Traditional Repair for Small Dogs – Amy

Small Dog ACL Surgery

Amy is a 4 year old rescue dog, a jack russell/pomeranian cross who lives with me and “brother”, Elliott – a 9 year old Jack Russell. She appeared lame on 15th March and her vet confirmed a torn cruciate ligament on her left rear leg. There was no apparent cause, but she had been very active until that time and could have turned suddenly while running and injured the leg. She did not show any obvious pain but was not putting any weight on the injured leg.

Surgery was recommended, a real blow as I had only recently taken out pet insurance and crucuiate injury had a 6 month waiting period, so it was not covered. Orthodepic surgery was performed on 22nd March under general anaesthetic and an epidural and Amy was allowed to come home with me that same evening.

Small Dog Torn Cruciate Ligament

She weighs only 5.5 kilos (we live in Australia so about 12 pounds). Amy’s rump and leg were shaved but there were no bandages and the knee was stitched very cleanly. She was prescribed several types of medication, for pain, anti-inflamatories, and anti-biotics plus glucosamine tablets.

I had prepared a playpen in the kitchen to restrict her movement at home with space for bedding and water and also to keep her apart from Elliott and any possible bumps.

I think I felt almost as much pain as did Amy, feeling quite helpless and sad to see her just lying down and not her usual bouncy self. The vet had showed me how to pick her up to take her outside for toileting but it took a few days before there was any bowel movement.

Our post-op. follow up on 25th March confirmed that the wound was looking clean. There was quite a lots of purple bruising and the hock area was a little swollen, but the swelling has disappeared after 2 days.

Dog ACL Repair Small Dogs

Amy was then allowed to wander around a wider area of the house and to walk in the garden. She is holding up the injured leg and is not yet weight bearing.

I am using an Elizabethan collar to prevent Amy from licking the wound area.

On 29th March (after one week) we saw our vet and Amy was given a Cartrophen injection to reduce pain and arthritis. The injections will be a weekly treatment for the next 4 weeks. I was instructed by the vet to give massage and physio and encourage Amy to walk freely around the house and garden.

Knee Surgery for Small Dog

One week later and Amy appears happy and comfortable. She has a free run of the house (except the bedrooms where she might be tempted to try to jump on the bed). I have lots of cushions on all the chairs so they appear quite high and do not look appealing to her and have placed rugs so she can chose where to snooze. She can manage the step down into the garden and can wander inside and out as she wants.

This weeks goal is to continue physio and massage therapy and hope that Amy will start to put the leg down and try to walk on it a little.

5 thoughts on “Traditional Repair for Small Dogs – Amy

  1. Hello,

    Have you looked at post surgery braces for Amy? Zep (my dog) had the woundwear atrac brace instead of surgery, but I know these braces can be used for post surgery. This may be something to look at! Dr. Spatt has been very helpful, I suggest giving him a call, I think it would help Amy walk better on the injured leg.

    Good luck!

    Ed. K

  2. How is she doing now, 6 months later? My dog may also have to have extracapsular repair – I was wondering what results to expect, long term. She is lovely, by the way! You are a great mother!

  3. I was just looking thru about acl knee surgery for my dog ” Foxie”. She is 12 years old so the vet is leaning towards waiting to see. So far she hoobbles around barely touching her leg down, not too often. Anyway, your dog caught my eye on the “images” because she is a exact twin to my dog Foxie! I do mean identical ! I find that really odd for being so far away. I was wondering how old your dog is? Foxie is older than your dog now but if they were standing next to one another at the same age you could not tell the difference.!
    My dog Foxie was a stray I found up in the wood, mountains someone had dumped…she was less than a year old when I rescued here.
    Are you glad you had the surgery?

    1. Dear Anne,

      Believe it or not, we ended up not having surgery and everything is fine. We did conservative management! We have astounded the vets and the orthopedist who ended up saying that small dogs can do very well without surgery so my advice to you is don’t do it! It’s expensive, your dog is already at an age where anesthesia could be dangerous, and if you can keep her quiet for a few months (no lunging, jumping) and you are at home enough to watch her, she’ll heal fine. I could not have done it without that website dedicated to CCL conservative management (Max Tiggerpoz or something like that – google it and you’ll find it). I sent this person (I think a retired veterinarian) emails when I was panicking and depressed, when I didn’t know what to do next – this person helped me (us) so much! I highly recommend consulting that website for the “how to’s).

      As for Jessy, she is from a pet shop (hence, probably a puppy mill) in Sainte Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada. We live in Mont-Saint-Hilaire. They told me she was from a home breeder but…..who knows. She’s had bad allergies (we use the natural Nzymes products) and lately had a shoulder sprain and herniated disc in her neck but we consulted with the orthopedist, rested her, gradually started some light exercise, gave her Cartrophen injections and cold red laser (K-laser) and she’s coming along. She’s happy, no more pain, and she has a great quality of life in spite of her physical weaknesses.

      And she is still pretty!

      Take care and let me know how it goes!


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