ACL Surgery – Ruby

Approximately two years ago, my black lab/pit/boxer started limping in her right back leg. I took her to the vet who said it was an ACL injury. She recommended surgery or possibly a brace. I took her home and tried to think of a way to come up with the money. Some sites said she could recover if she was crated ALL of the time for a LONG time.

But my Ruby is very very energetic. When I took her running (before her injury) she would twist, turn and bounce down our dirt road. Chasing imaginary rabbits, squirrels, and other animals as we ran, or chasing one of her non-destructive but expensive Paws balls.

So my husband was put on notice not to let her run anymore and not to throw the ball too far. But when she would recover a little and not limp, ball throwing would continue followed by her limping until she was not carrying her leg at all and she really needed the surgery and nothing else would do. (Husbands never listen!)

About two months ago, we took our 8-year-old Ruby to a different vet who said they would do the TPLO surgery for $3500.

I called around for a better rate and found one in Ely, MN. No special date was needed for the special veterinarian to be in to do the surgery. They were always on site and the the small town’s beloved vet hospital saved us about $600 in costs even after we took into account that we had to stay overnight in a hotel, gas, eating out, and missing two days work.

When we visited with her vet right before her surgery, she told us the surgery performed would not be a TPLO, but a strap around her knee that kept the joint in place for a few years and allowed her to strengthen and support her area around the knee. My husband was upset with having to leave her overnight. He was very worried about her. But the vet did a very good job.

We picked her up the next day as soon as the vet allowed us to. When she saw us, she was still carrying her ACL leg while wiggling her hips and wagging her tail at us. Her vet gave us her progress report and informed us that her other knee also has ACL, which caused me to gasp and sigh. So in another five or six months we will have to do this all over again!

This surgery was done about 25 days ago, and Ruby is doing very well. She now puts weight on her right foot about 65% of the time. And every time Ruby puts weight on her foot, it makes me so happy. When the weather gets warmer, we are going to set up a pool and have her do some therapeutic swimming.
I noticed so many black labs on this site have ACL injuries. Are these ACL injuries so common in Black Labs because they genetically have bad knees, or is their energy level so high that it causes so many ACL injuries to the breed?

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