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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Yesterday, Emmie chased a cat and came up limping. Her back right foot was bad. She wouldn't put any weight on it and it's tough for me to even coax her into the backyard to go potty. We took her to the vet tonight. She walked to the car herself and got in which I was happy to see. The vet said he could examine her in the car, but he didn't. He made her get out and checked her in the parking lot. I knew that was dumb ... too much in and out of the car. Anyway, he felt her leg and said her ACL was torn. It would cost around $2000 to fix it. Being 9 years old and with two hip surgeries already, we really don't want to spend that kind of money and put her through all that ... not at this stage of her life anyway. He said our alternative is to manage the pain and that in a few weeks, it would appear to heal but that in 6-8 months, arthritis will set in really bad and there is a 30% chance the same thing will happen to the other leg because she's putting all her weight on it now. (Why don't they ever say there is a 70% chance it WON'T happen to the other leg instead?) When we got home, she couldn't get out of the car ... no doubt because of all the jumping in and out of the car she had to do to go to the vet. I had to take daughter somewhere so I just gave her some pain meds and left her in the car until I got back hoping they'd kick in by then which they did.

It's been quite a night. DH is absolutely devastated. He's been crying and drinking beer all night. He doesn't want Emmie to go through any of this and when he looks at her, all he sees is a crippled dog who is going to live whatever time she has left in pain. I did some research online when we got back and I saw that torn ACLs will heal on their own in about 8 weeks. Some dogs make a full recovery after that and others are still limited somewhat in mobility, but otherwise okay. I played with her tonight for about an hour and she was spunky and having fun. She didn't get up, but she rolled around and played tug of war. She actually wore ME out!

I mean Emmie is 9 years old. She's had health problems almost all of her life. I know some Goldens live to be 15, but I feel safe saying Emmie was never going to be one of them. My thinking is that if we can give her another year or so, that's right around the lifespan she'd normally have. I mean heck, she already has arthritis! She already has slowed down! DH's thinking is that if she can't be the same dog he had last week, let's put her down. I don't know what to do. We agreed to give it two weeks and re-evaluate it then, but I don't know if I can take him like this for another two weeks. He's crying, drinking, arguing. He's a total mess. I'd be a mess too if I could, but someone has to hold things together. He is not a patient person and Emmie is the light of his life. To top it off, we just had to put down our cat about three weeks ago. Rough year, but I do realize it could be much worse so I'm trying to count my blessings.

Don't know what to do. Am I grasping at straws? Is there any hope? Can they ever be wrong? She hobbles around and even tried to go upstairs, but I have since blocked them. I'm tired and need to sleep. Thank you for reading this.
 

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Now Caue's Dad Too!
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So very sorry for the tough situation you are in. My thoughts are with you. I wish I had a great answer but only time will tell. You might try getting a second opinion or even look into a vet school for further advice.

These are always such difficult decisions to make with a senior. Please keep us posted and be sure to post some pictures of your Emmie.
 

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Coley - my cuddle bug
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Okay, so,don't sell her short. She may have many loooong years ahead of her and you certainly want to do what's right, judging from your original post.

Duke had ACL surgery and wasn't near that much money. I wonder if it was the TPLO surgery they quoted you which is way more expensive but a better outcome.

You can certainly try to manage this without surgery, but you must be very very careful and learn to do proper short walks to strengthen that knee - i.e. short up hills - slowly, and circles, etc.

I know lost of people here that tried the no surgery route and opted for the surgery instead. Duke never had issues with his other knee while Daisy did. Is your dog overweight? If so - dropping pounds would definately help as well.

Good luck!
 

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I dn't have any advice, but I wanted to say s orry this hapened to Emmie. I wish I had more knowledge on any of his, but I can tell you I would go for a second opinion in a few days.
 

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Daisy - my heart
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I definitely want to chime in here but I have to get to work, not enough time. I'm just going to say, for now, that surgery and recovery is not as painful or limiting as not doing to the surgery. If you don't take care of it quickly, the odds of the other leg going out increase quite a bit. It's not going to be a pretty picture if both legs are compromised.

Emmie could live to be 13 or 14, or more, who knows. You can't guess the future, you have to stay in the here and now. Emmie can have the surgery and recover well enough to be active again in 2 months. Of course, complete recovery takes quite a bit longer but the hard part is over quickly. Arthritis, on the other hand, is permanent.

Gotta run, I'll be back!
 

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Dog Lover
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If it were my dog I would have the surgery

Please, if it were my dog I would have the surgery.
My Smooch, who is a rescued Golden Ret., had the TPLO (ACL) Surgery on March 19. She was stepping on the leg the day after. She recovered very nicely and quickly.

TAKE her to the vet and have xrays taken and ask them about it! I never heard of a vet examining outside and I don't think most torn ACL's repair themselves at all.

P.S. Most vets have a credit card, NO INTEREST, THAT you can use for this.
I applied for one for Smooch's Surgery.
CareCredit and Wells Fargo are two of them. Ask your vet.
 

