Author Topic: My dog ruptured his ACL...  (Read 1553 times)

Offline *~Phoenix~*

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My dog ruptured his ACL...
« on: December 19, 2008, 08:38:05 PM »
So, about 2 weeks ago, my dog was chasing my kitten up the stairs. He tripped, and must have twisted his leg just right, because he immediately started limping. We were hoping he had just pulled a muscle, but when it didn't improve, 2 days later, we took him to the vet (we had to take him to a different vet because our normal one was closed). They weren't sure exactly what was wrong, but they gave him metacam, and had us take him home and watch him. They said for us to put up our old baby gates, and have him just stay in the kitchen. He still wasn't getting better, so we took him to our normal vet, and they said that he ruptured his ACL. They gave us Rymadil (sp?), and said that he needed to lose weight, and if he didn't improve in a week, that he'll need surgery. They also said to restrist his excercise.
Well, it's been a week, and still no improvement. He is a 5 year old, 17 pound long-haired chihuahua, and about the size of a small terrier. We've been trying to have him lose weight since he was a pup, but it's very hard. He doesn't eat alot to begin with, so we don't know how to get him to lose weight, short of starving him. His normal food is Eukanuba, which he self-feeds from. He only eats a few pieces a day though. Everyone in the family denies feeding him scraps, but we all know we do. We each only feed him a "tiny bit", but I'm assuming that all those tiny bits combined are what contributes to his obesity.
I'm really having a hard time dealing with his injury, because he hides it so well. He runs around, and only if you pay close attention can you see that he is only running on 3 legs.  :-\ My family gets mad if I play with him, but is it really that bad as long as he doesn't overdo it? I only play with him if he comes to me. His face is just so hard to resist when he drops a toy at my feet.  :-\ We haven't been able to keep him in the kitchen, being that we know that he would just injure himself even more trying to get out (he used to climb the gates when we had them out before). We usually stay on the main level, so he doesn't do that much running up and down the stairs, and if he does, it's usually just downstairs, which is 6 steps.
I've moved from my room to the family room, so that he can sleep with me at night (in my room I have a top bunk which I sleep on, that he can't get to). He's just so depressed though. He doesn't seem to be in pain, but he just doesn't do anything anymore. I think he's given up on us playing with him, taking him for walks, wrestling with him, etc.
That being said, I'm getting depressed, too. Because I feel like I've lost my dog. He's my absolute best friend, I love him more than words can say. But not being able to do the things I love to do most with him, just kinda sucks. I've been trying to convince my parents to adopt a dog from a shelter. An older dog, so we wouldn't have overwhelming puppy energy stressing out my current dog. They are completely against the idea, saying that it would be too much work, and too much money. My dog requires very little care though (aside from the issues that are arising from tearing his ACL--even then, that's not more care, it's just more money for surgery). He only goes outside for 1-2 minutes at a time, and he gets his excercise inside.
I really think it would be better for me to have another dog that I can play with, rather than pushing my dog physically. But they don't seem to see my point.

Does anyone have any advice on this situation, regarding care of him or anything?
His name is Chico, by the way.  :)
Home of Daisie, Maizie, Bailie, Maci, Ebony, Kassadee, and Ivy (mice); Chico and Maggie (dogs); Smeagol, Mia (cats); Wildfire (horse); Sullivan (aka Sully) and Jakey (goats); Starlight, Starbright, and Esteban (fish)

Offline Lise

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Re: My dog ruptured his ACL...
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2008, 09:06:20 PM »
Chico needs surgery.  He isn't going to heal on his own, and the longer he goes without using that leg the worse it will get (muscle mass will decrease) and then physical therapy will be even harder afterward.  And he is at GREAT risk for rupturing his other cruciate ligament in the other hind leg that he is now bearing all of his weight on!

If he is very overweight, that is very hard on his body and as he gets older that puts him at great risk for many diseases.  It can costs hundreds and thousands of dollars more in vet bills for an overweight older dog.  He is also at much greater risk of dying far too young.  Also a "tiny bit" of people food is a LOT for a chihuahua.  To put it in perspective, giving Chico a small piece of cheese would be the same as you sitting down and eating 2 or 3 McDonald's hamburgers. 

Once you get Chico the knee surgery he needs, he will be back to the same dog he was before a month or so afterward. 
|| Lise ||

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Offline *~Phoenix~*

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Re: My dog ruptured his ACL...
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2008, 09:49:48 PM »
Chico needs surgery.  He isn't going to heal on his own, and the longer he goes without using that leg the worse it will get (muscle mass will decrease) and then physical therapy will be even harder afterward.  And he is at GREAT risk for rupturing his other cruciate ligament in the other hind leg that he is now bearing all of his weight on!

If he is very overweight, that is very hard on his body and as he gets older that puts him at great risk for many diseases.  It can costs hundreds and thousands of dollars more in vet bills for an overweight older dog.  He is also at much greater risk of dying far too young.  Also a "tiny bit" of people food is a LOT for a chihuahua.  To put it in perspective, giving Chico a small piece of cheese would be the same as you sitting down and eating 2 or 3 McDonald's hamburgers. 

