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Torn ACL

March 6th, 2008, 09:26 AM
Clover, my 4yr. old Border Collie mix just tore her ACL. When seen by two vets at my usual clinic, two different diagnoses and treatments were offered. One said surgery, one said crating for 8 weeks. Note: they will not do x-rays until I schedule surgery. I would prefer not do the surgery as the dog has many allergies and sensitivities. My concern is reaction to the anesthesia. Anyone know of a homeopathic or alternative treatment that has proven effective? Any suggestions on how to keep her calm on the crate while her companion Trapper is romping about the house? Thanks ever so much for any and all advice.

March 6th, 2008, 09:40 AM
I'm sorry about your b/c.

When the vets examined her, did they do the 'drawer sign' test or the tibial thrust test? If so, what were the results positive? In other words, were they able to move her femur & tibia independently of each other?

March 7th, 2008, 05:50 PM

Your post caught my attention because just two weeks ago I personally had ACL surgery for a torn one. Im sure recovery and stuff is different for animals and humans but this maybe something to investigate. My recovery has been pretty good ie. walking and stuff day of surgery, although I had crutches lol.

After I orginally tore it a gal at work said her dog tore his also. She had the surgery done and all is well afterwards. While I dont think it would be a good thing for an older dog a younger one would prolly benefit.

I know its prolly a tough choice and I wish you luck just thought Id put my 2 cents in for you.


March 20th, 2008, 09:35 PM
there isn't much else you can do. might i suggest the cage rest. yes, i understand, border collies aren't exacty the easiest dogs to keep quiet, but it sure beats surgery. if the joints have a chance to fuse, you wont need surgery, but if it doesnt work, atleast you tried. bad news is, if the dog has blown one acl, the chances are pretty high of it doing it to the other one, especially if the dog is overcompensating for the first bit.

Dr Lee
March 22nd, 2008, 12:42 PM
For complete ACL tears I highly recommend surgery unless there are other good reasons not to. The cruciate ligament helps orient the thigh and shin bone together so they can articulate properly. Without this ligament the cartilage is 'off track'. The joint will no longer bend properly. So why is cage rest sometimes recommended? Well if the tear is partial - some can recover but most will still progress to a complete tear. If the tear is complete, then dogs will start using the leg again but it is not because of healing but because scar tissue is being laid down, acute inflammatory proteins have left and the nerves are getting 'used to it'. When you X-Ray (take radiographs) on the torn leg, months to years later - there is a severe amount of osteoarthritic changes that will have occurred.

As was previously stated, if not corrected the other leg's ACL will also tear. Percentages in the 90ish%. Since ACL tears are often though to be congentially related, even with surgery there is a 30ish% that the other side will tear.

One note as to your vet not having taken radiographs. The method of diagnosing an ACL tear is on physical manipulation of the joint (the drawer test or the tibial thrust test - as previously mentioned). Radiographs are not needed but are necessary prior to surgery.

I hope this has answered some of your questions. Good luck. :pawprint:

March 22nd, 2008, 01:04 PM
I agree with Dr. Lee. In Nov. 2006 our yellow lab tore his cruciate ligament. We rested him and ended up getting the TPLO surgery done in March 2007 on his right leg. In July 2007, a week after his rehab for the right leg, he tore the cruciate ligament in his left leg. We did the TPLO surgery on that one right away.

Unfortunately, he got an infection with the second operation and once the bone was healed he had to have the plate removed. A couple of weeks after that he had to have 1/3 of his meniscus removed. But he is fine now although does limp occassionally.