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Torn ACL advice.

1211 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  SydTheSpaniel
Has anyone had a dog who tore a ligament in their leg (ACL)? My pittie managed to tear a ligament, it might the the ACL or possibly the much more rare type of tear (the PCL i think it was called), but she is still trotting around like a happy dog so Im trying to avoid giving her surgery. I took her to the vet already, and he said seeing as she didn't appear to be in pain and she was able to walk normally i could try to rehabilitate her on my own even though the tear is very severe, at 75%. She is a stubborn pittie so i can't really tell when she is hurting and she is not limiting herself, she still wants to run around and jump on things and play, so I'm constantly having to stop her because she will just hurt her self more. So if anyone has dealt with this before and has any recommendations or ideas of things that worked to help their pup or if anyone's dog has gone through the rehabilitation i would really appreciate any advice! Thanks!!!!
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I work for an orthopedic vet, so we see a ton of dogs in this very same situation. Surgery of course, is usually always something we try to recommend, as animals can do a very good job at hiding their pain. If you want to avoid surgery, perhaps you could look into hydrotherapy? Look for a vet that offers underwater treadmill services - that can be very helpful. Our orthopedic patients -always- go through the hydrotherapy with much success.

We have had patients come in for consults in wanting to try the underwater treadmill without having surgery, so it isn't unheard of. I'd say it could be an option for you to at least try... but if she tore it that severely, surgery is likely in her future.
Thanks so much for your advice! It does appear to be pretty severe, the vet could easily move the bones apart, however her muscles are normal and there was no bone damage so he said i could try to rehabilitate. The vet i saw actually told me not to take her swimming or anything because it puts pressure on the injured area. Do you agree that that? Is hydrotherapy where the dog can actually touch the ground, so its not swimming? Also the vet said that it might not be the ACL that is torn and instead the rare one (i think the posterior?) that occurs in only like 1% of cases, just based on her symptoms and ability to walk normal. Do you know anything about that ligament injury? Would the same recommendations hold? The cost of surgery isnt in my budget now as i am a student, so it is really my last resort only if it is necessary. Thank you so much for your help i really appreciate it!
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I've never heard of that type of injury... but as for the hydrotherapy, the point of it is to ease off the pressure for them. It's a treadmill that's underwater, so they're walking on a surface, through the water.

http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/underwater-treadmill-therapy-dogs-part-1-432 That's a good little video on hydrotherapy.
My Maisy tore her ACL last fall. Because I do mushing sports with her I elected to take her to surgery quickly, and she's done great. She's completely normal at this point and back to her normal sports.

For a pet dog who isn't acting painful, rehab can be a great option. The thing about rehab is, though, that you really need a rehab vet and you have to commit to it and do all the recommended exercises. Half-a$$ing it won't cut it.
Definitely agreed with Sass. We've had clients come in who opt for the rehab... but only do a few sessions, and then we don't see them for a few weeks, and the dog's had a few set backs because of it. Definitely a commitment.
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