Conservative Management Success – Emma

I have a small (42 lbs) APBT (American Pit Bull Terrier) female named Emma. 2 years ago, as of this Christmas, she just stopped using one of her rear legs. As soon as we got back into town I took her to my Vet. She was put under and it was found that she had the drawer symptom. The vet gave us some pain killers, explained the treatment choices and sent us on our way.

I exhausted myself reading all I could and just tried to make the best decision for her. Well, two weeks later I came home from work and my baby could not walk. She just hopped not moving EITHER OF HER REAR LEGS! I freaked out and started bawling my head off! Thank god for a husband that keeps a level head! I took a deep breath and called my vet. A day later and we had a confirmation that she had blown the other CCL! At this point I knew I could not afford both legs. I had a hard time convincing my husband to agree to one! I decided to try conservative methods and if she was not better in 8 weeks, then I would get one leg done.

I totally restricted her. I mean totally. NO walks, NO jumping and pretty much no activity. I got a doggie litter box and a lot of toys and crossed my fingers.

Well, now here we are two years later and Emma RUNS EVERYWHERE! No one would ever guess she ever had any issues. Will she have arthritis? Yeah probably, but so will the dogs that had Tightrope, Ex-cap, TTI, and TPLO. Her scar-tissue does the same thing as the tightrope and ex-cap.

And people if your vet is telling you that your little 20 pounder needs surgery, get a second opinion! I am just saying what do you have to loose? If you restrict the activity level, no considerable damage will occur so do not think that. And if you are thinking “geeze I could never manage to keep my dog that constricted” just forget about treatment right now as the recovery period after a surgical fix is about the same as conservative therapy.

Just my and Emma’s 2 cents.

6 thoughts on “Conservative Management Success – Emma

  1. How long did it take until she was back to normal. Do you ever notice that leg is stiff when she wakes up? It’s been 6 months since my dog tore her ACL and I still notice she is stiff on waking. She is only 18 lbs, I was wondering if that will ever go away?

  2. Thank you and Emma for your story! My 21 pound Cairn Terrier tore his ACL almost 8 weeks ago, and my vet said that he didn’t know of any treatment other than surgery – although he himself doesn’t perform the surgery. Meanwhile he told me how the surgery on his own dog had failed, twice. Thanks to Dr. Mike Richards, and, and websites like this one, I found encouragement for recovery without surgery, ( especially in a dog under 35 pounds), although finding that from a vet in-person is very difficult. Anyway, Max is doing great, with gradual improvement from the beginning, following the guidelines I found online – plus a good quality glucosamine supplement, which should be given for life (and that advice came from the in-person vet). So Holly, if you’re not doing that already, pick up a human grade 500 mg glucosamine, 400 mg chondroitin tablet (I bought mine from the supermarket), and give one pill a day. This has even helped my 10 year old female Cairn (whose x-rays showed no arthritis), who was slowing down on walks, and showing stiffness and difficulty in getting to her feet.

  3. Thank you so much for the advice I’ll have to up her glucosamine. I’m going to try everything to get her through this without surgery 🙂

  4. I read that after an acl injury, recovery is 85%, with or without surgery. Sometimes a short course of Rimadyl can be helpful, and some folks go for physical therapy. I am considering that.

  5. I agree with you that recovery is 85% with or without surgery. Even with surgery a successful recovery is not guaranteed. My my 13 year old husky mix tore her ACL a few weeks ago, and I found a surgery alternative brace at Woundwear while doing some research online. I felt comfortable contacting Woundwear to learn more about the product. They were very helpful and easy to work with. I went to my vet to get the brace sized correctly, and now my dog is able to put weight on her leg while wearing the Woundwear A-Trac brace. I’m so happy we found!

  6. My 37 lb. Keeshond tore his ACL 16 months ago. I used Conservative Management. Recovery was long and slow, but he is doing fine now. He experiences a little stiffness every once in a while after getting up from lying down. He has no trouble running up and down stairs or jumping on and off my bed. I would say that an 85% recovery is an accurate description.

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