Once you get Chico the knee surgery he needs, he will be back to the same dog he was before a month or so afterward. 


So, after the surgery, he will be fine? The vet had said that it won't make him better permanently, it will just treat it (not heal it). They said that he will probably have a limp on and off for the rest of his life, and he will probably get arthritis early. Which makes me really sad.  :'(
He IS going to get surgery. Soon. Our finance are really tight, but not having the surgery is absolutely not an option.
Wow. I didn't think of it that way, in regards to the food situation. The only food I usually give him, is a few french fries every few days (he cries if we get Mcdonalds and don't give him any  ::)). And then I have to use either hot dogs or Peanut Butter to hide his pills in (otherwise he won't eat his pills). Are there any healthy people foods that he can eat, and not feel like we're cutting him off? He likes carrots, so he gets little pieces of carrot at night, and my dad likes to share apples with him.
Does anyone know how much he SHOULD be eating? We want to take away his self-feeder, but we want to make sure he is still getting the right amount of food. He eats Eukanuba dry food, the kind that's made for small breeds of dogs.
Home of Daisie, Maizie, Bailie, Maci, Ebony, Kassadee, and Ivy (mice); Chico and Maggie (dogs); Smeagol, Mia (cats); Wildfire (horse); Sullivan (aka Sully) and Jakey (goats); Starlight, Starbright, and Esteban (fish)

Offline tsk_n_such

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Re: My dog ruptured his ACL...
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2008, 10:28:03 PM »
Dogs usually do quite well after surgery, but the level of healing depends on how well the owners follow the after care instructions. It usually requires confining them to a crate for several weeks, with just on leash walks. Dogs fall into routine well, it's humans who put forth the guilt feelings.  If you view the confinement as a short term issue vital to proper healing, it makes it much easier.


Getting weight off of a dog with any sort of limb issue is really important. 17 lbs is a lot, even for an oversized Chihuahua. Even an extra lb on a small dog can really affect them.  It's simple enough to figure out a feeding routine.. put a measured amount of food in a bowl, remeasure at the end of the day.  Do this over several days to get an average on how much your dog generally eats. Don't feed extra treats during that time.  Once you have an average of what he's usually eating, reduce it by about a fourth. Once he's at an ideal weight, go up a tiny bit and see if he maintains. Adjust as needed.  If you must feed extras, choose filling things that don't have tons of calories..green beans are usually well received (the no salt added type) and carrots are a good treat with some crunch.  Even one french fry is a lot of extra calories for a little dog who is overweight.

I'd not get any additional dogs until after his healing process is over.  You don't want him reinjured while he's healing.
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Offline nakedrats

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Re: My dog ruptured his ACL...
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 11:40:08 AM »

Tsk is right.  If you really want to do what's best for this dog, you need to decide as a family to do what it takes to get him healthy.  He's been spoiled with a lot of unhealthy snacks and just like a little kid that's used to eating candy all the time, he'll whine and beg for it, but you've got to do what's best for him and say no.  Pet him, rub his belly, give him attention to show him you love him instead.  If you absolutely have to give him snacks, carrots are the way to go, or try beans for variety.  I know someone who has a dog that really loves small sweet peppers.  Make sure the rest of the family is on board with the plan and sticking with it.  It's not going to work if people are sneaking him fatty snax and extra food behind your back.

My friend has a cat that had surgery for a luxating patella and she was on crate rest as well.  It was hard to ignore her whining in there to be let out, but sticking with the strict crate rest allowed the cat to regain almost normal use of that leg.  2 weeks of boredom aren't the end of the world, and it will be well worth it for the dog to be able to run and play again like he used to.  You've just got to be the responsible pet parent and do what's best for him.  You can make it easier for him by putting his crate in a common area where he can hang out with people and get petted in his crate.  Ask your vet about taking him around in a soft sided dog carrier or the baby-style dog pouches you wear, so that he can come with you and visit with his people, and still be resting and off his leg.  This may help with his crate boredom.  You can also look into getting a dog stroller so he can go for long rides outside for a change of pace.

Offline *~Phoenix~*

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Re: My dog ruptured his ACL...
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2008, 11:13:25 PM »
Well, we have all been agreement about not feeding him table scraps (well, in all honesty, on Christmas Eve I gave him a tiny piece of a hot dog, and my brother let him lick off his fork yesterday, and he got a dog treat yesterday morning for Xmas--but that's it), and he has lost 2 pounds! Yay!!!!  ;D
Hopefully this weight loss continues! He will be having his surgery very soon. We just have to call and get him in.
Home of Daisie, Maizie, Bailie, Maci, Ebony, Kassadee, and Ivy (mice); Chico and Maggie (dogs); Smeagol, Mia (cats); Wildfire (horse); Sullivan (aka Sully) and Jakey (goats); Starlight, Starbright, and Esteban (fish)