Advice needed on retriever CCL injury
Sometimes I think if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck!
The Golden Retriever, who is now over 4 years old, has suffered what appears to be a significant CCL injury (rear knee). I noticed that he was favoring his rear hip over the last couple weeks, or at least I thought it was his rear hips and I just figured he'd overdone it during one of our recent outtings or while him and the lab pup were playing. I tried to keep him slowed down and after a week he seemed pretty much back to normal. So, 2 days ago, I get the call from home that he was out in the back playing with the lab and now he can hardly move his rear legs (these kinds of things always happen while a guy's at work, too).
So, off to the vet they go and the call back a couple hours later is that it's his knee with a probable tear of the CCL. At this point, they've just got him on pain meds with forced bed rest for the next couple weeks to let the inflammation go down and then re-evaluate. If he's not any better at that point, they'll refer us to a canine orthopedic up in Anchorage.
So, assuming the worst (and I'm sure the worst is what it will be), does anyone have any advice about dealing with a CCL tear and what method of treatment worked. He's more family pet than a working dog, but I'm hearing that we could be looking at a 3-6 month post-surgery recovery period.
Given that part of it... any tips on convincing a 2-yo lab that she needs to slow her roll when playing with the golden? The 2 of them can run, chase, and wrestle for hours on end. Obviously this has to stop for the recovery sake of the golden.
If you learn anything about the options in Anchorage let me know. It looks like my lab torn her CCL this hunting season. There are a couple different types of surgery that are offered. I will post up what I learn over the next weeks.
I'll keep ya'll updated on what I figure out. After 2 days of forced rest, the golden is feeling better and wanting to get out to play, but the vet says he has to be kept restrained for the next couple weeks to see how much healing is going to happen on it's own. Apparently there is a wide variety of fixes and the severity of the injury after a rest period will dictate how serious they need to get.
The lab doesn't understand why she can't go out and play with her buddy, so that ain't helping the situation much. And of course, I'm still at work for another week before I can go home to help out, so the wife is getting close to wit's ends.
I know more about human medicine, and if this were a person with a knee injury, I'd have them on an anti-inflammatory with a compression wrap and keeping it elevated with restricted motion. So, why wouldn't we try to use a compression wrap with a dog's knee joint as well? The wife says they don't do this with dogs, and I ask why not? Doesn't RICE therapy work for any living creature with boney joints?
My lab FC/AFC Whitewater Plourdes Ms tore her first cruciate as a puppy. She had a TPLO done by Dr Jim Hagee in Chugiak. 3 years later she tore her other cruciate and Dr Hagee did another TPLO.
Missy's first TPLO was in December of 2006 when she was 11 months old. 2 weeks after the operation I drove down to California then Texas for winter training and trialing. I rehabed her as well as I could. Mostly it was leash walking and swimming her when we were near water warm enough to swim her. She recovered well and you couldn't tell she'd been operated on 3 or 4 months post op.
The 2nd operation was a year ago last May. I knew what to expect then and the rehab went a little better. There's a rehab vet in Anchorage, Linda Cho at Vet Speciaties of Alaska, which will could be the place you are referred to. I went to her once a week with Missy from 2 weeks after surgery 'til 8 weeks after surgery. I did lots of walking on lead and swimming also. The rehab vet gave us a schedule to follow and some exercises. Missy did not like their underwater treadmill but I wanted the rehab vet to put eyes on her once a week so the poor girl had to put up with it. I tried telling her it was for her own good but she never believed me.
8 weeks post op both the surgeon and the rehab vet said to put her back to work so I did. She won an open in Fairbanks at 10 weeks 4 days after the TPLO. There's definitely life after cruciate surgery.
I may just have the answer for you. I have an 11 month old Choc Lab that is a hunter and most importantly a registered service dog for my children. When he was 3 months old he tripped me and a 25 lbs pup vs a 190 lbs man dosn't turn out so well. I landed knee down straight on his left leg and snapped his femur clean into. Yes i'm a grown man, but I shed some tears over that pup that day when I saw the X-Rays. It was Sat Jan 29th and I took him to the Vet in Eagle River to find out it was indeed broken. The Vet there gave me some information I am very thankful for. The name of Dr. Bob Sept at the Bering sea animal clinic in Chugiak. He is an Orthopedic surg, and I'm hearing one of the best. His clinic is in his home and to some that may be a turn off, but I can vouch that it's a straight up set up. He is profesional and cares for the animals he treats, and not one out for the money. He did his surgery the next day on a Sunday and I picked him up at 0700 on Monday. I liked the fact that my pup was there in his house under his care instead of being in a clinic downtown with no one there. He put a rod in my pups leg and removed it 7 weeks later after it healed all for $1500. Try geting the same procedure done in anchorage for under $2400. Then every visit back was even more amazing. He saw that some of his vac's were due soon on a visit to check the leg and gave them to him free of charge....yes you heard me. Now today was that time to get towards his 1 year check up so this morning me and my now 75 lbs pup go to his clinic and he gave him a full over look, dewormer, ALL boosters to include rabies and....wait for it.....$36.00 for everything. ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!? A visit like that in Anchorage would be at least $75-$100. I'm telling you now, you will be hard pressed to find vets like this one anymore. He is truly one of a kind. He does injuries like the ones described above all the time. I'm not saying there aren't other great Ortho's out there but I am saying where I personaly know a GREAT one is. If you want pictures of the X-Rays and all just let me know. Dr Bob's numbers are 688-6578 (clinic) and 748-4812 (cell)
Thanks for the doc recommendations. If it comes to the surgery point, I'll check them out. Gonna be a pain as I'll have to drive up from Soldotna, wait through the surgery and post-op, then drive 'em back down. And he doesn't care for riding in a moving car for more than about a half-hour straight.
Right now, the dog doesn't want to stay down. Vet added some valium to the mix to try and help keep him in bed for the next week. Once again, he acting like there's nothing wrong with his knee, but you can feel that it ain't right when you move it. Another week until a re-evaluation.
Boy oh boy do I empathize w/ what you are going through. Our young lab got hit by a snow machine, broker her rear leg at the growth plate, and it was game on.
In FAI, Scott Flamme over at Mt McKinley Animal Hospital did the work, and it turned out perfectly. A long healing time, but almost 3 years later and the only thing you can see is the scar.
So yes, I'd tell you Scott is good, but guess what is more important is that likely she'll be ok. Mike Edwards in ANC has a good rep too. Not sure about pricing. I like what Southernboy was saying.
Wonder if now would be a good time to get signed up for animal insurance? Not sure how it all works, but by golly, if I had time between the broken leg and when surgery was needed, I'd sure as heck have tried to get my pup insured.
Update... Did first follow-up with the Vet after a couple weeks of anti-inflammatory meds and restricted activity. Steady improvement leads the vet to think this is not a CCL tear, but might be a meniscus tear. Much less severe injury, though the final treatment may still be surgery. A couple more weeks of AI's and they'll do some imaging to confirm where we go next.
I would just say, to always get a second opinion before ANY surgery. Regardless of how well you know/trust the vet. You'll of course know the best solution for you and your canine companion. Good luck!