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Torn ACL

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I tried to do a search but nothing really came up!


Anyways, Petey started limping a week ago and it wasn't stopping and it was more frequent so we took him into the vet, and they found he had torn his ACL. Luckily, the specialist who comes in to do these types of surgeries was coming in to do another dog for the same thing within the next day or two, so we didn't have to wait long for Pete to get in and operated on. Anyways, the surgery went great and we're doing short walks everyday, trying not to push him. He's wearing an e-collar and on some meds. Things are going pretty well (minus the almost 3000$ missing from my wallet), he's not bruised or anything that is sometimes seen and he doesn't seem too uncomfortable except if you touch right near his sutures. I was just wondering if there was anything else I could do to help speed up the healing process? A supplement? An exercise program? He's 9 now so I know this is probably rough on him. We've had quite the little battle with him lately, we've had to switch his food and he's now on liquid glucosamine for joints, and then this happens! We just want the little guy to get better as soon as possible and get him back on his feet.


Any advice?

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My last dog, an Akita, went through this, and the specialist was very specific on what excercises to do and when. He loved swimming, so once the leg was reasonably mobile and all the sutures had healed, I took him smimming a fair bit. Manual manipulation was also a big part of rehab, making sure his leg retruned to a full range of motion. One thing to beware of, once they do this, they favor the opposite leg and can tear the other ACL. This happened to my guy at 11, and at that point I left it alone. It healed up in a month or so and you couldn't tell it bothered him.

Maybe check with the surgeon for specific recommendations.

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I have been through it twice and really time and patience are the key ingredients. You dont say what type of ACL surgery your dog had as this can make a difference to the rehab protocol. I found slowly increasing walks the best rehab. Swimming is great once things are healing nicely.

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Buddy's walk-mate Abby had one ACL done in November (after a lot of time spent diagnosing and attempting to treat without surgery). About a week after she returned to normal from that one, she tore the other one. This time, they did the surgery ASAP, and the difference in healing was amazing. Abby's owner said that after a day or two, you couldn't tell there was anything wrong with the dog, except for the shaved leg. She took it easy, but the dog returned to normal much, much more quickly.


Good luck!



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At the clinic I work at we tell people the healing process is about 3 months before they can be back to totally normal activity. The first few weeks just very short leash walks out to pee etc. Then after 3-4 weeks, gradually increasing the length of walks. There is a clinic in the Vancouver area (Aldergrove) called "The Spaw" and they specialize in rehab etc. Possibly on his website he may have info for homecare and rehab for a cruciate surgery. I've seen some notes of his about doing range of motion exercises on the knee joint and then after the first 2-3 weeks doing other little home things to make them put some weight on it etc.


A couple important things we've found

-dont let the dog pull on the leash - when they pull hard, they are using their back legs to push and its possible it could tear something where they did the surgery

-dont let the dog jump up onto anything - again, a hard and sudden strain on the knee which could damage something they did

-no going up stairs unless the dog is not putting the bad leg down - down stairs isn't much of a strain on the knee

-no offleash running for a couple months

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You should find a rehab specialist who can help you with what exercises you can do, how and when. I have done 2 TPLO's on my acd so have mastered the rehab for her. Rehab is different depending on which surgery so make sure you follow the protocol for that surgery.


Good luck...


FYI - I would start saving some money in case the other knee goes. There is a good chance it will no matter which surgery was done.

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