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Knee injury


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OK, first this is not about a border collie. It is about my small terrier mix, Digger.

I love this little dog tremendously, and have no where else to ask about this, so thought I would ask your indulgence on the fact that he is not a border collie.


Last Thursday we were running Freestyle moves and he did a little jump over a plastic stick, something he's done dozens or hundreds of times. He's a natural jumper, and this was only 18" high - a snap for him, but somehow he landed wrong, yelped, and stopped putting any weight on one hind leg.


My vet said that he has a knee injury; thinks most likely has popped a ligament in the knee, and I can feel when she showed me how, that the knee is not right.

He is now on Rimadyl for pain and to keep any internal inflammation down.


I have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon she recommended for next week, soonest we could get. If he needs surgery I will do it, although it scares me as all surgery for one of my animals does, and I feel very badly for him.


My request : if you have had a dog with this kind of injury, can you give me any info?

Like: did it require surgery? If so, how extensive?

What was the recovery time after surgery?

Did it recover without surgery? Can it?

Did you do any physical therapy/massage/ other things at home that helped with recovery?

Any other info would be appreciated.


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I haven't had a dog with this injury but I work as a Vet Tech so I see it all the time. I'm assuming it's a cruciate issue and not an issue with the patella.

I'll tell you what we do in the practice I work in. If the orthopedic vet feels the cruciate ligament is strained but not torn, that's great. It'll heal with rest and anti-inflammatories. Sometimes they can feel if it is torn with the dog awake. But some dogs are too tense or too muscled and need to be sedated to get a good feel. If it is completely torn and the owner can't afford the surgery it will scar over time. Dogs under 20 pounds heal much better than dogs over 20 pounds. But they will end up with quite a bit of arthritis and for the dog to be even reasonably sound on the leg will take at least 8 weeks and I really don't consider them ever quite 100%

If it is torn and you do surgery he would still end up with arthritis in time but he will be sound much quicker and able to get back to a normal lifestyle faster. I've done laser therapy on several older, small dogs post surgery and they do amazingly well. If you believe in Adequan and/or glucosamine supplements (I do, it can't hurt) give it regardless.

If he damaged ligaments holding the patella in place and it is popping in and out, for him to be sound at all he will most likely need surgery.

I'm sorry this happened to him and you. I'm also sorry you live in Arizona. In Lititz, PA there is a vet who isn't a specialist but she enjoys surgery and we send our cruciates to her. She does a great job and doesn't charge like a specialist does.

Let us know how things progress. Good luck!!!!

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I think that the consult with the orthopedic is a wise move. Meanwhile, I'D opt for minimal activity if he is lame since you are only looking at a week.


Sounds to me like it could be cruciate. My dog with a luxating kneecap does not get lame but is three-legged when the kneecap pops (but flexing his leg pops it right back into place with no lameness). It is a low-grade issue that has not required surgery.


Best wishes!

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Aschlemm, thank you very much for your detailed and informed reply.

I have been deeply concerned about this. Information is always a good medicine for worry. :-)


Thanks Sue R also for your reply and both of you for the good wishes.


One issue is I don't know how old Digger is. When I got him, the person who had him (got from shelter) didn't know how old he was, and I just made a guess at about 4 or 5. After he had been with me for 4 years he had dental surgery and the dentist said his teeth indicated he was only 5...... but he was not a puppy when I got him. So he could be anywhere from 6 or 7 to 10. I don't know how much age affects how well he will recover.


The surgery, my vet said, could cost $4,000. I am not a wealthy person by a long shot but if that is what he needs, that is what I will do and pay for somehow. I don't see a choice.


Digger weighs about 22 pounds and is very lean so that is good in terms of his recovery, hopefully.


Thanks again, and please send him some good mojo.

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There may be alternatives to surgery, depending on diagnosis; alternative surgeries; and more conservative treatment options.


For a smaller dog like Digger, I think you have a greater variety of surgical options (if it is cruciate) than if he was a larger dog. Of course, many vets prefer one or another option over alternatives.


And, rehab therapy is a possible consideration, no matter what you choose to do.


Again, best wishes!

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Yes, I will be looking into rehab therapy as soon as whatever it is is directly addressed. Fortunately there is a woman here I know, who has a great business with canine massage, rehab therapy, a water pool, and so on, and she will most likely be willing to have a session or two with Digger showing me how to do the work at home.


Right now I am just frustrated because of the wait. I am a person of action and want to get on with whatever needs to be done to make my little terrier better again.


I was never a terrier person, never thought I would have one.

I mean, if it wasn't a border collie, I didn't really want it, as nice as it may be.

Then I was completely blindsided by Digger, and fell in love with this funny-looking scruffy little terrier.

Makes me laugh. So it goes.

Here's a photo of him.




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