ACL Tear

It started off like any normal day in our household; Fendi loves to go to the park in the morning to run and play fetch. I use this time, while the house is quiet, to do training with the puppy. 

As usual, Fendi and the puppy napped most of the afternoon. When Fendi got up, she would not bear any weight on her left rear leg. I called and booked a vet appointment for the next available time slot, 2 days from then. She has suffered minor limps before and after a day or two plus an additional week of bedrest, we have never noticed any significant issues or pain. This was different as she had never refused to bear weight on a paw. 

Over the night, the pain seemed to amplify for her as she was crying and whimpering through the night. We decided to take her in as soon as the vet clinic opened as we felt it was an emergency situation. 

The Desert Inn Clinic, as usual, was fantastic. They were able to take her in almost immediately. Fendi was sedated, given pain relief and received an exam as well as ultrasound and X-rays. The vet confirmed Fendi has torn her ACL and that this was probably a long time in the making. Dobermans, being working breeds, will typically not show physical pain until it is unbearable and will keep fighting to stay active through the pain. I feel so bad knowing this may have been bothering her for months – but there really were no noticeable signs. The vet recommended CCL TLOP surgery to correct this problem. They have one certified surgical vet for this procedure at this clinic. Since we have been very happy and satisfied all around with this clinic, as I have mentioned in previous posts, we booked immediately with Dr. Mong. We were hoping to get the procedure done immediately, but had to settle for the next available time slot which is May 24th (approximately 2 weeks prior to the initial visit. 

They sent us home with sedative and anti- inflammatory medication to keep Fendi quiet and comfortable while awaiting surgery. The initial cost for the diagnosis and medications was approximately $400. The scheduled surgery will cost between $3-4,000 with a 75% deposit upon booking (I put down approximately $2k over the phone and the process was very simple). 

We posted about Fendi’s torn ACL on social media and we were very shocked to discover MANY people we knew had been through this! A friend of a friend suggested a Facebook group that has been extremely helpful and that I have been reading daily for tips. Between shared stories and our own research it seems to be a very common problem with large active breeds. We were also beyond pleased to see the full recovery rate to be about 95%!

We are so excited for Fendi to have surgery this upcoming Sunday and will be giving updates!

Keeping Fendi Quiet 

  1. Sedation – This has been crazy hard, especially with the puppy egging Fendi on. Fendi gets 3 sedatives every 8 hours. At first they told us 1.5 – 2 but that was doing absolutely nothing and she was off the walls. They told us we could increase to 3 and honestly, it still doesn’t seem to have much effect. The pills cost approximately $20 per prescription. We have only had to do one refill so far. 
  2. Crating & Gates – Fendi has been spending more time than ever in her crate. I feel guilty about this, but it is the best way to keep her stationary.  We had to re-set up the crate, which is very large, and we have made it as comfy as possible with all her favourite blankies. We also got a baby gate from Target so she cannot run up and down the stairs. We looked at plenty on dog websites and supply stores, but they were way more expensive. If it was a permanent fixture in the house, we’d probably get something more aesthetic, but this is a perfect, cheap and portable option for us right now (approx. $20).
  3. Toys – Unfortunately, we have had to significantly decrease playtime and Fendi’s time with her toys. I wish this wasn’t the case, but Fendi has always loved flinging and throwing her toys. They get her very riled up. Now we are giving her balls to chew on in the crate so she cannot throw them around or chase them. We also give her a bully stick (if you have a Costco membership I have recently discovered this is the cheapest place to buy nice big sticks at the lowest prices I have seen of approx. $30, online they cost more) daily, along with the puppy. Chewing the ball and bully sticks really seem to calm her and keep her busy. 
  4. Outside – You can just see it in her eyes, Fendi is SO sad she cannot be out and about. She now goes for her 3-4 bathroom breaks throughout the day on leash and only in our “backyard” area. We also started bringing her on drives as she loves sitting in the car and that seems to make her really happy. I would like to take her to the park on leash just to lay down and sunbathe, but I don’t want to risk her getting frustrated and trying to run/jump. Will update on this. 
  5. The Puppy – We actually anticipated this being a much LARGER problem then it is proving to be. We have kept London’s exercise schedule completely the same; 20 minute walk in the morning and 4-5km walk in the evening when its in nice and cool – along with various other activities depending on the day. Since the puppy is getting adequate exercise, she pretty much just snuggles and sleeps with Fendi during the day. They are still occasionally wrestling. If they aren’t moving around much I will let them indulge, but if it starts getting too rowdy we place them in their crates with a toy or bully stick so Fendi calms down.  
  6. Alternative Assistance – We ordered Fendi leg braces and a wheelchair. We got the wheelchair used off ebay for approx. $200. It came very quickly and was relatively easy to set up. Unfortunately, she absolutely hates it. The goal of the wheelchair was to use for her to take a short walk down the street (about 5 mins total). We tried once with this and she was so horrified she was shivering, so we have not attempted it again and will probably resell it. The leg braces were Very simple to put on. She also really hated these. We tried for a few hours for the added support, but it seemed she was walking even more strained with them on so ultimately, will not be using again until we consult with the vet. The goal with both of these products was to produce less strain on Fendi’s good leg as it is common for the second ACL to tear from the aded strain. We haven’t personally found success with these items yet, but are very open to any tools that could help her!

Please comment below if you have any advice or have gone through a similar experience! 

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