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Conservative Management – Deana

The following is a story from an owner that was derived from an email exchange:

My 11-year-old miniature poodle has an ACL injury to her rear left leg from chasing a squirrel. Her vet said I should take her to an orthopedic specialist for his opinion. He felt, however, that at her age this might not be the thing to do because little dogs seem to do alright without having surgery.

I took her to the specialist and he of course said surgery was the best thing to do since she is healthy and so active. I don’t know what to do… I hate to put her through this but what else can I do?

A Few Days Later

When I called the office of the specialist for an apt. the secretary asked me if I wanted a consultation or did I want to go ahead and schedule the surgery for the same day!!! What? Who does that? Yes, I wanted to talk to the vet! That’s why I called! At the time I was upset and just wanted someone to explain what has happened to my dog!

I took her in and he brought in all these models of knees and told me it was a good thing I came in right away or else it would be too late and nothing could be done. Also not true. They need to have activity restricted to start with for at least 8 weeks and that is what I am going to do. No jumping, running, or chasing squirrels! After that we’ll
see how she is getting along. I have found a place near here called Northern Illinois
Aqua Dogs and they have swimming therapy for them. She loves to swim and he says in his research that swimming is a terrific therapy for a ligament injury. She once squirmed out of my hands and dove off a boat into 60′ of water in the Savannah River when she was all of 3lbs…..loves water, salt or fresh, so she will enjoy that.

conservative management

This little dog is the love of my life and I truly feel confident in my decision to hold off on the surgery. And thank God for this doc here in Freeport…he said an x-ray won’t tell if the ligaments are affected and I know that! I’ve had a lot of dogs in my life…from Yorkies to schnauzers to wieners to Labs to Dobs and my son had a fascination with pit bulls for awhile. I’ve seen it all. Hell, I raised 2 boys! I’ve spent my fair share of time with an orthopedic specialist for broken bones!

I can give her glucosamine chondroitin supplements–the same pills that people take, he said there is no need to buy the pills for dogs, it’s the same for people and less expensive. I started her on that today, just cut the pills into the correct dosage for her weight. He also stressed keeping her activity restricted which I have done. No more jumping up on the sofa or the bed and no stairs. I know you may think this is BS, but I told her she can’t jump anymore so she sits there and “woofs” for me to pick her up. Jeez……I wish my kids had been as smart as she is!  We’ll see how this goes, but I think it is better to err on the side of caution.

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