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Old March 21st, 2009, 12:55 AM
chocolatecoffee's Avatar
chocolatecoffee chocolatecoffee is offline
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Injuries in Small Dogs - Torn ACL and Intervertebral Disc Disease

My pups simply aren't having very good luck these days.

One Saturday in December, Cannelle started limping badly; she wasn't putting any weight on her rear right leg at all. We took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament. We put her on Cetyl M (includes Glucosamine) in treatment dosage, and severely restricted her activity (which wasn't easy considering she's like the energizer bunny). The vet said it would take 3 - 6 months best case scenario if she had enough rest, and 3 months later she seems to have completely recovered; we still try to prevent her from running much but she's not limping at all anymore.

Since then, none of the dogs have been allowed to jump off the couch (we don't know how Cannelle was injured, but that's a possibility). As well, Cannelle has maintained her treatment dosage of Cetyl M and Mocha and Panna were started on maintenance dosage. None of them have done the stairs since we moved in May, so that's not a concern.

Fast forward to last week, when Panna's back legs seemed to splay out behind her a bit when she walked, like her back was sore. Panna was a little overweight at 5.3 kg, and now weighs in at a happy 4.6. kg. So off Panna went to the vet, and turns out he thinks she has Intervertebral Disc Disease. She was put on 5 days of Anafen, if she's still not well she'll be put on another 5 days of Anafen, if that doesn't work we're going to try Meticam, and if that's unsuccessful as well we're going to have to look into surgery. She's also on extreme bed rest, and is either sleeping or cuddling; if anything "exciting" happens (guests, etc.), she rests in her kennel. :sad:

I really don't know why these girls keep getting injured, and it's so sad to see them not be able to do anything. Panna's a 6-year-old Maltese and Cannelle's an almost 4-year-old Maltese Mix, and I don't want what to do to try to promote recuperation in Panna and try to prevent these things from happening.

Does anybody have experience with anything related to this?
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Old March 21st, 2009, 01:16 AM
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TeriM TeriM is offline
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Awww, that really sucks :sad:. My understanding is that generally surgery will be required to fix a torn ACL. Rest and glucosamine might help temporarily but will not likely work long term. I don't know about the disk disease but I think it is not uncommon and will flare up on occassion. Do your dogs get any regular exercise? Maybe some quiet on leash walking would be helpful in building some muscle tone to help these problems.

Goodluck .
"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
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Old March 21st, 2009, 02:07 AM
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growler~GateKeeper growler~GateKeeper is offline
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For a definate diagnosis of Intervertebral Disc Disease they would need to do what's called a survey xray - the dog is ususally anaesthetized so they can stretch & straighten the spine.

- make sure the dogs are kept to ideal weight & not over
- jumping should be discouraged whenever possible, you may want to look into a small ramp or stairs for the couch/bed
- lifting the dogs up onto & off of furniture can help as long as you are providing full & even support to both the front & back ends while keeping the back as straight as possible
- use of a halter or harness while walking instead of the leash attached to the collar also helps

If you can find an area where you can take them swimming this is a great no-low impact muscle strenghtening exercise.

the anti-inflammatorys & rest do the trick, if not surgery is the only option

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do

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Old March 21st, 2009, 09:11 AM
SnowDancer SnowDancer is offline
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Re the disc disease, as growler said - but ask your vet the costs of the treatments you are currently planning versus just going to a neuro now and having the proper X-rays taken to determine how severe the disc problem is -might only be a couple of discs - hopefully this is the case (or tell you his/her opinion based on general X-ray already taken). If your pup was a Dachshund I would say run to neuro. Often people spend $1,000 or more on tests at regular vets only to have to then go to the neuro and pay that again for the specialized X-rays. That is what I would do, but then I used to have Dachshunds who had major problems and the surgeries to follow. I hope your pup with the torn ACL continues to manage well. Our current dog, an American Eskimo, has so far not had a problem with this, but I know the names of the ortho surgeons in Toronto and would be ready should it happn - he is about to turn 5 and with his long legs - anything is possible. If it is going to happen it will - certainly you can and should take any possible measures to help reduce the risk, but often a ligament is torn just walking down the hall - same with disc disease, you never know when it will strike. I fully understand how hard it is to keep the little darlings still - and at the right weight.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 02:53 PM
ShannonMB ShannonMB is offline
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Hi Chocolatecoffee! I'm so sorry to hear your little friends keep getting injured. I have no experience with the disc problems, but my cockapoo Gypsy had a torn ACL last year.

Our vet told me that often small breeds can recover from this nicely with no lameness, and luckily Gypsy's knee has become stabilized with rest and she doesn't appear in any pain from it. Thank goodness!!! UNFORTUNATELY, while her knee was healing, she was favoring that leg, and her hip on the other side "blew out". According to the xray, her ACL probably tore doing something simple, because her tibias are "bowed" a bit. And she has some mild hip dysplasia, which likely led to her hip on that other side going out. UGH!! In January she had a femoral head osteotomy (basically removing the hip joint and fusing the femur to the pelvis -- as I understand in lay terms!) I'm happy to say she now appears pain-free and back to being a running wiggle monster. She barely has any change to her gait, either, which surprised me. She will have arthritis, so we have her on joint supplements for life.

I really hope your babies get some relief and no future injuries!!!!
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Old July 14th, 2009, 05:52 PM
Brute Brute is offline
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Hi ShannonMB, I have a 7 year old yorkie who also has a torn cruciate ligament recently. My vet told us that he has to have surgery but I'm so worried that surgery would not work on small dogs. He is an overweight yorkie and we have been trying to get him to get more exercise by walking but eventually his weight put on too much pressure on his joints which caused the injury. We decided to hold off surgery for 2 months and put him on glucosamine supplement. It's only been a week since he got injured and he still has lameness but he doesn't look like he's in any pain. He's also been restricted to running and walking outside for now. My other worry is that his other leg may give out due as he's now using much of his good leg to walk.

How long did it take Gypsy to recover? My vet told us if he doesn't get surgery he will have arthritis when he's older.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 09:24 PM
t.pettet t.pettet is offline
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Injuries in small

Swimming will strengthen the muscles without putting too much pressure on the injured joints. My pom (mill pup) (Tiffy) was born with hip displasia so at 6mos she had the surgery, well after 3 weeks of 3 swims daily (15 mins. each) she was almost completely recovered, off the pain meds and enjoying short walks. It also worked wonders on a rescue terrier mix who had surgery on both knees for luxating patellas. The recovery time was reduced by 1/2. It is also a great way to reduce over-weight dogs and people
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Old July 16th, 2009, 03:53 PM
kandy kandy is offline
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There is a greater risk of the other knee developing problems when the dog has already had a torn ACL. The ACL will not heal - but I think what you mean by the surgery not working is that in a smaller dog the intracapsular repair is often recommended but sometimes doesn't hold. This is basically replacing the ACL with a synthetic substitute. In small dogs, this repair is normally successful - but not always. The synthetic substitute is never as strong as the original ligament, and depending on what caused the original injury, it may not hold. So then you have a second surgery to deal with. There are other repair options available that have a better track record.

Please be aware that your dog is in pain. He may not show it, but it's there. By allowing him to run, those muscles are likely staying swollen, which creates an illusion of stability in the knee. Once the swelling goes down, the limp will be more pronounced. The longer he goes without correcting the problem, the more damage will be done to the meniscus and the more severe the arthritis will be when he's older. He'll have arthritis whether you have the surgery done or not, but the severity of the arthritis will be much worse without the surgery.
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