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Questioner

My 11 yo chihuahua/german Sheppard mix just tore his acl.

He's still like a pup, were wondering if we should get him the surgery or just let him heal himself.The vet said that we should keep him off his leg for 10 days and after that he would still walk with a limp. Or if we got him the surgery ($1000 ouch) that the month after would be very painful for him and then he would need about another 2 months of rehab. He's in stellar health for a 11 year old, daily mile long walks healthy weight and diet. Still got a good couple years on him and if its not fixed he may spend that time vegetating instead of playing. If you've had the procedure on one of your pets or any insight please respond.
Bartimeas Ptolemy:

Before I did anything like that I'd figure out how you got a German Shepherd and a chihuahua to mix. Was it a male chihuahua that got dropped on the Shepherd and happened to inseminate it or was it a male Shepherd that almost tore apart a little female chihuahua?

I must say, that is a mix I have never heard of.

Questioner:

ummm, well well.... sheppard was the father. Cutest dog. Thought the mother was just real fat tell she had the 5 pups. (only 2 made it) My boy and his sister. My boy Dingo after a year was about triple the size of his mother.

Pingy:

I am here with ya HOW in the world could they do that. That is one hell of a mix, I am sooo blown away!! Oh sorry for the problem keep off the legs as much as possible and no jumping and stuff..Good luck KB

Rettag:

I was going to post the same answer but I as jt did but I didn't want to be insensitive to your dog's injury issue...but I must say, that is a heck of a combo...:)

Questioner:

No it's all right, he loves the attention. He's so happy it's unbelievable. You'd think nothings wrong with him if he didn't have that limp

Notsomuch:

Hi chris. I work in a vet clinic and see these cruciate ligament injuries quite often. The healing process is very slow. If you chose not to have the surgery make sure you obide by strict confinement for at least 10 days to see if it will heal somewhat on it's own. Sometimes they actually do get better with rest and anti-inflamatories. Do not give him anything for the pain yet as he will not feel the injury much and possibly not let it heal. Once it heals speak to your vet about aqua therapy for strengthening the joint muscles.
If you do go with the surgery make sure you have a chem 12 and pre an CBC done to insure his capabilities for handling the anesthesia. This is a long surgery and very delicate. It is very easy to disrupt the healing with this surgery so your dog would have to be strickly confined for no less than 3 months afterward to insure complete healing. There are many dogs that have to repeat the surgery due to more activity than they should endure post op.
My professional opinion...
An 11 year old...no surgery. Try rest, anti-inflamatories and aqua therapy to build strength back.
Good luck! :-)

Questioner:

Thanks. I'm still on the fence, but......I don't know, I'm reading a lot of success stories about the procedure. How limited would he be if he didn't have the surgery and had the aqua therapy. Would he still be able to go on his walks? Play in the woods? etc etc.

Notsomuch:

I hope your vet has informed you that the surgery doesn't necessarily mean he will have full use of his leg afterwards. It's what we hope for but there are no guarantees. If he doesn't have the surgery and the ligament heals on it's own (as some do) he will actually be just fine. He would be able to go for walks and play and run...but after it heals. The healing process is long regardless if he has the surgery or not. Think of a ligament tear on a human...look how long the recovery is. Physical therapy (aqua therapy on dogs) for sometimes months to fully recover. Even if he does have the surgery bear in mind it's still a long process. It's not magic...just a little help with binding that tear. The newest technique is actually using a solid piece of metal to connect instead of wire. The wire surgery is old now...and not as successful. Also, if your dog is over weight at all put him on a weight controlled diet. That will help also. $1000.00 is a good price for the new surgery. Our clinic charges $1200.00 for the newer technique and there are only 2 vets in the Edmonton area that even perform the new technique, my boss being one of them. Why not give it 10 days rest...see how he does. 10 days isn't long enough for it to heal but if he's not in any pain and keeping off of it it's worth the try. You can always decide later to do the surgery if the rest doesn't work. Be informed...get a couple of opinions before you actually decide. Good luck chris. :-)

Questioner:

(my dog)
Thanks so much, how'd you know I live in Washington?
I read somewhere that you should get the surgery done as soon as possible, but I'm definately going to wait.
My dog's such a good sport, it's hard to tell when he's in pain. But he looks very comforatble and happy, and if he's happy then why make him be miserable for more than a month.
I'm probably not going to get the procedure, but just incase things get worse, he has a slightly enlarged heart (probly from all the love we give him) but would that affect the procedure?

Notsomuch:

It very well could! He is 11 years old. Not a small dog. That adds another complication for sure! I'm sticking by my first opinion, even stronger now after your statement of his enlarged heart...no surgery at this point for your dog. Give him a big hug from me please. :-)

Notsomuch:

PS...I will keep a check here on this question is case you have any more questions. Feel free to visit my space (I will give permission if you do)...you can contact me from there anytime. Any messages sent there go to my email. :-)

Questioner:

Incase you didn't get my message, Thanks aggain, he is actually a pretty small dog about 22 lbs, but we've decided to not get the surgery and we've found a doggy rehab center for aqua therapy.

Notsomuch:

That's great chris! I do think you've made the right decision. Do the aqua therapy at least once to see what they do. You can mimic the therapy at home or somewhere there is a deep enough water source. We do it at our clinic with a deep sink for smaller dogs. You just hold them up so their legs can't touch the bottom and let them 'paddle' with the back legs (or the leg that is injured). It excersizes the muscles without putting weight on it. Do this at least twice daily for 10 days. Then you can cut it back to once daily then every other day..then just a few times a week. Keep the excersize up for a month or two. It will build back those muscles that support the ligaments.
I did get your message to access my space and allowed you. I couldn't email back because it didn't give me your address to reply to. :-)

Questioner:

O haha, thanks, we'll try it starting tonight.
[email protected] btw

Sequoia:

I have never had this experience but I must remark. keep him off his legs for 10 days? And exactly how do you do that? I would pay almost any amount of money for my two dogs as they are my kids as well! Love is very deep and I would not desert them!

Questioner:

Ya, my dogs my little brother, had him since i was 5.

Pete:

Well, my experience is with human ACLs, but for a dog that age, I would probably try to keep him quiet and let it heal. He may have some instability of the joint, but if it heals, he shouldn't have any pain, and isn't that the biggest concern? If you're not interested in agility events for him, then I wouldn't invest in surgery. It's more risky with an older dog. I'm still trying to wrap my head around a Chi-shep mix!! Who was the mother and who was the father with that combo??

Pete:

Oh, just read your comments. It's amazing any of the pups survived. That's one lucky dog you have!

Questioner:

lol read the first comment

Questioner:

oo your fast

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