After a week or two of not knowing what was wrong, of being frustrated and worried, I was finally overcome. I put my head on hers and cried.
|Lulu waits at the vet for her diagnosis.|
A week later, we were at her regular vet. She would walk, yelp and hold up her leg.
The vets moved her legs. They performed an X-ray. It was a tear of the cranial cruciate ligament.
|A cranial cruciate ligament tear. Picture courtesy of Embrace Insurance.|
And why hadn't I waited one more day and seen her primary vet initially?
I have had many people try to reassure me that I am not a bad dog mom. I remain unconvinced. But I hope this post will help put your mind at ease... and give you something to think about.
Before we get started, here are some great resources on cruciate ligament tears and treatment:
- Fidose of Reality -- Carol and her cocker Dexter are well-versed on this. Dexter has had the surgery twice.
- American College of Veterinary Surgeons -- All the medical background you need.
1. CCL ruptures can take months or years to form.
There are lots of factors that can contribute to a CCL tear -- genetics, activity, obesity, age. It doesn't take much for a micro-tear to become a rupture.
Sometimes you will notice your dog is getting lame. But sometimes there will be no sign of a problem -- until there's a problem.
Lulu's is generally pretty healthy for a dog her age, though maybe not as active as she needs to be. But tears can happen in active dogs and inactive dogs.
2. Dogs are good at hiding their pain -- especially at the vet's office.
Lulu can be downright stoic. If she wants something, she will do anything to get it, even if she is in pain. She's be all curled up on her leg, but the minute she wants to eat she is up and following that bowl everywhere. Heck, she was walking on all fours at the vet's office two weeks after surgery. Now she is back to hobbling on three. Is she milking it at home, or was the adrenaline rushing and she was trying to make sure I didn't leave her behind again? Who knows!
So you may not know your dog is having trouble, even if you know your dog well. Watch them closely. Watch for anything that seems off.
3. Beagles have a predisposition toward joint problems.
|Lulu in her cage at the vet after surgery.|
4. Your pet will recover from this if you take care of it properly.
|Lulu's stitches post surgery and after her stitches came out.|
Lulu one day felt well enough to walk (this was before the surgery). I was so happy she wanted to that I took her out on the leash. She wanted to keep going. I let her. And then, dozens of yards later, she stopped, and put her tail down. She could go no further, or even back. And I picked her up and carried her -- all 40-pounds -- all the way home. In the rain. With Jasmine on my other arm.
Keep up with care until the vet says otherwise.
5. Be prepared to have to deal with it again.
|Lulu has her first post-surgery trip to Petco.|
Most of my doggy friends who have had the surgery have to repair the other leg a few years later. So be prepared to deal with this, and be prepared to pay for it too.
Don't blame yourself if this happens to your pup. It's all part of the life of a dog parent. Your pup needs you to be a good parent, now more than ever.
Has your dog gone through a cruciate ligament tear? Did you do surgery, or were you able to go without? Tell us your story below!
Has your dog every torn a ligament in their knee? Lulu tore her cranial cruciate ligament. 5 things I've learned! https://t.co/yg7vErXN4U— lifewithbeagle (@lifewithbeagle) February 1, 2017