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Tedy’s Story: Conservative Management

My 12-year-old (best estimate of his age) Bordie-Collie mix (and breed) injured his CCL on 5/11/21. He is about 50 lbs. I adopted him from the Humane Society 8 years ago. We were able to get in to see the vet within a few hours of his injury and a CCL tear was diagnosed based on the “drawer test.”

The recommendation was extracapsular surgery. Having had a previous dog–large mixed-breed dog that died within 2 weeks of TPLO surgery, I was reluctant to have any surgery done, that experience, plus Tedy’s age and early kidney issues led me to explore alternatives.

I told my vet I wanted to try conservative management and also consult with a canine physical therapist. They were supportive and gave me a referral and a prescription for Gabapentin. We saw a Canine Rehab Specialist on 5/26 and she said that Tedy was NOT a good candidate for physical therapy (they have water treadmills, etc.) because he was too stressed in a “clinical environment.” She felt it would be counterproductive. She also did NOT recommend the extracapular surgery.


The physical therapist is sending me information about better supplements, at-home range-of-motion exercises and we discussed cold/heat therapies. She also recommended Adequan injections and acupuncture. I will be exploring those things, as well as getting x-rays to see how much arthritis is currently going on. The therapist supported CM and said older dogs often do better at home in familiar settings, and that I could work toward getting him as mobile and pain-free as possible for as long as possible.

Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since his injury, and we’ve just been going outside in the yard every few hours for him to pee/poop (about 10 minutes each time). He is walking better on the leg, and his personality has been coming out much more, especially this past week. This morning he was very energetic and kept going to the garage door to go out instead of the back or front door.


Prior to his injury we were going for short car rides to various places in the subdivision for walks. I figured I’d try the car and see how things went. He did use a ramp and I used a supportive sling too. He got in the car OK and then in and out when we got to the subdivision clubhouse area. He was THRILLED to be out and exploring one of his usual areas! After 10 minutes I took him back to the car (against his will…he would have kept walking) and we went home. He has been more “hoppy” this afternoon, but his mood has been good and he is still walking/putting some weight on the leg. Even holding his “good leg” up sometimes when he pees. I think the in/out of the car and riding in the car/balancing is a bit hard on the knee.

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We’ll keep it to the backyard tomorrow and I’ll see how he is. I would love to be able to take him for some regular, brief walks in the neighborhood. Unfortunately our driveway is VERY steep, so walking up and down it is not an option. I’m going to keep restricting activity for the next five weeks (that will make 8 weeks of CM) and expect and hope to see continued improvement. I’ll update!

One Response to Tedy’s Story: Conservative Management

  1. July 16, 2021 at 2:33 pm #

    Update–Tedy is a little more than 9 weeks since the injury and is doing GREAT! He began going up and down the stairs in the house nearly 2 weeks ago and is going on three walks a day (relatively brief due to the heat and not wanting to overstress his leg).
    He’s had a few acupuncture treatments so far and is taking a few new supplements. He is acting more and more like his “old” self, and I’m so happy I explored alternatives to the surgery.

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