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Dr. Karing
Dr. Karing, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 429
Experience:  General veterinarian with a special interest in internal medicine and emphasis on individualized care.
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Our beloved dog, Nikki, is a 12 years & 8 months old 62.5

Customer Question

Our beloved dog, Nikki, is a 12 years & 8 months old 62.5 pound female mixed breed. She has graced our home for 10 & 1/2 years. Her first years were difficult - abused and starved. Since 3005, Nikki has had the ultimate in vet care and food. In late 2011 she had cruciate ligament repair - and laser therapy. Excellent results. Those X-rays in 2011 revealed prior serious damage to right hip and pelvis - likely a break. this week, Nikki tore her right cruciate ligament. the x-rays showed that her right leg is much smaller than her left, repaired leg, indicating that she has been favouring it for some time. This pas summer she gave up using the stairs to the lower level of our home. There were also changes evident in her spine. The vet feels that her age and condition of her right hip preclude surgery. We brought her home wearing a brace. My husband, who has given her countless hours of care, and with whom she has an incredible bond - believes that we should euthanize her, as opposed to putting her through hell and through our brutal winter... The vet said that she was very painful - but she hid that perfectly..we are so devastated - any thoughts?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Karing replied 1 year ago.

Hi there,

I'm Dr. Karing and I would be glad to help with your question about Nikki-Lola. If she just tore her right cruciate ligament this week, then I believe it is too soon to determine what her quality of life will be long term. She is still in the acute (immediate) stages of the injury which involve the most pain and inflammation. I would restrict her activity and make sure she is on adequate pain control. Usually a NSAID such as Rimadyl and additional opiod-like drugs such as Tramadol are utilized. If there is severe pain, sometimes a Fentanyl patch is an option but that can cause a lot of sedation. In addition, you may consider laser therapy for her right knee (and even other joints that may be arthritic), as this can alleviate inflammation and increase comfort signficantly. I also strongly advise use of Canine Adequan by Novartis: glulcosamine-like injections that have no side effects and work very well for arthritis: please inquire with your veterinarian.

There are also many beneficial nutrional supplements you may consider such as Dasuquin with MSM by Nutramax (oral glucosamine chondroitin supplement), Nordic Naturals Omega Pet (oral omega fatty acid supplement) and Lubrisyn HA by Halstrum (oral hyaluronic acid supplement). There are also several prescription diets for joint health that might be okay for Nikki-Lola depending on her lab results and medical history: ask your vet about Purina JM diet. Please note that weight management is very important for dogs with joint disease of any kind so do make sure to strive for Nikki-Lola to be a healthy weight.

Sometimes you can modify the environment to make it easiery for your dog to navigate. Consider carpet runners for hardwood or linoleum. There are also dog booties to help avoid slipping on slick floors. Ramps are an option for getting off the porch or into the car. Sometimes a harness to help support your dog when posturing to urinate and defecate is helpful too: (see this link for booties too).

In short, I would give Nikki-Lola at least 1 month on adeuqate pain control, laser therapy if possible AND Adequan injections to see how she will do. These three will make the most difference in a short time; however, please enlist as many of the other suggestions that I listed here (if practical in her situation) for the best results. I have never euthanized a dog for a cruciate ligament tear or even for bilateral ligament tears BUT many are euthanized for poor quality of life due to severe joint disease affecting two or more limbs at some point. Those dogs are usually on multiple therapies as listed here and maintained comfortably for months or years before they finally succumb. That being said, euthanasia is the kindest gift you can give your pet when they can no longer move about without assistance despite doing everything medically. It's just impossible to make that call days after an acute injury: you need to give a little time.

I hope that the information I provided has beenhelpful. Please remember to selectREPLY TO EXPERT if you have more questions or would like additionalinformation. It is my goal to provideyou with the most complete information possible prior to you leaving a feedbackrating. If you received all theinformation you needed, then kindly submit a rating.


Dr. Karing

Expert:  Dr. Karing replied 1 year ago.


I hope all is well with Nikki. I wanted to make sure you received my response and see if you had any follow-up questions. Please let me know when you have a chance.

Thank you,

Dr. Karing

Expert:  Dr. Karing replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Nikki-Lola. How is everything going?
Dr. Karing