Tovah’s Story: Complete ACL Tear Surgery

On Saturday our seven year old Duck Tolling Retriever had an accident where she fell through some deck boards and was hanging off the edge of the deck for a few seconds while we tried to get her out. This resulted in a complete tear of her cruciate ligament (ACL).

Our vet said that our only option is a $4000 surgery and that because it is a complete tear and not partial, like some, that she wouldn’t be a good candidate for rehab or a brace.


She is currently on some anti-inflammatory pain medications which are helping, but she still can’t weight bare weight on that leg, she is getting around really well though!

We don’t just have that type of money ($4000.00) laying around so that’s been really stressful and on top of the dog surgery we are due to have our 3rd baby in 6 weeks so having her in the midst of surgery recovery will be a challenge.

I have had quite a few people say they’re dog did well without surgery or that they did the surgery and their dog re-tore the same or opposite leg and required another surgery.

I’m hoping that someone has experience with this, whether you went through with surgery and regret it or if it was the right choice? Also, if you decided against the surgery and it worked out. I know it will never heal fully with it being a complete tear but I’m hoping maybe a brace will work, even if it has to be long term. She’s a lounge around and sleep in the shade all day type of dog, loves swimming though.

Even if figure out a way to come up with the money, I’m afraid that she will just re tear it and need another, which would be devastating. I’m also worried if we don’t go through with the surgery for financial reasons that she will be in pain the rest of her life and it will be our fault 😭.

Any info is appreciated!

2 thoughts on “Tovah’s Story: Complete ACL Tear Surgery

  1. I feel everything you are saying. Our dog has health issues and has been on predizone for months causing weight gain.He is supposed to be around 125 pounds but is now 166 pounds. The other day he completely tore his ACL and of course surgery was the only thing this vet suggested although she sent us home with pain meds for 14 days. We dont have the money for this surgery and I have been searching the internet for ideas on how to deal with this. He is not even 4 yet.

  2. Hi there! I am so familiar with this! I think it might be more painful for us to watch our dogs limp around than it is for them, but probably not. I have 2 valley bulldogs (boxer/english bulldog mix) and both of them have had to have surgery – my girl for her knee cap and my boy for a torn acl – both in 2020. Care credit, if they accept it, is a great way to go, if you can pay it off in so many months w/o interest. Just last week, my boy tore his other acl. Just as i got the last surgery paid off! I was talking w/ a co worker and he was telling me he just took his dog to tijuana, where the surgery was a fraction of the cost here in cali. And they did a surperb job. The vet comes highly recommended. I’ve been quoted between 3 and 6k in so-cal, and less that 2k in mexico. I know it’s not an option for all, but thought i’d throw it out there. Good luck!

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