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Old February 14th, 2015, 10:47 AM
renkma renkma is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 45
ACL injury - my Chihuahua is a special case

My Chihuahua darling, Gumdrop Twinkle-Toes was dealt an awful hand of cards genetically from the waist down.
At four months (yes, months) old, she was diagnosed with grade 4 hip dysplasia. She went through two FHO surgeries in the following year. She recovered beautifully, such a little champ, and was enjoying her new life with pain free hips. She was running and happy ... and then it all crumbled. Christmas eve she was playing with a toy Santa brought her and she slipped and fell on her right side. She started limping immediately. During her recovery we were used to seeing these little set-backs and felt it was another one. We put her back on her Tramadol and within a day, she was doing fine, and she was her normal self for three weeks, but then all of a sudden, she started favoring the right leg again. I wasn't taking any chances and brought her in to see her surgeon. Her hip wasn't the problem this time ... she was diagnosed with grade two luxating patellas - but the limp was more than likely due to an ACL injury in her right knee. His high hopes are that she just gave the ligament a good yank when she fell and she is on a long recovery time with Metacam and controlled activity.

Here's the thing - she has been through SOOOOO much so early in life. And surgery for either ACL or luxating patellas would have to be done out of town - her surgeon wouldn't take on "rebuild" type surgeries. So we are hoping beyond hope that recovery, controlled activity, keeping her weight slim and healthy, and anti-inflammatories will do the trick. I have her on Glucosamine/Condroitin as well. I don't want to have to put her through any more surgeries, and sure don't want to take her out of town for more ... leaving her in the care of strangers so far away.

So far, she is walking fine, trotting fine. When she tries to start running, I stop her, but once in a while she gets a little spurt in and she then favors the leg again. I have her SIT, which seems to reset the joint because I then let her go and she is fine again. She is showing no pain ... just looks like she feels something is strange and bothersome.

So my question is ....
Anyone with a tiny breed with ACL injury (not an all out rupture), that are trying to allow for healng time rather than jumping into surgery. Do you have any tips and tricks that work for you to aid in the healing?
Any stories that might give us hope would be greatly appreciated.

I've come to realize my baby will never be "normal". She is special needs and I have to stop hoping for her to have a normal life of running laps around the yard playing and jumping... and accept that I cant fix her...I can only do what I believe is best for her...and most importantly...love her more than anything forever and pray that is enough.

Thank you.
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 08:31 AM
renkma renkma is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 45
Update on Gumdrop's knees

Well, we took Gummy off of Metacam and see how things go. She has improved, but not as much as would point to an ACL injury, and because of limiting her level of activity. Her surgeon (from her FHOs) and I both agree that it is looking like luxating patella rather than an ACL injury, as she is not showing any pain and there is no swelling.
Her right patella is the one causing the problem, but as soon as it pops out of place, if I put her in a sit, it resets. She is learning now to sit automatically to reset it when it pops out. I don't let her bolt around like a maniac anymore, but do encourage trotting and bunny hopping after her toys to keep her muscles strengthening. Come Spring, I will be able to take her for walks and strengthen her joints further on slight inclines.

So at least for now, we have decided to go the non-surgical route and treat her through nutrition, supervised exercise (and plenty of it). She's been through so much so early in her life. She got unlucky genetically, but I have to toot my own horn, she won the mom lottery. I will give this little girl everything she needs in life, and always make the best decisions for her to make sure she lives as happily and healthfully as is possible. I adore my little special needs darling.

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Old March 2nd, 2015, 01:15 PM
hazelrunpack's Avatar
hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Sounds like Gummy hit the jackpot in the mom lottery for sure, renkma! Poor little girl.

We've had a couple of special needs pups in the past--seems like they're always the sweetest of the sweet and they capture your heart so quickly and completely! Wishing you all the best and continued improvement in your little darling!
"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 03:45 PM
Lynne&Co. Lynne&Co. is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 295
Sorry little Gummy has gone through so much but glad to hear she is on the mend. Here's hoping she doesn't require further surgeries

Did your vet grade her condition? I understand that surgery is not always necessary. Many small dogs live their entire life with luxating patellae without it resulting in arthritis or pain. Grade 3 or 4 normally requires surgery as greater pain or discomfort is involved. Every situation is different.

Going forward, I would excercise her to strengthen her quadriceps muscles:

Have Gummy move from a Sit to a Stand several times in a row.
If you have carpeted stairs, have her go up and down the stairs three to five times, several times a day. You can also find a steep hill and have her walk up and down and zig-zag across the face of the hill.

Underwater treadmills or swimming are excellent ways to strengthen the surrounding knee structures. The resistance of the water will help build muscle strength and the buoyancy of the water makes it a safer workout.

Good luck with your little one
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Old March 4th, 2015, 01:30 AM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: California, usa
Posts: 971
Poor thing

You might want to check out the conservative management yahoo group:
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Old March 4th, 2015, 07:56 AM
renkma renkma is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 45

Thank you everyone for all your wonderful support.

hazelrunpack - you were so kind and supportive to me when I lost my Honey two years ago, and here you are so free with the kindness again. You're such a sweetheart - thank you

Lynn&Co - thank you so much for your wonderful advise. Yes, her surgeon diagnosed her as grade two. He also recommended all those exercises you do - I'll definitely keep her moving. She's loving the sit and up game already . We're working on making her her very own backyard slope and we've built her a bunch of ramps all over the house to get her up onto the furniture - all covered in yoga mats for traction - she loves them (fun to roll toys down). Thank you so much.

MaxaLisa - Thank you - she's a happy little girl though even with the bad legs. She is SO loved!!
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Old March 4th, 2015, 08:29 PM
Lynne&Co. Lynne&Co. is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 295
Wow sounds like you and Gummy are all set

Any chance we could see a couple of pictures of your little darling?
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acl, fho, knee, ligament, patella

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