Our dog managed to injure himself when he darted inside the house to bark at something, only to return outside with a limp. We were in the garden at the time and didn’t witness the incident, so we could only speculate that he slipped on the kitchen floor or something similar.
Initially, we suspected he had hurt his paw since he was holding it up, but seeing no improvement, we decided to contact our vet. However, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, we could only have a phone consultation.
Our vet prescribed anti-inflammatories and requested an update after the weekend to monitor any potential improvement.
Regrettably, despite taking the anti-inflammatories, our dog’s condition didn’t improve. Consequently, the vet asked us to bring him in for further investigation. Under sedation, an X-ray was performed, revealing a Cruciate Ligament Injury.
Do You Have to Operate?
The first suggestion from our vet was surgery, which would cost a few thousand pounds. This would necessitate a referral and a trip to another vet. However, she also mentioned conservative management as an alternative option. I chose the latter, and my reasons for doing so are detailed below.
Does Operating Work?
Surgery can be a successful treatment for some dogs. However, what convinced me to opt for conservative treatment was a conversation with one of the staff members at the clinic. She told me that a friend’s dog had undergone surgery for a cruciate ligament injury twice, and both attempts had failed! That would be heartbreaking, to say the least.
I didn’t want to subject my dog to that kind of stress, not to mention the financial strain it would put on us. We have a limit on our insurance claim each year, and with all the allergy medications he’s already taking, we’d likely exceed it.
So, we started him on joint supplements and other medications, and he was on strict rest, which can be quite a challenge for a Jack Russell, as you can imagine!
What Can You Buy To Help a Cruciate Ligament Injury?
Our vet said it was okay to leave the leg without support, but I did my own research and found that leg braces have been beneficial for many dogs. So, I decided to get one.
I chose the Ortocanis Knee Brace, which helps relieve strain on the joints. You can see him wearing it in the image above.
There were more expensive braces available, but this one cost just over £40, including postage.
I’m pleased to report that my dog’s cruciate injury did eventually heal. It required many months of rest and very short walks. He now continues to take joint supplements.
Have you dealt with this type of injury in your dog? If you managed the injury conservatively, share your experience in the comments below.