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Thread: ACL recovery without surgery? (Partially torn ACL). **Update** he's doing great!

  1. #1
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    ACL recovery without surgery? (Partially torn ACL). **Update** he's doing great!

    I haven't been on Pet Talk in quite a while but wanted to see if anyone else had success with no surgery for a partially torn ACL.

    Vallis (who's 8.5) tore his ACL about 5 weeks ago. The vet said that some smaller dogs can recover with rest, but he might need surgery. Our other dog Marta has had surgery on both legs for ACL repair, so I know what the process is like, but Vallis had a very bad reaction to anesthesia when he was neutered (he had seizures and had to stay at the ER vet). I'd prefer not to do surgery because I don't know how well he'd react to the anesthetic.

    He's been on crate rest for 5 weeks or so (actually, it's a pen so he can move around but not jump) and initially he had rimadyl and a pain medicine. He doesn't seem to need either of them now and has made a lot of improvement. He walks normally now, but I can see a limp when he tries to run (he is on a leash, so he can't go far, luckily). He had a re-check at the vet last week and they said 4 more weeks of limited activity.

    Even though he has made a great deal of improvement, I'm worried that once he actually starts to be more active he will injure his leg again. Is no surgery actually an option? Has anyone had success with this?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Pembroke_Corgi; 09-11-2013 at 08:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    A few years ago Zoee was diagnosed with a "possible" torn ACL. I found a site that told about recovery without surgery. With the help of my amazing mother, Zoee went on basically no activity for a few months. Then she began to take slow walks a couple of times each day. Along with some water therapy (my mom has a pool and Zoee loves to swim). Eventually she was allowed to be more active with close supervision.
    Zoee spent the entire year of 2012 at my moms house. She'd have good days where she wouldn't limp at all then she'd have bad days. We brought her home this last Xmas and I thought we had wasted a year with her at my moms because she was still limping pretty bad again. Then for about a week she was actually having a hard time getting up and was limping on BOTH back legs. I upped her cosequin tablets to two a day and now she hardly ever limps!
    At our last vet visit the vet said she was too skinny. I told her about her leg and how well she's doing on it now and the vet said maybe the weight loss has also helped. So she is fine with the weight but we don't want her to lose anymore.
    Zoee is 8 1/2 years old, but she is back to playing and sounding like she's tearing her brother apart in the backyard. We still have days where she limps a little. But nothing like it was. She used to sometimes not even use the leg at all.

    So, it is possible, but does take time, patience and consistency.

    Here is the site we used for info and ideas: http://tiggerpoz.com/
    Our goal in life should be - to be as good a person as our dog thinks we are.

    Thank you for the siggy, Michelle!

    Cindy (Human) - Taz (RB Tabby) - Zoee (Australian Shepherd) - Paizly (Dilute Tortie) - Taggart (Aussie Mix) - Jax (Brown & White Tabby)

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info! It's encouraging to hear that your dog has made a recovery without surgery.

    Marta's surgeries actually worked really well and the total recovery time was only a few months. She's 10.5 and has no pain or problems in her back legs (though I still don't let her do any major jumping). But, I'm afraid that Vallis wouldn't do well because of his previous experience with anesthesia, since after he was neutered he starting having seizures and nearly stopped breathing.

    I took a look at the site you gave me, and Vallis' leg has made a lot of improvement over 4 weeks, which is good. He doesn't limp anymore while walking, but it looks like he may need to be restricted for longer than 8 weeks.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pembroke_Corgi View Post

    He's been on crate rest for 5 weeks or so (actually, it's a pen so he can move around but not jump) and initially he had rimadyl and a pain medicine. He doesn't seem to need either of them now and has made a lot of improvement. He walks normally now, but I can see a limp when he tries to run (he is on a leash, so he can't go far, luckily). He had a re-check at the vet last week and they said 4 more weeks of limited activity.
    I've had this experience with Maggie (black lab mix who was 5yrs at the time). Did your Vet discontinue the Rimadyl or did you chose to discontinue it?

    Rimadyl is a pain med but it also is a anti inflamitory that help the muscle heal while the dog rests. It may be better to continue with it at a reduced dosage. Even thought
    the dog walks better doesn't mean the muscle isn't still inflamed & sore. It's very possible to re-injure the leg with exercise. It is possible to heal up with out surgery (my Vet
    said (her Golden did) and Maggie can even run now with out limping afterwards. I almost hate to write how well she healed b/c I don't want to jinx her. I wish you the best
    of luck with Vallis.


    http://petoftheday.com/talk/showthre...ghlight=maggie
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizbud View Post
    I've had this experience with Maggie (black lab mix who was 5yrs at the time). Did your Vet discontinue the Rimadyl or did you chose to discontinue it?

