Leg
You may be searching for a perfect solution, answers you have not heard yet. Worst case, you may even wonder when to put down a dog with a torn ACL.
First, DON’T euthanasia is NOT the answer for this injury. There are lots of options to help a dog with a torn ACL. Dr. Brumett talks about them in this article.
Let’s see if this sounds similar to your situation…
It’s just like any other day you playing fetch with your dog, or is it?
Normally, you throw the ball, he runs after it, and returns, tail wagging.
YET, today, he doesnt return right away. When you go find him, he’s hopping back, unable to put weight on his rear leg. But he’s still proud to have brought you the ball!
A trip to the vet reveals to you that your dog has suffered a cruciate ligament tear essentially a torn ACL in dogs. Your vet says he needs surgery, but it will cost several thousand dollars. You are also concerned about putting your 10-year-old golden retriever under anesthesia. PLUS, you hear it is very likely they will tear the other ACL within a few years. Sooo…is surgery the ONLY option for an ACL tear in dogs?
A cruciate ligament tear creates an unstable knee in the dog.
It stretches the other ligaments and joint capsule of the knee, which creates a lot of pain, Brumett said.
The dog will experience swelling and great discomfort and wont be able to put any weight on the leg.
Something must be done so what are the other options?
Dog Acl Tear Conservative Treatment
In small dogs who have a comparably small amount of mass to move around, conservative treatment with rest and pain management may be an acceptable approach. Unfortunately, no studies exist that compare this option to others, so it remains up for debate.
In one older study from 1984, less than 20% of dogs over 15 kg had an acceptable outcome when employing conservative management. As a result, surgery is the treatment of choice for most larger dogs. But which surgery? If you put 10 veterinary orthopedic surgeons in a room, youll likely get 11 different opinions! Lets review five surgical treatment options.
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A Torn Acl Can Cost Thousands Of Dollars
Hopefully, you arent caught in this scenario where intensive care is needed for your dog. Torn ACL costs can be expensive, and also make life difficult for your pup if left untreated. Exploring MetLifes dog insurance options can help you plan for this worst case scenario and may offset the cost of surgery and other treatment.1,2
Injury Or Chronic Conditions That Can Lead To Dog Acl Surgery
Above we mentioned that the CCL or cranial cruciate ligament in dogs is the same as the ACL in people. It is responsible for limiting things like over-extending and over-rotating the knee. When an injury or chronic condition leads to a tear, it is known as a cranial cruciate ligament rupture , which is the most common cause of lameness in the hind legs of dogs.
Why this usually occurs is a little different in dogs than in people, too. Though a traumatic injury is the most common reason for ACL tears in people, CCLR in dogs most often happens because of degeneration.
Potential factors for CCL injuries in dogs may include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Excessive slope of the tibia plateau
- Immune-mediated disease
- Bacteria within the joint
Large breed dogs are at the greatest risk for tearing their CCL, with most of these dogs being young to middle-aged females.
However, it is possible for any size, age, sex, and breed of dog to develop a CCLR. And just like in ACL tears for people, acute traumatic ruptures can happen.
Changes that take place in the joint can lead to a loss of healthy cartilage early in a dogs life, resulting in arthritis. For most dogs, if there is a degenerative condition of the CCL, it will eventually lead to a complete tear.
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Treatments That Render The Cranial Cruciate Ligament Redundant
These surgeries alter the geometry of the affected knee joint in such a way that the CrCL is no longer necessary to maintain stability. There are several variations in technique, with all involving reshaping of the top of the shin by cutting of the bone and fixing it in a new position. At Fitzpatrick Referrals, we offer the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy technique.
Diagnosis Of A Canine Torn Ccl
If your dog shows signs of limping for more than a day, its always best to check with your veterinarian. A simple muscle injury can indeed cause limping, and it usually resolves on its own in a few days, so you do have the choice of resting your dog to see if the lameness disappears.
Keep in mind, however, that early diagnosis and treatment of a CCL injury is preferable to waiting for the injury to get worse.
My veterinarian suspected the torn CCL and took X-rays to confirm her thoughts. Its not always easy to identify the tear, particularly if its only partial, so your vet may need to perform additional imaging tests or even an MRI. He or she will also likely perform some manipulation of the knee to determine how its acting.
Once the condition is confirmed, its time to decide how to treat it.
Morrigan was a very active dog, and may have torn her ACL while running or quickly shifting directions.
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Will A Torn Dog Acl Tear To Heal Without Surgery
You can still call the dog’s CCL an ACL if it is easier for you to remember, and your vet will still know what you mean. When discussing the injury with your vet, you should ask whether or not surgery is right for your furry friend. There are a number of different repairing surgeries that may help your dog based on dog breed, age, and size.
Can Acl Tears Be Prevented
Finally, one of the hazards of being a conscientious pet parent is a propensity toward dog parent guilt. When I diagnosed Bailey, my client wanted to know if hed inadvertently contributed to the injury or could have prevented it. You may have the same question.
Cranial cruciate ruptures arent well understood. The causes are multifactorial, as mentioned above. But one risk factor is known and within your controlobesity in dogs!
In one study, obesity quadrupled the risk of a cranial cruciate tear. Keeping dogs slim and fit is certainly helpful in not only preventing cruciate tears but also in preventing many other disease processes. To learn more about keeping your dog fit, please learn how to assess your dogs canine body condition score.
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Cost Of Acl Surgery For Dogs
Our prices for ACL surgery using MMP range from $2,200 – $3,300.
At many animal hospitals, to stabilise a torn ACL in dogs will generally cost between $4,000 – $7,000, and the MMP method is usually between $3,500 – $4,000. With an aim of providing ACL surgery at costs that more pet owners can afford, we offer MMP surgery at great prices. Though our margins are much less than what other hospitals can charge, they only perform 10 to 20 surgeries per year, whilst we perform more than 250 annually. Whilst out margins are thin, we are still able to make more than other hospitals in the area and provide marked savings for our clients. A second benefit is, because we undertake a lot of surgeries for torn ACLs in dogs, we are very good at them!
How Can I Save Money
Talk with at least three different clinics. While most wont be able to get you an exact quote over the phone, they may be able to give you an idea.
Consider the alternatives as you will find this surgery isnt always the best route to take. Be sure to confirm with a professional that the surgery is necessary. Sometimes, rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to see if the knee improves.
Pet insurance policies can cost a few dollars a month and can potentially save you thousands. However, dont wait until the procedure is needed because. like health insurance policies in the past, pre-existing health conditions may prevent you from signing up for a policy.
This surgery can be expensive, and if you cant afford your payments up front or the vet office wont work with you, consider getting a loan with Care Credit. It can only be used for health care services, and you may be able to get little to no interest on your loan. Be sure to read the fine print.
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Is It Possible For A Dog To Recover From A Torn Acl Without Surgery
Yes, its possible for a dog to recover from an ACL tear without surgery. Dogs without treatment or surgical intervention will adapt over time. Over the next few months after the injury, their body will begin to heal and adjust on its own.
However, as previously mentioned, theres a proper way to go about letting their ACL naturally heal, and a less than ideal way thatll more than likely lead to future complications. The way to give your dog the best chance at a full recovery without surgery is to get them a custom-fit orthotic knee brace.