My dog's blown her chances at an athletic scholarship... (kinda long)

Yes, Spooner-dog has something in common with some famous football (either kind) players - she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (in dogs, it’s called the cranial cruciate ligament) in her left knee Wednesday afternoon.

I got home, let her out as normal - changed clothes & read the mail - let her back in the house & she was limping. I checked her foot to see if she’d stepped on something - no cuts. I gently felt up & down her leg, she didn’t flinch, but she was definitely holding her back left leg up. No whimpering or yiping, so I had no idea what she’d done.

I called the vet (she was about due for her yearly exam anyways) & got an appointment in 10 min (we live about 5 min from the vet). She tried going up the stairs – we live in a tri-level – fell down & yiped a bit. So I carried her up the stairs (thank goodness she’s lost a little weight!) & then lifted her into the truck to go to the vet.

The doctor said it was definitely the ACL based on the way her knee moved & recommended we see a specialist in Indy - it would cost about the same, but they do these operations several times a week vs several times a year locally. He told me we were looking at about a grand total… and it wasn’t something that would heal by itself. So unless we want to call her Gimpy …

We were able to get in with the specialist yesterday afternoon and the consulting visit went pretty well. She goes under the knife a week from today - we won’t get to sleep in on Good Friday as they want her checked in between 7-8 am. We can come get her the following morning - they like to keep them overnight for monitoring.

I really liked the surgeon - he was VERY patient - took time in letting her get familiar with him & her surroundings before he tried to examine her… we still needed to muzzle her, but just long enough for the surgeon to confirm the tear. They decided not to do x-rays that visit as she was stressed and the diagnosis was pretty clear-cut. They’ll take pix before the surgery just to make sure there are no surprises. Since she’s getting the surgery relatively quickly they are not anticipating much damage to the meniscus (cartilage that cushions the femur & tibia) - which means a better long-term prognosis.

We went out briefly twice last night - then again this morning. I think her new nickname is either “Pogo Puppy” or “Hopalong”. She’s just as eager to go for a walk as ever - I have to keep urging her to slow down!

I’d appreciate hearing from anyone whose pets have had this procedure & what the long-term results are/were.

Politzania, which vet are you going to? (I used to be a tech and am familiar with some of the local specialists.) Two of my former coworkers had dogs with torn ACLs. I believe they both went to a specialist in Anderson and were very please with the results.

Indianapolis Veterinary Specialists - just east of the Castleton Mall. Dr. Mason mentioned Anderson as a possiblity as well, but we were able to get an appointment more quickly with IVS.


Politzania - My dog Kate (doberman-pointer cross) blew out both her ACLs a year apart when she was maybe 5 & 6. She had surgery and was fine afterward. Lived to a ripe old age of 14. Recovery from surgery wasn’t bad and she never had any problems. Some arthritis as she aged, but nothing unusual in a dog. Good luck!


So I would assume Dr. Stephan (sp?) is doing the surgery? (I used to work at a clinic 3 blocks south of IVS on Bash Road. We sent quite a few patients to Dr. Stephan.)

My dog Bandit had that too, when he was a little over a year old. He had the surgery, and has been fine since. He’s 13 now. The part I really remember is he had a purple cast (Vikings color! :)). He mostly left it alone, and when he finally did start picking at it, the vet said it was time to come off anyway.

Good luck!

Small world Avarie. I used to work at Avalon just down the street and around the corner.

What they said Poli. It’s not a terribly terrible surgery and if you keep the weight off Spooner, she should be Jake forever.

Well, there’s always coaching or sportscasting.

Thanks to everyone for the positive comments – Dr. John Silbernagle’s doing the surgery (younger guy, may be new to the practice), Avarie.

Rue - easier said than done, I think … but we’re working on it.

My malamute Bob blew his ACL at age 4, lived to age 13. I never saw any problems after the surgery.

Just remember to follow the long-term postop instructions (2-3 months) to prevent re-injury during the healing period. I remember having to carry Bob up and down stairs for about 6 weeks, not being able to let him off leash for 2 months, etc. (YMMV)

Yeah, I spent a winter with a malamute who couldn’t run in the snow. We both put on about 10 pounds.

Spooner has her follow-up appt this Friday - we’re really hoping she at least is cleared to go up & down stairs - she’s getting to be quite a load! Not sure how much weight she’s gained - but I’e really missed my walking partner.

She’ll take a couple of steps with the injured leg - especially if she’s distracted by something - but is still limping around most of the time. The incision has completely healed & the fur’s slowly growing back.

We’ve really tried to keep her mobility limited (tho she has snuck up/down the stairs a few times when we weren’t watching).