Our 5-1/2 year old Gabby, a black lab/pit mix rescue tore her CCLs bilaterally back in August of 2017 from a day of too much running and climbing stairs at a new home where we had a very large fenced area installed for our dogs to enjoy. That night, she laid down to nap and when she tried to get up, she could not stand. She had been exhibiting signs of lameness off and on in the previous few months and was diagnosed with arthritis. She was on Rimadyl two times per day which seemed to provide some relief. We let her play and exercise as she wanted as we were not aware that she was about to lose both CCLs.
After this event, we contacted the vet who eventually saw her in office and diagnosed the tears. We were referred to the nearby (40 miles away) animal teaching hospital where we went for a consult and Gabby was kept for bilateral surgery on 2/14/18. She did well during the surgery and came home on post-op day 2. She was already walking better and seemed to be doing great. We were diligent with confinement and the e-collar. Unfortunately, the e-collar she was wearing was not the right type to keep her from licking her wounds. She came home with the blue inner tube type.
We did not realize she could reach the incisions, but she could. By the time I witnessed this happening, the damage was already done. Within less than 2 weeks she developed a significant post-operative infection, open wound with exposed hardware, and we had to put her on antibiotics, go back and forth to the teaching hospital for daily bandage changes and eventually have a drain placed for management of the wound. We changed to the plastic, cone-type collar and she cannot reach the incisions since. We are now almost 6 weeks post-op and she is still on antibiotics. Another had to be added as she was not healing adequately. The drain is out, stitches just got removed from the second procedure to install the drain and one leg has completely healed while one area remains open slightly requiring daily cleaning. The vet feels this is yet another resistant bacteria for which we had to switch from chlorhexadine cleanings to diluted Dawn dish detergent.
Gabby is clearly feeling better and being confined is not her forte’. We only let her out on-leash to do her business and then right back into her confined space. She is a very social dog and wants to be out with us, but we have to follow the vet’s orders to get her healed. She has accepted the cone-shaped e-collar extremely well and wears it 24/7, no exceptions. We cannot let her get to those wounds to lick them. The upside is that she is standing taller and walking very well. We are hopeful the new regimen of cleaning will kill off the rest of the bacteria that are there so we can get this poor girl healed.
The take away from this is two-fold: 1) Make certain your dog has an adequate e-collar so that he/she cannot get to their wounds. From experience, the cone type is far better than the inner tube type. Your dog may balk at first, but believe me, he/she will adjust and be able to eat, drink, sleep and manage with it on. 2) From reading online, some people give their pet time off from the e-collar while supervising them. I say it is just not worth the risk. Our Gabby has lived through a nightmare and we don’t want your dog to go through the same thing. Prayers appreciated for Gabby to finally heal. I hope your dog does well with the surgery and recovers in the ideal timeframe.