Friday, September 30, 2011

Advanced Studies- The Hard Way

It's no secret, I always wanted to be a veterinarian, but circumstances beyond my control prevented it from happening. Apparently my pack is determined that I get to study canine illnesses and injuries the hard way, thru actual experience. Now, we probably don't have any more illnesses and injuries than any group of 10 dogs living together, or say 10 two year old humans in daycare, but lately they've been turning up the learning curve.

Morgan has been coping with arthritis in her hips and back legs for several years. Lately we've noticed that she's walking stiffer than usual. We try to avoid stairs with her and I've been taking her into the front yard instead of making her go up and down two flights of stairs to the back yard. This morning when we headed for the front door, she was limping. It wasn't just a stiffness limp, her left hind leg was hanging uselessly.
I made a call to Dr B, who was in surgery. He said to bring her and leave her. He'd check her between patients. The call came a couple hours later. Morgan has a torn cranial cruciate ligament. You athletes out there will recognize this as a tear to the ligaments holding the knee in place.
Because of her age, almost 12, we've decided to try to treat the tear without surgery. This requires weeks of rest and walking on leash only to relieve herself. She's also getting medication, Adequen injections every two weeks, an increase to her Metacam arthritis medication and Tramadol three times a day for pain. We'll keep surgery as an option if this treatment doesn't help her.
Our goal is to get her healed and back to playing with sticks and hunting for lizards. I'd welcome any advice or comments from those of you who have dealt with this injury without surgery. You can email me at wilcoxhall@ymail.com

And a note to my dogs, it's OK, if I'm curious about canine health problems I can read about them. You don't have to keep presenting me with these new challenges.

17 comments:

Barbara said...

I'm so sorry to hear this! I dread ever having to tell my dogs they can't play - they'd defy me anyway. I hope the non-surgical will cure it...

Nicki said...

Don't you love the way they feel the need to continue presenting us with challenges? I've seen a lot of dogs with thickened, crunchy knees that I'm sure have had cruciate tears who hardly even walk with a limp. With adequate management she will probably do fine. Just takes a while. But so does post-op recovery.

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Oh dear, we are so sorry to read this. Dakota tore her ACL but her story isn't a very happy one. Your vet must have some good experience with this to have even suggested it. We hope Morgan will heal quickly for her sake and yours too. Paws crossed and lots of good thoughts headed your way.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

gMarie said...

Best of luck to you all as Morgan learns to deal. I hope the other dogs respect her space and don't jossel her much. Here's hoping next summer will be full of lizard hunting for her. g

Jed and Abby in MerryLand said...

Poor Morgan! We sure hope she heals without needing surgery. And that your home emergency room shuts down for a while.

Jed & Abby

scotsmad said...

Poor Morgan. We hope the course works and there's no surgery. We've got our paws crossed.

XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

Maggie and Mitch said...

We are sending Morgan lots of AireZen. We hope she's up and feeling better soon. Poor Morgan :-(

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Mango said...

Oh no! The dreaded ACL. Well, as the OP Pack said, it is such a common injury that your vet should have lots of tricks up her sleeve. But, seriously, I agree, doggies, let your poor old mom read books instead of having to diagnosis actual doggie issues.

Mango Momma

SissySees said...

Paws crossed for you and Morgan. Mugsy's looking down too, sending "I survived the same torture in the name of healing" thoughts to Morgan!

Stella said...

Lots of sad news for our pups today! Morgan will get our hopes, prayers and good wishes for a recovery as complete as possible.

I am sure you have all heard about The Thundering Herd's Kodiak who suffered an injury on vacation at the beach.

Crossed paws and prayer for both these pups.


Stella, Jo and Zkhat

Marjie said...

Poor little Morgan! I hope she's up and about again soon.

And you'd better have your note translated into Doggish. I'm pretty sure that even the brightest in your pack doesn't actually read English.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I'd do the same thing! I know the surgery is an easy one to recover from (compared to the others) but anytime you can avoid it, it's so much better and so much cheaper! :-)

Let us know how it goes, paws crossed the the extra TLC and meds do the trick!!

Sue Bridges said...

So sorry to hear that all is not well, I hope the patient starts to get back to normal soon. It is so hard to see them struggle, but I am sure with lots of love and rest she will be back to her old self. Sue x

kathy b said...

Oh, this is the hardest way to learn. Im sorry. Prayers to St. Francis on his date, 10/4 to help your pup

Just Ramblin' said...

Poor sweet Morgan. I hope she feels a little better each day. Our Maggie Mae dealt with arthrits and now our Miss Sadie is starting to have a tougher time with it. Surgery is such a tough thing on an older pup. Hopefully she will heal quickly. : )

parlance said...

We did deal with a similar injury exactly a year ago with traditional surgery, but I must say that the recovery and rest was probably much like what you will have to do without surgery. It was months before we resumed activities. But one year later Penny is active again.

There's a whole group devoted to recovery without surgery. Do you already know it?
ConservativeManagement@yahoogroups.com

parlance said...

I forgot to say, I blogged over time about Penny's recovery, the use of ramps, the exercises, etc.