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torn acl

Live, Play

New Dog Drama

June 8, 2016
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All it took was a half hour of playing with Cash at the shelter for us to realize that he was the perfect dog for our family. He was sweet, young, energetic, and athletic. He looked like a good running and biking partner. We adopted him with big plans for the summer and all the things we would do to do together.

A few weeks after we brought him home we noticed a slight limp on his rear right leg. He’d wake up from sleeping and tripod around for a few minutes before returning to a normal gait. He’d eventually shake it off but if you paid close enough attention you’d see that he still wasn’t putting much weight on it.

I posted this picture, which I took of Cash in Fruita a few weeks ago, in a Facebook group for the surgery he is having. Someone asked if it was his right rear leg that is hurt. It is. I had never noticed but you can see, even in this picture, that he doesn’t have much weight on his right leg.

When I realized that this wasn’t going to be a fleeting thing I made an appointment with the vet. After a bunch of tests and some X-rays the diagnosis was a torn CCL (the dog version of an ACL). The vet said we might be able to avoid surgery if we completely restricted his activity for a while.

Cash spent the next two or three weeks tied to things. Tied to the deck post when we all hung out outside. Tied to the table leg inside in the kitchen. Tied to me while I was making dinner. He got no walks and was not allowed to play. After a few weeks of this there were no signs of limping and we were given the go ahead for a VERY slow reintroduction to activity.

And then he got loose in the backyard the other day. He chased a bunny, played with his sister, and made a valiant attempt at leaping out six foot fence. The limp returned with a vengeance and the vet decided it was time for surgery.

I’m bummed. There’s the pain of surgery for Cash, the struggle of keeping a young, active dog calm for  months on end, and the cost. There’s also the unfortunate fact that a dog with one ruptured ACL has a 50% chance of blowing the other one within the year. We’re on a long road to recovery. We had a huge summer of camping planned and now I have no idea how much of that is going to happen. If he recovers well from this (which is what I’ve been told happens – TPLO makes knees bombproof!) it will obviously all have been worth it but for now? This kind of sucks.

His surgery is scheduled for June 23rd, two weeks from tomorrow. It can’t come soon enough. Recovery is going to be a slow process but I look forward to getting him onto the “recovering” side of this instead of the “waiting for something to happen” side. I just want my happy, playful dog to be able to be my happy, playful dog again!

Other than the knee drama he is settling in well. He noses his way under the covers every night and sleeps there curled up next to me until morning. He adores his human sibling. He may be one of the sweetest, most loving dogs I have ever met – and I say that as someone who has met a lot of sweet, loving dogs.

I’ll be using this blog to keep you all posted on Cash’s recovery so check back for updates – and feel free to send any good thoughts you can spare our way!