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Dr.  Vamvakias
Dr. Vamvakias, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
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Experience:  Small Animal & Emergency Medicine
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scottie: My almost 14 yr...complete acl tear in her right hind leg

Customer Question

My almost 14 yr. old scottie has a complete ACL tear in her right hind leg. A few years ago she had successful surgery on the other hind leg. She has had epilepsy since the age of 6 months and when she was 4 yrs. old she almost died of liver failure from Pb toxicity. She has been on Kbr ever since but does have liver damage. She does quite well and is a happy and fairly active dog for her age. The orthopedic surgeon that did her previous ACL surgery at Tufts saw her last week and he’s hesitant to do the surgery because of her age and health concerns. He recommended cage rest and cosequin (which I’ve been giving her for about a month anyway) and then to recheck her in 6 weeks to see if she’s improved on her own. Would you chance this type of surgery on a dog her age and with her health? If you didn’t know she had these health problems you’d think she was just fine. I can’t stand seeing her limp and in pain. What will happen if she doesn’t have the ACL surgery? I’m very worried and want to do what’s right for her.

Thanks,
Susan
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Vamvakias replied 11 years ago.
Susan,
 

This is a difficult decision. Scotties tend to high a life expectancy of about 14 yrs so I am fearful that to do anesthesia it may start a roller coaster of events that you can't stop.  The limp is hard to watch but the knee will hopefully fibrose in and stabilize.  I guess the percentage chance of a complication leading to a rapid deterioration of health in death is too high with your dog.  I think the dog would prefer to limp than be real ill and feel bad.  So try to focus on the fact that she is alert and eating and happy with a limp for now and see if the rest helps decrease the pain.

 

Dr.Vamvakias

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