I’ve come across a great Yahoo group, where generous people share their experience of canine orthopaedic issues. I posted a question based on our experience and feel encouraged by what I’ve learned so far:
- Some dogs, if their cruciate is not too badly injured, can recover enough to live a good life without needing surgery. One member said her dog was managed conservatively for 8 years before needing surgery, and another member said that dogs who don’t have a significant injury can do well. She had a dog who did well.
- Make a rehab plan, realise it may be months before Penny is completely well, and don't assume she is recovered just because the limp goes away.
- If all goes well, we’ll go to short walks in the street, longer walks in the street, and then eventually some play in the backyard to see how she goes.
- Being overweight is a big problem for dogs (uh oh!), and being only sporadically active can cause injuries.( I think we don’t have to feel bad about that one, because Penny has been active every day since we got her, barring times when she wasn’t well or there was some difficulty getting out for exercise.)
- It's important to make sure she builds up her strength equally on each side, so that she is symmetrical. (Having a disc problem myself has made me aware of this, as for thirty years I have tended to favor one side of my body, and so I know the problems this brings.)
A few sites I've bookmarked are:
Dealing with Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Labrador Retrievers
Veterinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Group
Mar Vista Animal Medical Center
Miss Sunshade (yet another gorgeous Airedale) has a very interesting and informative site about her stem cell treatment for an injury.