It is a straightforward way of thinking: when something is broken in your dog’s body, you get it repaired. However, things are never this simple. When you are dealing with dogs that are bigger or heavier, ACL injuries are something that can happen quite often. You may hear about acl ligament tear in dogs all the time, and that is normal. But the thing that worries us is how many people go straight for the option of invasive and expensive surgery, given the statistics about how dogs recover from these types of procedures.
We can go through the stats a little bit right now, and it should help explain to you what is going on. The thing with these procedures is that maybe 15 or 20 percent of the dogs that go through the surgery are going to have 100 percent normal limb function afterward. And many of them may develop issues in their other knee, while some need a second surgery because the first one did not do a complete job of repairing the issue. So the question is, why are we going through all of this hassle for something that barely works properly?
You should ask yourself this question if you are looking at surgeries that will cost thousands of dollars. Then you have specialist appointments to see the progress of the surgery, and all of this can add up very quickly. You are easily looking at spending between $5,000 to $15,000 depending on how your dog does (or does not) recover from the procedure. What we want to do is give you an alternative option that could work just as well, on a fraction of the budget. This process is something called conservative management of the knee injury, and it has worked for many dog owners.
We will start by saying is that the same issues that come with surgery are present here. There is always a chance that the process is not going to work. Your dog may always have a bit of a limp, or they may re-injure their knee. But if you are committed to the process, it can work. What you will need to do is buy a high quality dog brace, place it on their impacted leg, and you will also need to work with a physical therapist who can help your dog recover from the injury.
Another aspect of this conservative management is weight loss. Knee injuries are more likely in bigger or heavier dogs. If you can get some of the weight off their body, it dramatically lowers the load on their knees. And less of a load means an easier recovery, and a much smaller chance of them getting injured again. It is all up to you with regards to what method you choose, but we wanted to let you know that there is another option rather than blindly going in for these expensive and invasive surgeries that do not always net you the result that you wanted or expected.