    Rimadyl is a pain med but it also is a anti inflamitory that help the muscle heal while the dog rests. It may be better to continue with it at a reduced dosage. Even thought
    the dog walks better doesn't mean the muscle isn't still inflamed & sore. It's very possible to re-injure the leg with exercise. It is possible to heal up with out surgery (my Vet
    said (her Golden did) and Maggie can even run now with out limping afterwards. I almost hate to write how well she healed b/c I don't want to jinx her. I wish you the best
    of luck with Vallis.


    http://petoftheday.com/talk/showthre...ghlight=maggie
    Good point. With Zoee we did continue the Rimadyl for probably 4 or 5 months in the beginning. Then slowly weaned her off.
    Our goal in life should be - to be as good a person as our dog thinks we are.

    Thank you for the siggy, Michelle!

    Cindy (Human) - Taz (RB Tabby) - Zoee (Australian Shepherd) - Paizly (Dilute Tortie) - Taggart (Aussie Mix) - Jax (Brown & White Tabby)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taz_Zoee View Post
    Good point. With Zoee we did continue the Rimadyl for probably 4 or 5 months in the beginning. Then slowly weaned her off.

    Yeah, but as I said I hate to talk/brag too much about it for fear I'll somehow jinx her steady progress. The only downside, If you can call it that,
    was Maggie had to have blood drawn every 3-4 months to check her liver stats while she was on full dosage (100mg) 2 x per day. Later reduced to
    1/2 (50mg) 2x per day, then down to 1/2 (50mg) once a day.
    I've Been Boo'd

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    Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
    — Charles Mackay, Scottish journalist, circa 1841

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizbud View Post
    I've had this experience with Maggie (black lab mix who was 5yrs at the time). Did your Vet discontinue the Rimadyl or did you chose to discontinue it?

    Rimadyl is a pain med but it also is a anti inflamitory that help the muscle heal while the dog rests. It may be better to continue with it at a reduced dosage.
    He was on rimadyl for 4 weeks (he also has another pain medicine that was "as needed") and the vet said I could discontinue and just give as needed as he continues to rest.

    Thanks for the information and thread about Maggie! I'm glad to see that others have had success with this.

  8. #8
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    Update

    I just thought I would give an update in case anyone else had a similar issue. Vallis is much better after a few months of crate rest/modified crate rest. His limp is completely gone and he seems perfectly fine. We have even been on a few hikes in the mountains and he's done great. I'm really relieved he is so much improved.

  9. #9
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    Great update! Thank you for letting us know!

    As it happens, my neighbor was asking about ACL issues earlier this week. I will send her the link to this thread!
    Thank you Karen, for fixing my siggy!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pembroke_Corgi View Post
    I just thought I would give an update in case anyone else had a similar issue. Vallis is much better after a few months of crate rest/modified crate rest. His limp is completely gone and he seems perfectly fine. We have even been on a few hikes in the mountains and he's done great. I'm really relieved he is so much improved.
    Wonderful!!
    Our goal in life should be - to be as good a person as our dog thinks we are.

    Thank you for the siggy, Michelle!

    Cindy (Human) - Taz (RB Tabby) - Zoee (Australian Shepherd) - Paizly (Dilute Tortie) - Taggart (Aussie Mix) - Jax (Brown & White Tabby)

  11. #11
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    Such good news, especially as we know how much your family enjoys its hikes - and where you live, anyone would!
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  12. #12
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    Wonderful news. Thanks for the update.
    I've Been Boo'd

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    Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
    — Charles Mackay, Scottish journalist, circa 1841

  13. #13
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    Thanks! We're glad he's doing better too.

  14. #14
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    I'm so glad he's doing better! I have to say I'm not a big fan of rimadyl long term because it's hard on the liver. Tramadol is basically the same thing but not hard on the liver.
    Krista : Buster : Coonhound : Rudy : Airedale Terrier x : Dixie : Schnauzer/Terrier X : Miagi : Tabby : Tiger : Tabby/Bengal X : Angel : Russian Blue X

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