Watchful waiting for dog's ACL injury?
December 4, 2013 5:53 PM Subscribe
Our 40 pound terrier mix injured her ACL yesterday and is badly limping. The vet's advice is ambiguous. I'd like to hear from people whose dogs have had ACL injuries, or people who know more about it than I do.
posted by third rail to Pets & Animals (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yesterday, while chasing a squirrel in the woods, our dog somehow twisted and injured her back right leg. She can't bear weight on it.
The vet suspected an ACL injury right away, and upon examination she confirmed this is indeed the case. She recommended surgery but also said that we could use "conservative management" with pain killers to see if it heals on its own. Managing would entail keeping the dog from running, jumping, etc. for a month.
But then she gave me a printed hand-out that said the surgery had to be done within a week of the injury, and that without surgery, even if the dog seemed to get better and stopped limping, arthritis would set in and "the dog will become lame" within a few months.
Obviously it would be better to wait and manage the injury IF there was a chance the dog could heal that way. of course we'd rather not give make the dog endure this painful surgery which the vet says has a 6-8 week recovery period if it isn't absolutely necessary; it's also thousands of dollars and for a variety of reasons it would be harder for us to support the dog through her recovery over the holidays than it would be later if, it turned out, that the management hadn't worked and she needed it after all.
But, of course, if this is an emergency surgery and if the dog will never be able to walk or run again without it being done immediately we'll do it.
Because I got these two contradictory messages from the vet I would like to hear from anyone whose dog had this injury. What did you do? Did anyone's dog get better on their own? If your dog had the surgery was the recovery period like?
I don't really need answers telling me to ask the vet to clarify. I tried that and got noncommittal answers. We're getting a second opinion from another vet, but in the meantime I would like to hear from people who've been through this with their pet (or from vets or people with knowledge of animal ACL injuries).