Conservative Management – Lucy the Corgi

We have a wonderful Corgi named Lucy who will be turning 2 years old the first week of December. We picked her up from a breeder with a good history. She is pretty active at home with her step-brother Corgi Charlie, but at the dog park she doesn’t like to play; shes an explorer.

conservative management

At about 6 months of age we noticed Lucy limping on her front right paw, brought her to a couple vets who recommended an orthopedic surgeon. She was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. We decided not to pursue recommended surgery after the doctor had told us that even after surgery she would improve, she would still develop and live with arthritis and a limp. To us, a conservative management method sounded better than putting her under the knife.

We really did not restrict her activity, as the dysplasia did not affect her ability to play & run. On occasion after a long park day she would limp more than normal. When that happened we rested her for a couple days and she showed improvement after that. We did keep her on a glucosamine supplement during this time.

Fast forward to September 2016 and after a normal day at the dog park, very little running, mostly walking around and exploring, we noticed Lucy limping on her back right leg. We rested her for a week to hope for improvement before bringing her to the vet. The vet again recommended us to the same orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed Lucy with a torn CCL. They again suggested surgery but we wanted to pursue a conservative management method.

Since that time Lucy has shown lots of improvement. We completely restricted her activity for a long 8 weeks. She had her own (small) area, gated off with beds and mats. We carried her outside to go to the bathroom. She was on Dasiquin daily, Carprophin daily, and Tromodol on occasion. After 8 weeks we started to let her out more often to walk around the house a little bit and go outside on her own. We gradually built this up until she had the most free reign since her tear. No running or walks at all. She started to play with Charlie a lot more, wrestling, tug of war, etc. We did our best to not let it get intense and not let it go on very long at all. It was hard because they both wanted to play so much, but we knew Lucy had to be careful.

About a week or so ago from this post (11/28) we noticed Lucy severely limping on her back LEFT leg. I didn’t want to believe it, but the injury looked exactly like her first tear. We found out from the vet today that it was indeed torn. We are putting her back on Carprohen twice daily, doubling her Dasiquin servings, and changing her food. We are also looking into water therapy options. The vet told us she was already building up arthritis in her back right leg (first tear).

In conclusion, Lucy has elbow dysplasia in her front right leg, and her back two legs have ruptured CCLs. It’s heartbreaking to have to go through this rigorous process of restricting her activity for another few months. A positive that we’ve been told is she’s young so she hopefully can recovery from these injuries as opposed to an older dog that could struggle more. We’re also lucky she is on the smaller side for a Corgi so we can monitor her weight.

Anyone else out there have a pup with two torn ligaments? I look forward to hearing other stories and wish everyone the best.

One thought on “Conservative Management – Lucy the Corgi

  1. I have a six MONTH old spaniel puppy that I unfortunately allowed to run around in the yard like a maniac. He started stairs at about 4 months. the vet marveled at his good muscle development. Then one day, he leapt over a small culvert area and hit the ground hard, he got up so fast I did not see what area of his body hit the ground. But in any event, he got up fast and started tearing around the yard again, so I dismissed it from my mind. Two days later, he held one hind leg up coming down the arbor stairs from the yard. The vet diagnosed ACL(CCL) tear. However, vet said puppy was too young for surgery. Here’s the plan: He doesn’t limp and does not appear to be in pain, so carprofen was given only for a few days following his vet exam ( who manipulated the joint-drawer test, etc. ). he of course is on a long stretch of restricted activity, which, for a puppy, is devastating. I have let him free-roam in a large room and leash-walk for potty training. He plays somewhat roughly with my other dog. However, no stairs, running or jumping. (he did follow me up three stairs unexpectedly, then unfortunately leaped from the last step on the way back down). I plan to start him on hydrotherapy as soon as vet says it is OK. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, I AM TOLD, IS TO NOT ATTEMPT TO ACCELERATE RECOVERY UNDER THE FALSE IMPRESSION THAT NO LIMP EQUALS A HEALED JOINT. That being said, I, on my own, decided NOT to crate-restrict or brace him, as copious research suggests that the other knee will break down thereafter (whether from compensatory overuse or unequal developmen)t. So I have decided to let him casually walk on both legs in the free-roam room. We are only two weeks in. He seems symptom-free, but I am no fool.

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