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BonnieM
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I'm very sorry to hear about Emmie. Our dog, Coby, tore his ACL at age 8. We decided to have the surgery (not TPLO), and it was around $1,100 (3 years ago). Coby made a full recovery, and today at age 11, is just as feisty as ever and going strong.

My neighbor has a 110 pound chocolate lab. He tore is ACL 2 years ago. They opted not to have the surgery. The recovery time was several months, but it seems to have healed and he appears to be doing well. He can't run like he used to (he's 9 now), because the leg will bother him. But, he walks with me and Coby 3 miles almost every day, and both are doing well. No signs of arthritis in either dog, as yet.

Don't give up on Emmie. I hope that you and your husband can talk this through and come up with a solution that will work for everyone. Good luck!
 

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I am so sorry you are going through this with Emmie. My yellow Lab Dream had two traditional ACL repairs 8 months apart when she was 8 years old. The surgeries were about $750.00 each...and she did well. My understanding is that conservative management will only work if it is a partial tear. If Emmie has a complete tear it will not heal on it's own...I would discuss this in depth with your Vet, if he is talking about TPLO that is not the only way, traditional works fine especially on an older dog.

blessings,

Julie
 

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Maxine my recently departed one had TWO torn CCL's. First one side then the other. It happens.

Surgery is the ONLY option to fix. Yes you can try to rest the dog to see if it heals (8-12 weeks) but usually the dog reinjures and you are back to square one. I know many who have tried this only to be sorry they did when they go forward with the surgery.

The good news the surgeries are good. Find a GOOD (repeat GOOD) ortho surgeon. The success varies on the surgeon. If you have a good teaching hospital in your area that can save you a small amount of money as the students do the pre and post op care. There are several different types of procedures varying in cost. All work well. You need to know what it is you expect from the results and choose accordingly.

I did the TPLO a bit more expensive. I didn't have an option with the first surgery, the surgeon said this is what we will do. I was too dumb to research. It went GREAT!!!! It is an 8 week post op rehab. The rehab is hard on the humans but the dogs don't really seem to care. We were able to swim Max by week number 4 but she could not walk yet.

Max had her first surgery at 8 and her second at 9 1/2. After her second surgery she NEVER had another NSAID for soreness in her legs. She was running around keeping up with my two younger dogs. She would go on 4 mile walks, started dock jumping and played with agility. Our surgeon said "post op the dog will be able to do all it could do before, however if the dog could not jump the fence before surgery it won't after" :p: She did start to slow down about a year ago she was coming 12 but still demanded her daily walks reduced to 2+ miles. She loved to swim, and still would try to jump off the dock. I lost her last month to cancer. Her knees were fine. She would have been 13 in December.

I have no regrets about the surgery. It is expensive, I won't deny it. The rehab is a bit hard on the humans as I said before (we worry the dogs don't) it is 8 weeks then you start to slowly go back to normal. Sorry for you diagnosis, but it really is the lesser of so many evils. Let us know what you decide. Send me a PM if you have any questions. I have been through it twice (and a THR on my young golden) so I have some experience in ortho issues with dogs. Not an expert though.
 

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Please don't sell her short, this is NOT a life ending injury.

Surgery is effective and will return her to a normal life of her typical activity level.

Check with other vets in the area about the cost, but please have her knee repaired. I had Robbie's repaired, and after recovery from surgery he is completely normal and very active.

9 is young! You could well have 3, 4, even 5 years left with her!
 

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Nancy
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I'm sorry this happened to your Emmie. I know nothing about ACL tears or recovery. But I have had experience with a senior and surgery.

If my financial situation allowed, I'd have the surgery done on a 9 y.o. It sounds like Emmie still enjoys life. My Maggie had 2 surgeries in her senior years, one to remove a large cyst and one for an ear hematoma. She recovered well from both and went on to live 13 days short of her 14the birthday. When her time came it was I that made the decision to help her to Rainbow Bridge. It was clear she no longer enjoyed life and was ready to go.

{{{hugs}}}
 

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Angel Gage's Grandma
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I would opt for the surgery by a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. Jack tore his CCL and had the surgery, as the ligaments will not heal on their own. His recovery was fine and uneventful. He wasn't a golden, but the surgery was the same. Please get an expert opinion before making a final decision.
 

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Logan & Lacey in R hearts
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I have to agree with what everyone has already said. This is not a life-ending injury, but it does affect the quality of their life without proper treatment. I personally would not take the option of "letting" it heal itself. There are a couple of different types of surgery. TPLO (which my Lacey had 5 years ago) is the more expensive of the options, but she was younger at the time so we knew we wanted a treatment that would match her life style and activity level. Since your dog is 9 (and if I were in your shoes) I would go for the less-expensive old fashion repair, but still gives them a good quality of life, surgery. X-rays will definitely tell you the whole story along with a serious conversation with your vet as to the different options. It might be worth it to get some 2nd opinions with other vets. We all know different vets charge different amounts. Any friends in your area that go to different vets they are really happy with?

