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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9430
Experience:  I have owned, bred and shown dogs for over 40 years.
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my vet thinks my schnauzer may have a torn acl.....price to

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my vet thinks my schnauzer may have a torn acl.....price to fix 230.00 for anesthetic plus xrays....1200 to 1700.00 for surgery if that is what it is....some days he seems good and then some days hes barely able to much as I love him I cant spend that kind of money on him...even though he is fine from the back to his dog is 9 years old considering euthanizing but I don't want to but I don't want him in pain either rand cant afford surgery....what would you do?

Hello, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I have been a veterinary nurse for 26 years.Thank you for allowing me to assist you today.

I am sorry to hear is having some trouble
Unlike large breed dogs smaller breeds( under 50lbs) can often heal without surgery so there are other things you can try rather then opting to euthanize. Most dogs under 30lbs will be fully recovered in 6 months.

Medical treatment options including resting, swim therapy and a supportive brace along with anti inflammatory medications
You can read more about treatment options here. Link

Depending on how tall he is you could try filling the bath tub with water and swim him in there 3-4 times per week for 5 minutes increasing by 5 min each week.If he is to tall for the tub then I would ask your vet where a therapy clinic may be in your area.

I would also look into getting a brace and there are several places you can do this. The links below will give you some options
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

Other then the swimming you want to avoid any strenuous exercise , jumping on or off of furniture or long walks for at least 6-8 weeks and then you want to start with short 5-10 minutes walks. For now other then going out to potty and should be rested even if this requires using a crate to keep him still.

I hope this helps give you some hope. Please reply back if you have additional questions and I will be happy to help.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was under the impression that I would have a vetinary for answers?

I apologize your question was placed in the dog category where experience veterinary nurses can answer as well. The original expert you had requested was not a veterinarian nor a veterinary nurse so I was unaware that is what you expected. I will be happy to opt out and see if there is a vet that can help you.

Please do not reply back or it will prevent the vet from answering.

I wish you and max the best
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

in a earlier article they said nothing would help a acl tear except surgery and you said 6 months of rest and small breed could heal?

Hi, I'm Dr. Deb.
Candy asked me to answer your question since you'd prefer to chat with a vet about Max's problem.
In all honesty, her response is very thorough and is exactly what I would have said to you.
Many of the smaller breeds can manage very well with ACL injuries and this is not a reason to euthanize, in my opinion. Many of my clients with older dogs who have been diagnosed with this problem elect not to have surgery done on their dogs...finances being one reason but also because they don't want to put their older dogs through the procedure.

These legs will eventually heal but they just take much longer to do so without surgery. The knees will develop arthritis in them because they are unstable.
I've seen a fair number of dogs with this problem lead excellent quality lives; the smaller dogs appear to do much better than the larger ones, obviously.

In addition to the excellent suggestions that Candy provided, I encourage owners to add supplements to their dog's diet since arthritis can develop in the affected leg.

1. I’m a huge fan of joint supplements such as Dasaquin or Cosequin which are veterinary products specifically formulated for dogs. Quality control is a big problem with these products since what’s on the label is not necessarily what’s in the bottle which is why I mentioned specific brands. These are available on the internet.
2. Also, fish oil supplements can be helpful since they have anti-inflammatory properties. Welactin and 3V Derm Caps are good veterinary products and are also available on the internet. It takes several weeks for these products to build up in the system, so you might not see immediate results. But once started, these supplements should be continued for them to be effective; you wouldn't stop and start them, in other words, like you would drugs...but you may already know this.

3. Another option would be Zeel which is a combination homeopathic that can be used in conjunction with other NSAID medications and has a very low incidence of adverse effects (LINK) Dose would be one tablet two to three times a day....I'd go with three times a day for the first 2 weeks, then drop back to twice a day for maintenance.
4. Alternative therapies such as hydrotherapy, laser therapy, massage therapy and even acupuncture have been shown to be very useful for joint problems.


I would definitely continue pain medication in addition to anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Metacam, Rimadyl, Previcox or Deramaxx). I like Tramadol for pain control and it's also very inexpensive but every vet has their own preference.



The specific answer to your question is that I wouldn't even consider euthanasia at this point. I would try medical management and physical therapy and give him some time to show improvement.


I hope this helps. Deb



Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9430
Experience: I have owned, bred and shown dogs for over 40 years.
Dr. Deb and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

I just wanted to thank you for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.
I also wanted to wish you the best with Max.

Kindly ignore the request for additional information. Regards, Deb