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Torn ACL in my hunting buddy

2092 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Rober
Last fall I started hunting with my black lab, boxer, pointer mix and had fairly good results. Over the winter he developed a limp in his back leg and it has been diagnosed as a torn ACL based on his limp and how he holds it. I have decided to not go through with the surgery that was recommended by the vets, since ACL injuries can heal without the surgery given the proper attention. Has anyone else had ACL problems with there dogs and had success without surgery? I Know its a lengthy process and he definitely will have to miss out on this years small game season.
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Unfortunately Kluf, my buddy Rocco tore his ACL early last summer in his right leg. Vet told us the surgery would most likely lead to arthritis in his other leg due to not being able to use the operated on leg. He is 7. He had recovered to about 90% and then late last year, he injured his left rear leg. The vet did not check him out on that one, but my concern is that he has since torn both. Poor guy has been limping ever since. He still goes all out when we are playing and running, but he pays for it afterwards.
Had a brit cut an acl on glass when hunting woodcock. Vet, who was a friend, said you have a 3 legged dog now I'll do surgery and see what happens for free. Best results and bust dog ever.
A couple years ago my GSP was diagnosed with an torn ACL by my vet. Decided not to do the surgery for a couple of the reasons. It did take some time for him to come around but now is about 90% (that being a guess as he is now several years older and has slowed down but still has the drive). There is no limping. He did aggravate the leg and limped a couple of times, the most recent when he stumbled down some stairs because he tends to get in a hurry. He recovered from the couple of set backs in a matter of days. He does now get a 1500 mg/day dose of glucosamine now which seems to help.

What you do is a personal decision. This is only my experience.
My setter had a torn acl 2 years ago. She had the monofilament string method and she has no limp now. The odds are higher for the second leg to go but OK for now.
neither of our dogs are hunting dogs but my wife's lab-mix was busted up pretty good as a puppy, he was a stray but healed up enough when he was brought to the vet clinic that she took a chance and took him. I don't believe his was ACL, but still messed up knees and some old breaks that healed.

anyway: pain management has gone a long way for him, it's an expensive way but she works for the clinic so at least gets a discount i guess. Hills JD food is good for the joints, dasaquin, previcox, fish oil AND gabapentin he travels pretty good most days. he was slowing down for a while only going on about 1/2 his normal walk before wanting to turn around, now with the gabapentin he likes a longer walk.

as far as developing more arthritis in one leg because of using it more after a surgery I don't know if I would be THAT concerned, local clinic does quite a few ACL surgeries and will even do a double at times, some people come from out of state leave the dog here for 3-4 weeks (not the employees preferred method due to it being time consuming) but gets the dog back on their feet fairly well usually
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The good leg is not the one that develops arthritis. The arthritis will, always, develop in the injured joint. It is basically a guarantee that arthritis will now develop & progress in this injured dog's joint as it ages. It's just a fact and knowing that the owner can begin to take steps to help slow the progression and mediate the effects of it.
sorry was reading it wrong, but yes it will develop our guy is only 7 and it's showing but with the management he does ok most days
My Doberman tore her ACL a few years ago. My vet is from Ebensburg Animal Hospital. He said that torn ACLs can heal decently in smaller dogs (I think it was dogs smaller than 20-30lbs), but that if it's completely torn and not partially torn, surgery is the best option. I was lucky, since my vet is the only one in the area that does the surgery. He compared it to replacing Lila's torn ACL with piano wire. She still had to be restrained to walking only for the next 8-10 weeks, but the surgery went well and I thought it was a bargain for under $500. I think that was about 3 years ago. My other option was to go to a Pittsburgh vet. Many of them offer tibial resurfacing, which somehow changes how the joint surfaces come together instead of replacing the torn ligament. That tends to come out to a few thousand dollars. Lila did well, although about 6 months later she tore a meniscus in her other knee. I guess the short version is that she recovered well from her ACL surgery although it was probably close to a year til she was back to full normal. Just trying to help with the options available to you. Good luck!
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I have an English Lab and he tore his ACL and more before he was 1. He jumped up to catch a ball and came down and that was it. He couldn't put any weight on it. We had the surgery and he just turned 10 in March. It was very expensive but I didn't want to see him suffer. He never recovered to 100%. When he is running around with another dog and acting crazy he favors that leg for a day or 2. This lab is not a hunter. He is only our house pet.
Its been about 2 weeks since I posted this I started a gluecosamine supplement almost immediately. He is doing much better now starting to walk on it more and more each day. It going to take some time to heal fully but he does not seem to be in any pain. He wont be able to hunt small game this year, but I have been taking him with me to hunt out of the blind for groundhogs. I then walk him out to retrieve. I will keep everyone posted on his recovery and thank you again for all the input.
Following the rehab directions from the Vet is key to a successful recovery. Do not allow your dog to over do it even though it shows it can do more. With a proper rehab your dog should be able to hunt this fall, just not like in the past. Pond swimming is an excellent form of rehab or if you have access to a vet with a water treadmill they work great also.
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