BTW, take it from someone who has a 9 year old Golden, don't let age be your determining factor. Just this past January we just did FHO hip surgery on Lacey (yes, same one who had TPLO). This actually happened at the same time she was going through chemo. Don't let prior medical problems be the determining factor as to whether or not you do surgery. We have no way of knowing how long our dogs will live. We owe it to them to give a good quality of life while they are with us.

Good luck!
 

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What kind of hip surgeries did she have? That can make the difference.

My story is that we decided NOT to go the surgical route, for some of the same reasons as you. My Jasmine had already had two FHOs and I felt like another orthopedic surgery would just be too much. She was 6 when she tore her CCL.

We did rest for about a month, then we started with exercise and weight loss. If she was having a bad day, I didn't walk her when I walked the boys. As time went on, I noticed that she was limping less and less. For a while, when we would go up to the lake, she would be non weight bearing for the evening, but then wouldn't even be limping the next morning. Now, she may have a very mild limp in the evening after a very full day.

The second vet I consulted with had told me that because Jasmine had two FHOs and had no femural heads, that was really her saving grace because there is a cushion there instead of a solid joint. He was the one who suggested giving it a bit of time.

It's been two years since I had that second consult and Jasmine is in great shape. There is no indication of arthritis in her knee. She will be 9 in January.

The route I took was not the common route. The fact that she had two FHOs is the difference between her and other dogs, I am sure of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Spoke to my good friend this morning who works as a vet tech for our old vet. She was very encouraging. First of all, she couldn't believe the vet who examined Emmie yesterday didn't take her into the office on a stretcher. She said their office has a large flat thing with wheels on it that they use for big dogs and most offices do or should have something similar. She was incredulous that he chose to examine Emmie in the parking lot and not even take an x-ray of her leg. Then she asked me if he charged us for that and when I told her we were charged the standard office visit fee, she hit the roof. My Dh was SO upset last night and I was trying to deal with him and listen to the doctor and I was so worried about Emmie that none of this registered with me until I talked to her today. The vet she works for is Emmie's old vet. We had to change vets when we moved. At first, when we started taking her to the new vet, we liked them a lot, but I've been hearing little things over the last few days that haven't been glowing and after speaking with my friend, the gilt is off the lily even more so to speak. She said Dr. B (our old vet and the guy she works for) would never have made a diagnosis of a torn ACL in the parking lot of his office without at least taking one x-ray. She also asked if the vet's office provided us with an estimate of the surgery and a breakdown of all that it would involve and what we would be charged for everything and I said no. I can see now how stupid this whole thing was. Emmie may very well have a torn ACL or it may be something else entirely. Either way, I don't think she was properly examined and diagnosed. Unfortunately, Dr. B's office is over an hour away, but I am going to see if I can get Emmie in there possibly over Thanksgiving break (have a whole week off then) or next week. In the meantime, my friend agreed with me to just have Em rest and take it easy and not go up and down the stairs, etc. Now I've got to try to peel DH off the ceiling and get him to see that the vet who saw Emmie last night did not do a proper exam and so we can't make any decisions at all one way or the other based on what he said. I didn't sleep very well last night so I'm off to take a nap with my doggie. Thank you all for your support, encouragement and prayers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you so much for your encouraging story about Jasmine! Emmie's two surgeries were for hip dysplasia so like your dog she has no femur heads either. She's resting right now comfortably and trying to walk on it, but I'm not encouraging that right now. I just want her to rest. Thank you so much for your encouragement!
 

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Dog Lover
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Yes

Yes

Let Emmie rest and then see how her leg is.

They thought our Smooch, who is 10, will be 11 in Feb. had arthritis but after her TPLO surgery, they did xrays and said she doesn't.

Smooch recovered so well and so quickly from the surgery I still can't get over it. We couldn't let her be in pain and it wasn't going to repair itself-vet could tell by palpating it and the xrays, so we did what we knew was best for her.

Sounds like you may have to be the one to decide on surgery if Emmie doesn't improve. You can do it.
 

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I think seeing the second vet is a great idea! An x-ray isn't going to show much from what I understand. I know they didn't do one on Jasmine because they said they wouldn't be able to see if it was torn.

Do lots of research ahead of time and ask a ton of questions. The second vet I saw (both vets I saw specialized in torn CCLs) told me that it wasn't painful to them. That they would start to limp because the muscle in the thigh gets fatigued. Kind of like when you overdo it and your muscles get really tired.
 

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Logan & Lacey in R hearts
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Glad to hear you received some good advice from your vet tech friend. Yes, definitely keep her quiet and her activity level limited. Do you happen to have any Rimadyhl, etc on hand? I know what it is like dealing with husbands who are upset over the pets, so just tell him to take a few deep breaths, calm down, and wait to see what your old vet has to say. Good luck and keep us posted.
 
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