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Old 11-26-2015, 12:58 PM   #1
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Our Dog Dingo... Cruciate Ligament torn

Our older Blue Heeler, Dingo, tore one of the Cruciate ligaments between his left rear leg femur and fibula. He is eleven years old and an active dog for our kind of camping. He and his younger sister, Blue, took off while hiking over a ridge. Dingo came back limping... thinking it was his foot or a sprain. Hopping was more the term.

After ten days of Dingo adjusting to using three legs and the left rear to stabilize himself from time to time as his fourth, it was time to research the internet. Sounded like a torn Cruciate Ligament. A visit to the vet confirmed that this was not temporary, but a permanent disability. Torn cruciate ligament.

Three Options for us to consider:

1- Put Dingo down
2- Pay $2000 to $3000 for an operation with 85% success
3- Work with Dingo to test his three legs and his "hop a long" fourth

My wife and I both realize that Dingo would be permanently impaired on our Off the Grid camping and hiking. My wife thinking about the "good ole days" wept and now realized that Dingo would have to be held back from too much activity while hiking. This is a big change in how we plan any activities Off the Grid.

The medical operation is not simple and not 100% guaranteed. The operation does not mean the other leg could not be injured being favored during healing, or the repaired knee... tear again and gain nothing.

Putting Dingo down was not even a consideration.

Working with Dingo to make use of his damaged knee was our best option. We speak of him as "Hop Along Dingo", as the rhythm of his pace will need to be relearned. Our afternoon walks are intended for him to find more function for his injured leg and not depend on his good right knee to take all of the stress. He shows no pain from us feeling the joint or his walking along on short hikes.

So far. So good. I expect scar tissue to secure this joint over time. We will see. Although we expect that the ligament was totally torn... unless it is opened up to see for sure... we expect the worse and hope for the best. He will never be 100%... but neither am I.

Has anyone else following this Thread had a dog with one or both Cruciate Ligaments torn? How did you handle this. Was there a recovery period where the injured leg provided more balance over time? How long did it take?

Anyone who has a dog understands how we feel. Dingo will put on a restricted exercise outdoor hiking for the time being. As his confidence improves... so will ours. He is part of our permanent family. We will miss his company, when he can not keep up on long hikes and need to stay with the trailer during those times. His time is not used up. We all can adapt and Hop Along Dingo will have to figure it out in the process.

Human Bean
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Old 11-26-2015, 01:10 PM   #2
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So sorry for your (and Dingo's) situation. While we do not have any directly similar experience with our dogs to share or on which to give advice, I have seen a lot of three-legged dogs over the years and once they get used to it they are pretty much able to operate at 95 to 100% and don't seem to mind one bit. Give it time and he will be just fine.

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Old 11-26-2015, 02:08 PM   #3

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I know what your going thru....

'Fado' our PWD is is 13 now and has always been very active, camping, fishing and water trials.
He has been dealing with hindquarter ligament and arthritis problems for several years now. No more free ranging on our roaming times. Stays on a retractible tracking lead.
We're now following our DVM's rules of leisurely daily exercise, petting massage to help determine pain threshold and LOVE.
He gets three baby aspirin every morning and 20mg of Deramaxx as needed. The D-maxx has worked wonders, he could barely move several months ago, but after the initial 7 day, 75mg treatment, he's up and about with very little sign of severe pain. can never hug 'em and love 'em enough.

Best of luck..

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 11-26-2015, 02:44 PM   #4
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Ray, our Westie ..Stuart recovering from surgery. The vet's description of this injury was a torn ACL. Two artificial tendons were surgically inserted. We are under strict guidelines during recovery. No playing, no jumping, no stairs and no running....for at least 90 days.
Yes, it has been challenging. But we expect a full recovery. SH is only five. He has lots of active years ahead of him. During winter it may be a little easier to handle this type of recovery. Although our little guy loves to sled. His definition of sledding is 'You pull me through the snow using my walking harness!'
Happy dog smile on his face ...along with a wagging tail.
If Stuart Higgins was a few years older I think we would have chosen the route you have taken. It was not a decision we took lightly considering the cost and the extended recovery time.
Best wishes to you all. May Dingo enjoy more happy trail adventures with you!
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Old 11-26-2015, 02:52 PM   #5
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I have not had a dog with that issue; however, I hope I can provide a cheaper alternative. We had a 14-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever that needed a laryngeal tie-back surgery. It was costly and difficult to do. In our city, we have a veterinary college. We were able to get the surgery done at a greatly reduced cost because the vet/professor did the surgery while teaching vet med students. If you can find a nearby vet college, you may be pleasantly surprised at the fee. We saved, the students learned, and our dog survived! She lived for another 1.5 years after that. Also, vet colleges often have excellent rehab programs as follow-up. Just something to think about.
Lisa and Paul

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Old 11-26-2015, 03:03 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear that!

🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
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Old 11-26-2015, 03:03 PM   #7
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Ray the vet school is a great idea. Talk with folks up at CSU.
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Old 11-26-2015, 04:03 PM   #8
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We will not be back in Colorado until Spring 2016. We must suffer south of Las Vegas, Nevada with these blues skies and mild weather. The Vet School is a great idea. Thank you both bolerama and ghaynes755.

From further scrolling through the internet I found another helpful site that improves on my understanding of our option.

Dog ACL Injury-- Is Surgery Really Needed?
Google seached: Dog ACL/CCL Ligament Injury Recovery Without Surgery

This also explains how a surgeon has a number of options as well.

The "without surgery" looks promising.
Human Bean
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Old 11-26-2015, 06:40 PM   #9
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Ray - very sorry to hear about this. Sounds like you have some good options - good luck to you and your pooch.
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:59 PM   #10
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Ray, from my own perspective, if it were Lupe, I would do the surgery. However, Lupe is only 3 1/2. If Lupe were 11, I would retire her to reflect on her past glories and would lavish extra love on her every night when I came home. I think this is the way of all life. If we were so old that we could no longer participate in the hunt, we would still appreciate being told about it in the evenings by those who still could, and maybe having a bite passed our way of whatever it was that they found.

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Old 11-26-2015, 10:19 PM   #11
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Hi, sorry to hear about your dog; I had a dog that once had a similar incident and it cost $850.00 to fix him. [this was about 20 years ago]

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Old 11-27-2015, 12:12 AM   #12
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Torn cruciate ligament

We had the same thing happen to our 11 year old Australian Shepard almost two years ago. Ours dog is also a constant companion and the thought of him living the rest of his life lame and left behind was unbearable. We learned of a local surgeon who specializes in the TPLO procedure. He came highly recommended as does the surgery. The surgery was successful and with time Quincy made a full recovery. The doctor warned us that 50% of the dogs tear the other cruciate within a year. Unfortunately he was right and the second tore one year to the day of his first surgery. We didn't hesitate and did the second surgery. I think the recovery time was shorter the second time since I believe Quincy knew the drill. It's been almost a year and he has full use if his legs. Mind you he isn't 100% but considering he's almost 13 years old he's doing fine. We're all a little slower and don't walk so far!
I don't know what happens if a dog tears one leg and compensates well with three legs and then the other one tears. I know there are braces that have worked in some cases.
The recovery was long, complete confinement for weeks and a slow rehabilitation but in my opinion well worth it, I think the dog would agree.
Good luck with your decision, feel free to contact me if you'd like more information.
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Old 11-27-2015, 02:21 AM   #13
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Ray, sorry to hear of your pet's condition. I've raised big/giant dogs for decades and ligament issues for active or aging dogs happens frequently. That particular tear is more usually associated (per statistics) to neutered females but seems to strike older dogs regardless.

If you choose to continue down the route of avoiding surgery try adding a product like Regenex to your pet's food. The combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) will accelerate the body's natural recovery of ligament damage, reduce inflammation, and act as a analgesic. Dog Glucosamine : Glucosamine for Dogs

Here is a page about dosage amounts but work with your vet to ensure appropriate care. Glucosamine Chondroitin Dosage for Dogs

One of my current Danes is having a similar ligament issue with his front leg and a combination of Regenex and a 'soft' bandage cast to stabilize the leg joint is the current therapy I'm following: highly restricted activities for six weeks is the prognosis.
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Old 11-27-2015, 05:09 AM   #14
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Went thru this surgery with 2 of my Rotties, reasonable recovery time. Might be a little more challenging with the healers play drive to keep him on limited mobility for the recovery time, but a very common surgery. Our cattle dog broke her left rear leg (below the knee) hardest part was keeping her on limited mobility for 12 weeks. Cattle dogs are usually very stoic. Best wishes.

Joe D

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