Conservative Management for torn ACL in dog provides lasting results
It has actually been almost two years already. I can’t believe how fast time has gone by. During the recovery of the torn ACL in my dog, it seemed to go so slow. But now, my 10+-year-old dog is as frisky as ever. People still ask me if she’s a puppy.
We moved to a new city and Darcy and I got a new vet. It was a great experience and the vet also said she would have recommended conservative management (where was this vet when this all happened?!). She had no idea that Darcy had her injury. She was super impressed with how well Darcy has recovered from her dog knee injury. She was really impressed with all of my research and the Naturvet Glucosamine and Chondroitin that I give Darcy. She suggested Omega fatty acids (it has them), MSM (yep), and I let her know about the yucca in it as well. The vet asked what brand I was getting and that sounded perfect for helping prevent arthritis. She is going to suggest that brand to her clients.
I do notice that Darcy sometimes limps very slightly after a really long walk or many walks in one day, and sometimes leans on her “good leg” when she’s really tired. But really you can’t tell she was injured at all. She still runs after a ball with all of the abandonment of a puppy. The neighbor’s kid loves to throw the ball for her over and over and she runs and jumps until she is tired.
We have had a really snowy winter and I remembered what the vets told me about her “post-holing” in the snow. That is when her paws break through the crust of the snow. Because we didn’t want to risk another injury, we had mostly been walking through the neighborhood. The snow through the forest was really deep and then it got really icy and I didn’t want to risk it for her or myself. Now that it’s summer, we hike all over the place. We try to get her out at least 45 minutes on her daily walk and sometimes longer on days off.
We do still give her (and ourselves) the turmeric every day twice a day. There is no more clicking or swelling. I think that is definitely from keeping her active and her daily supplements. The vet was very happy to hear about the turmeric and talked about what a great anti-inflammatory it is and that she is going to get it for her and her husband as well! I have found so many things that work across species.
If I had only known some of this at the beginning of this whole torn ACL in dog thing, I think I might have done some things a bit differently. I probably would have started with walking her a little sooner and a stiffer brace might have helped with getting her active sooner. My husband and I really think the muscle loss was hard to deal with in a dog her age and it did take quite awhile to put it all back on again.
I wanted to let everyone know that it is possible to help your dog through a torn ligament injury. I do know that some big dogs aren’t good candidates for conservative management. Plus if you have a puppy, it would be hard to keep the little one not moving through recovery. I hope it works out for all of you that try it. Let me know in the comments. Best of luck!
Everything has been going great for my dog’s knee injury recovery. And, then a bunch of things happened. We were on a walk and two very large dogs (off leash) were pushing (herding) my dog and I down the street in the direction they wanted us to go. They were both bigger than I was! They were sort of head-butting and trying to put their paws on my dog if she didn’t go the way they wanted. Darcy seemed okay after that. Continue reading “Update #1 – A Dog Incident”
I couldn’t believe it. My dog graduated! This whole conservative management process really works!
We went to our third and (we didn’t know it) final hydrotherapy vet visit. The vet watched Darcy on the underwater treadmill and said, “Okay, your dog graduated!” I couldn’t understand what she was talking about? She said that she didn’t feel right having me come in every week for hydrotherapy when my dog is doing so awesome. Continue reading “Week 24 – My Dog Graduated!”
We went to another hydrotherapy session this week and the vet said that
dogs who use the Conservative Management route are fully healed by 6 months. We just hit about 6 months and she said that dogs will be healed as much as they can be at that point. Continue reading “Week 22 – Fully healed?”
We went to our first dog hydrotherapy this week to even out the muscles on Darcy’s hind legs from her dog knee injury. It was definitely work for her! She came home exhausted, but not limping. It’s an interesting device, it basically looks like a large fish tank with a glass door at one end. You walk your dog through the door and have them face you. (not the best video ever below, but it will give you and idea.)
Who would have thought that mushroom hunting would be the perfect dog therapy activity?!
We went mushroom hunting on our “staycation”. We took about a week and a half off, that’s why no blog last week. We found a bunch of morel mushrooms (wikipedia link to these trippy looking mushrooms). But, the greatest part to me was how perfect it was for my dog’s knee recovery.
We wandered through the forest (soft ground) over bushes and logs (uneven ground) at a pretty sedate pace and when we found a mushroom, she sat (more sit/stands) and we were sidehilling. All of those things were recommended by my holistic vet and to find one activity that does them all was great! Continue reading “Weeks 18 & 19 – Mushroom Hunting and Dog Recovery”
First, my dog loves carrots as treats and with all of the dog rehabilitation exercises we are doing, I needed something that wouldn’t make her gain weight. I cut two baby carrots in half and then slice them up into little slices to use as rewards for her dog therapy exercises. Continue reading “Week 17 – Carrots as Treats”
But, it’s a slow process. My dog’s activity is slowly increasing. We were doing one 8-10 minute walk per day and she did start to limp, so I let her rest for a couple of days. I started just walking her around the backyard in shorter spurts more times per day. Continue reading “Week 8 – Dog Knee Injury is Getting Better”
We are slowly (and I mean really slowly) increasing my dog’s activity.
Her walks in the backyard were gradually getting longer as she is improving from her dog knee injury. So, I decided to take her out into the “real world”. We very slowly walked up and down the street for about 10 minutes. She started to pull on the first walk because we went in the same direction that we used to go for her hour long romps through the forest. Continue reading “Week 7 – Gradually Increasing Activity for Dog Knee Injury”
I need to remember to compare how she is now to how she was at week two. She is definitely better, but hasn’t shown much improvement this last week. We decided to take the brace off her because her muscles are atrophying and we wanted her to gain some of the strength she lost. Nothing major, just baby steps. We got a few huge storms and really cold weather (highs were in the 20’s) so that may have affected her. It affected me! She laid around more on the stormy days and slept, definitely not as rambunctious as when we had nice weather the week before. Continue reading “Week 6 – We seemed to have plateaued in dog ACL injury”
Darcy is so much better after four weeks of conservative management!
Her limping has improved a lot. We have started to do ‘Sniff-n-Stroll’ walksas part of the conservative management treatmentand she enjoys this. We take her out to go potty about every two hours and now just let her stroll on leash and sniff at everything. Our big backyard makes it easier to control her environment. No dogs coming up wanting to play, no squirrels to chase, but plenty to sniff and look at. We are up to about 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor time on these walks and it’s good for all of us. Not only does it get everyone out of the house, but makes you really look at the trees and things going on in your neighborhood. At night, we use a headlamp. (Who knows what our neighbors think?!)
Does my dog need to have surgery for a CCL injury?
I am starting this blog to write about my (and my dog’s) journey with a cruciate ligament, CCL injury, dog ACL tear or dog knee injury. I have opted for the non-surgical method of treatment called “conservative management”. I hope this blog can help others make informed decisions for themselves and their dog. A little bit about my dog. She is an extremely active eight year old golden retriever. She gets daily romps through the forest and has full access to a huge backyard all day and night.Continue reading “Day 1 CCL Injury in My Dog”