Treatment for a Dog With Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament

My 9-year-old Lab/Chow mix dog recently sustained a tear in his anterior cruciate ligament in his right rear leg. Our vet recommended surgery, I have read articles that say in a dog his age, we should let it heal naturally. Has anyone in this group had this experience? He limps when walking, but doesn't seem in pain otherwise.

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By Marcie from Prairie du Sac, WI

October 13, 20100 found this helpful

Check this out, there's a fairly detailed description on the injury: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2084&aid=474

This is a tough call; if the ligament is only partially torn it may heal on its own if your guy is the inactive type; if he's overweight, which would put more stress on it, or active, which could worsen the tear, you could be looking at a permanent limp without surgery. It is comparable to a human with a knee injury, and painful. Though the dog may appear to be in minimal pain, it brings to mind something our vet once told us when we had a Golden who suddenly (we thought) began looking uncomfortable.

In our case, tests confirmed our dog had cancer, and had it for a while with no apparent symptoms. Our vet said it's not uncommon for a dog to basically put on the brave face and not make an issue of even intense physical pain; that's a survival instinct in them that throws back to pack life, when showing weakness could mean being left behind, or destroyed by the others.

In other words, when we see a dog showing physical discomfort, it's usually an indicator that there's significant pain going on. I think if it were my dog, I'd really ask the vet again for more info on the extent of the tear and if you're not satisfied with the answer, get a second opinion before you decide whether to schedule surgery or not.

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October 13, 20100 found this helpful

Hello, I have worked for a Veterinarian for over 27 years. The only treatment for an ACL is surgery. Your dog will be in pain until the surgery is done. This is a very common problem in your dog's breed. Please have the surgery done so your baby can be pain free. Good luck.

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October 14, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, My Cocker Spaniel suffered a torn cruciate 3 years ago. We did not have surgery. We put her on very limited activity for 4 weeks (no jumping or going up/down stairs). We also started her on Joint max triple strength soft chews we ordered from entirelypets.com. She is like a new dog, she does limp on rare occasions, and when that happens, we put her on limited activity until she feels better. It has been over 3 years and she is an active, happy dog.

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