kibby5 avatar image

Torn acl surgery

Dear all, 

I haven't been posting much but I have been enjoying everyones pics! My 6 yr old beagle copper tore her acl after chasing after squrriels at the park! One of back legs just went lame and she hasn't put any weight on it since. She seems perfectly fine on 3 legs, thank goodness! No signs of pain, no drooling, no crying... Just not using that leg. 

We went to the vet the next day and under a minute the vet said her acl was torn, he did the drawer test, and that more then likely she would need surgery. He said we could wait 2 weeks to see if it would get better but my husband just wanted her to get fixed asp. So we have surgery scheduled for tmrw morn. It's been about 5 dys and she hasn't gotten any better. 

Anyways.. I trust my vet a lot because he has been doing this for like 10000 yrs but I wonder hy no X-ray or anything first? He says it would have to be n MRI which would cost like 1800! Is this strange? What if they open her up and find out its not her acl? Or is this surgery super common? I have never had a dog that needed surgery before so I am not sure what to expect? Should I put carpet and ramps everywhere? 

They say she won't be able to go the park or for walks for a month! What can I do to keep her muscles healthy? Massage? She is kinda fat already so I am worried... Also she is a busy body and this last week of her staying in is making her sad.

I have been still trying to walk my bully Kibby without copper and sometimes Kibby won't go when she hears opper crying at the door ... So I have been sneaking Kibby out. It's so sad... Any tips would be greatly appreciated. 

Alo.. I have been trying to do some research... What are they going to do.. Make a new acl or do this tplo thing I keep reading about. Copper is about 37 pounds , about 10 pounds over weight. I think I was too much in shock hen the dr was trying to explain things. Cost is oing to be about $2300!


sincerely, christine

kibby5's picture

I meant to say...

That the doctor said no mri or X-ray is necessary because it would be a waste of money. Sorry.. Trying to type on iPad and it kinda sucks.


sincerely, christine

onslowsmom's picture

Xray will not show a torn ligament

The drawer test is exactly how they check it.  Onslow had a slightly torn acl that we were able to rest and he got better.  However unfortunately with or without surgery they usually do get arthritis from it which is the case for my Onslow. 

We did not have the surgery so I cannot give you advice on that.  The 2 types that they do are quite different and I'm sure there will be responses about each choice.  You should ask your vet which option he uses.

As far as being cooped up inside, I stocked up on lots of bones and bully sticks to ,keep the boy occupied.  If they can't run they need to chew!  Hope your beagle feels better.soon.  Sorry to hear he tore the acl but it happens to a lot of dogs.

You may want to remove some kibble and switch it out for some green beans to get him down to weight.  It will be easier on his recovery if he is not toting extra weight. 

Good luck!


animal005's picture

Torn ACL

Kilmore had a torn ACL, which the vet found out it was blown when he start surgery.  Our vet I think just felt around and said he had a torn ACL.  I guess all we can do is trust that our vets know.  I think they can get a better feel while the dog is under before surgery, due to them being relax and not fighting the squeezing around.  What to expect if you have the surgery:  Any stairs will be a no for awhile, and when the dog walks they will drag that leg for a bit.  Kilmore was restless after we picked him up so we had to help lay him down when we could tell he was tired.  It was a long and tough recovery, because we have a deck with stairs going into our yard.  Then we also had to do physical therapy with him at home.  But it was totally worth it when he was all healed and was running around enjoying being a bulldog again.  Our vet said that would be his bionic knee and that we would need to make sure during recovery he used the surgery leg otherwise the other knee could blow too.  It also could develope arthrtis down the road, but Kilmore never had any issues with that knee after that.  Good luck with your decision!


DiMacQ's picture

We have gone through 6 of these surgeries.

The vets I have dealt with, from Canada to Texas, have always said the same thing... an x-ray won't show anything.    As long as you are going to a vet you trust, I don't think you have to worry.   It's a very common injury unfortunately.   Some will heal if it's a tiny tear, but most will not.    The good news is that after the healing process, it's like they have a new leg.   A new lease on life.   It thrills me to see how much more energetic they are when their leg feels good.

We also were told by every vet, that there is a 75% chance of them blowing the other knee within a year, even if you have the surgery done.  Both of my labs had the second leg go, almost at the 11 month point.    If you don't do the surgery, there is a higher chance of it happening.   All the extra weight on the good leg is just too much.

Our bulldog had her knee repaired about 3 months ago, and I watch her like a hawk to see if the other one is going.   I also have been told that the longer you leave it, the more damage.

As for arthritis, we have found that Adequan shots are amazing!!!   I was taught at the vet office how to give them, and I have 3 dogs on them once a month.

Keep us posted!!!   Good luck!

Deb and MacKenzie and Ester's picture


I will agree an xray will not should a torn or ruptured cruciate ligament (CCL) as xrays show bone, but they do show something.  They will show if the knee is not alligned correctly.  Typically they will take xrays which may be helpful if the vet does not feel any looseness in the knee when manipulating it. Sometimes you also have to wait for the swelling to go down to feel any looseness.

75% is high IMO from all the research I have done it is more like 30-50% but it depends on if this is an accident or degenerative.   

I've gone thru 2 of these surgeries with my bulldogs (as well as a friends) and neither have had the other knee go out.  Norbert was 7 when he blew his knee, the ortho specialist said there is a 50% chance the other knee with blow, he passed at 11 1/2 and no problems with the other knee.  Cleo was 1 when she blew her knee, an obvious accident, jumping cold in January off an 18" landscape wall.  She is 7 now and no problems with her other knee.  Right now Kohl has what they believe to be a partial tear,  so far I have opted out of having the surgery, but he has always used that leg, so it is a minimal injury we do believe.  They could not feel the looseness and he's not limping, so we will see.  Xrays showed a slight difference in his knee placement.  I will have the surgery done when it become apparant to me that he needs the surgery. 

I wish they would keep stats and do more studies on these injuries, the surgeries and prognosis of recoveries, unfortunately they don't and these surgeries are big business.  I have known many people who have opted not to do the surgery and the dogs have lived long normal lives.  Arthritis happens no matter what in my experience with old dogs.

It is important to keep the dog at a health weight, not fat and fit.

Biggest thing I can stress with the surgery is to make sure you keep them on leash, no running, jumping, stairs, couchs, etc.  The surgery is only as good as the after care.