Gracie is an 8-year-old shepherd/retriever/chow mix. About 65 pounds. On Thanksgiving 2017, she was racing around the yard in a zoomie mood, full of joy. Then all of a sudden “YIPE!” and she could not walk on her right hind leg. This is a very important piece of the decision making puzzle: Gracie is extremely fearful and is absolutely terrorized for vet visits. Even our standard well check for vaccines each year requires a shot of Dormatore for tranquilization. So… the thought of a vet visit and/or surgery was traumatic for both of us.
I called my vet (who works very conservatively with us because of Gracie’s behavioral issues) and she diagnosed this over the phone to the best of her ability. We decided to treat conservatively at least for a few weeks. Although, she did recommend surgery. So, I did a lot of research and came across your website. It has been an emotional life saver for us both. It helped me adjust my expectations and prepare a management and rehab plan. I purchased a dozen non-skid rugs for my hard wood floors, prevented her from jumping on the bed and in the car, started NSAID, Tramadol, Pepcid, fish oil, SynoviG4, and essential oil (Copaiba) massage to affected leg, and PROM for the first 1-2 weeks. Only leashed bathroom walks.
After week 2, we started to do a little more. Now entering week 5 we are doing the following: Still pain meds, and supplements as listed above, still massage 1-2 times per day; I have gotten a step to help her onto the bed and into the car; we are doing very short walks (because our temperatures have been below zero!!!); we walk around the house and we are doing sit-stands; also walking faster. I taught her some nifty skills prior to her injury and we are now practicing these – reaching back with her hind legs onto a very small step (Klimb table without legs), Front paws up on some of the Fit Paws equipment which requires a little balance and more pressure on hind legs.
She is walking now 100% on that hind leg unless she walks very fast, then she holds it up intermittently. It still does not look 100% stable, so we are still planning on the above plan for at least a few more weeks. I am also trying to prevent as much as possible a tear in her other leg. I am a trainer and am learning a lot from this experience. I am now offering fitness classes to hopefully prevent injury by building quads, hamstrings, and core. I call the class PupKour. I have a client who injured his ACL the same time Gracie did. They did TPLO and less than two weeks after this surgery, he tore his other ACL. They are planning the less invasive surgery on that other leg. I am very glad we decided on this route. I am so grateful for the information that I received from this group. We are continuing to make steady progress. Thank You!