How it happened

You might expect that you’d have some warning before your dog goes completely lame; unfortunately that’s not necessarily the case. While my Casey is 12.5 years old, he’s always been a very active dog. I routinely considered all of his activities to be “cross-training”: daily walks, weekend hikes (usually 3 – 4 miles through some wooded trail), daily training (even if for only 10 minutes) in dog sports including: agility, obedience, rally obedience, freestyle and most recently (since his injury) nose work.

Up until his accident, I hadn’t seen any indication of lameness. Yes, he has some arthritis in his shoulder, likely from a fall many years ago off a piece of agility equipment, but nothing that hampered his gait. Since we walk on leash daily I regularly watch him move/his gait and hadn’t seen anything. On the evening when the tear happened, we were coming back from our walk down the street (the whole walk’s about 1/2 mile) and Casey was feeling playful. He nose bopped my husband’s leg (his cue for let’s run) and they both took off in a quick sprint. In an instant Casey was on 3-legs. No cry of pain, just unable to bear weight on his left hind. My husband carried him home.

It was quickly apparent that he could not put any weight on the leg. I iced it, gave him a prescription pain pill (which he’d gotten for an interdigital cyst some time previously) and a baby aspirin. Of course his injury happened after 5:00 on a Friday night… I called his vet’s office but they were closed until Monday… Since he was not in obvious pain I decided to wait until Saturday before calling an emergency vet. On Saturday I spoke with several professional friends/colleagues and they all said that the only place to take Casey was Metropolitan (Veterinary Associates). Hands down Metro was touted as THE best place for an ACL injury. As a point of reference, there are 3 other emergency vet clinics within 5 miles of where I live, and Metro’s 25 miles away…I figured it would be a bad idea to take Casey to a close vet, only to know I’d refuse surgery if they suggested it. So, I called Metro to see what they would/could do for him over the weekend. They said basically all they could do would be to make him comfortable. Since Casey wasn’t in any great discomfort I made the personal decision to wait and take him to his own vet before making any additional decisions.

Casey’s vet wasn’t able to see him until Tuesday but when she did see Casey I knew we’d made the right decisions (for us). She confirmed there was likely a tear of his ACL and that Metro was the place to go. She took preliminary radiographs and pre-op blood work. Due to his age, I wanted to make sure he was healthy enough for surgery before we went ahead to see the specialist.

On Thursday 1/24 Casey met his surgeon at Metro β€” Dr. Jacqui Niles. She took time to examine him and explain what she was looking at/for. Casey, who generally hates being “helped” with anything, was being very cooperative and downright pleasant, until Dr. Niles did one last manipulation β€” that one hurt! In no uncertain terms Casey let her know that if she ever did that again he would bite her. Dr. Niles confirmed that he’d torn his Cranial Cruciate and that surgery was really the only way to get him back on 4 feet. She explained what would be involved (she does about 3 of these a day!), including the cost (quite substantial I might add) and said we could have a few minutes to discuss it privately. My husband said, no we didn’t need to discuss it; we were here to have the surgery. My husband’s a saint πŸ™‚

Anyway, Casey had surgery the following morning. We dropped him of by 6:30 am and had a call by 9:30 that he had done well and was in recovery. We could pick him up the following morning. I went to bed that night realizing this might be the last good night’s sleep for a while. I had no idea…

More next time πŸ™‚



4 Comments on “How it happened”

  1. Fluffy Tufts says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Casey’s injury.

    One of the dogs at our training club had this happen to him a few weeks ago. He and his handler were due to be representing Ireland at the World Agility Open in April, so sadly, they have had to withdraw from this. They were telling me that the hardest part was keeping him as still and rested as possible after the surgery

    • bdorancpdt says:

      Hi, I feel so awful for your friend, they were prepped to do something huge and in a flash it was gone for them. Hopefully the dog will make a full recovery, many can go on and compete again (at least the younger dogs can).

      Yes, keeping them quiet, so they don’t re-injure themselves is really hard. The dogs are used to: being very active (exercise), getting out & about (social), as well as having a lot of mental stimulation. Now during recovery every aspect of their lives has been compromised. I had no idea how much of Casey’s life centered around movement. I do now, and am glad he’s becoming more mobile. Please tell your friend I feel their pain! If their dog’s able to get around at all they might consider introducing him to K9 Nose Work. It’s a far cry from agility but has its own rewards.

      Thanks again for your concern about Casey.

      • Fluffy Tufts says:

        In Oscar’s case, he is already 8, so this was to be his last major agility competition before his retirement. I feel so sorry for them, but I know they are very glad that he is on the mend (albeit a long and slow process) and that it was not something life-threatening.

      • bdorancpdt says:

        I’m so sorry for your friend & Oscar, so close yet so far. Glad he’s on the mend. Give them my best.

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