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Canine Cruciate Rupture: Our Story

Canine Cruciate Rupture: Our Story

Introduction

Canine Cruciate Rupture, it’s not the best thing to hear your vet say, admittedly it isn’t the worst either. Unfortunately, this type of injury usually requires surgical intervention by a specialist orthopaedic vet, especially in larger breeds.

I wanted to share the journey that we’ve been on from initial injury to diagnosis of canine cruciate rupture and recovery. All whilst there’s a global pandemic going on too!

However, before we get started, I thought I should give a bit of background. Lilly is a 7, soon to be eight years old Labrador (at the time of writing this). We love walking the local Welsh mountains when the weather allows, though Lilly’s never been much of a zoomies kind of dog, actually she’s pretty chilled. With that in mind, let’s get on with our canine cruciate rupture journey!

The Injury Day

lilly feeling sorry for herself injury day

July 6th 2020, Wales was coming out of a lengthy lockdown with dog walkers allowed to resume work. It was Lilly’s first day back out with her favourite dog walker, and she was just as excited as I was. Not because I wanted to get rid of her for a few hours, but more because she’d get to play with other dogs and have fun, something she hadn’t been able to do in lockdown.

Lilly’s dog walker collected her at about 1 pm, so I went to do some work. However, at 2:21 pm, I got a text from Lilly’s dog walker to say that Lilly seems to have hurt her back left leg. So I downed tools and went to meet them at the side door to our garden.

I spoke with the dog walker, who said she had checked for any apparent wounds but couldn’t see anything. She said that Lilly was off-lead, not doing anything particularly crazy when she let out a cry and wouldn’t put her paw down.

The dog walker was so upset, but honestly, she did nothing wrong and has been Lilly’s dog walker since 2013! Lilly managed to get out of the van with no problem, but she was muddy and needed a shower so, we had to carry her upstairs to get her clean. Unfortunately, she didn’t put the paw down, so the wash was speedy and only to get the mud off.

I didn’t rush to the vets as, having worked at a vet as a nurse, I knew some rest could help with muscle strains, etc. However, once Lilly was dry and asked to go to the toilet, I went with her. It wasn’t easy for her, and she needed support to steady her whilst she went to the bathroom. I lifted Lilly onto the grass part of our garden as it’s raised, but I recorded her walking once back on the flat.

I forwarded the video to a friend of mine that’s a vet because I was worried that this was something more than just a muscle strain. I didn’t just drive to the vets because they only saw emergency cases. Lilly wasn’t an immediate emergency.

My vet friend replied pretty quickly and suggested that I called to make an appointment, as it looked to her that Lilly had ruptured her canine cruciate ligament. I immediately called my vets (I used to work there) and explained what my vet friend had said (this vet had also worked with me at Lilly’s vets). The receptionist told me to take her the following day for someone to look at her.

Visiting the Vets

lilly on way home from vets

The next day (July 7th), we went to Lilly’s appointment, and she saw one of the vets I knew. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go in with her to the examination room, so I waited anxiously for the vet to come back. The vets face as she stepped out of the room told me that yup, my vet friend was right! Indeed she was, the vet agreed with our suspicions of a canine cruciate rupture and gave some pain relief. She also advised if there was no improvement in a few days that x-rays would be needed, which an orthopaedic vet would ideally do. Their orthopaedic vet was on annual leave, and so was the other local orthopaedic vet.

Once we were home, I reached out to a group of my vet friends, telling them that we were pretty sure it was a canine cruciate rupture asking if anyone could recommend an orthopaedic vet. One name came out more than once, and that was Dr Mark Owen of Ossicle, based at Rowe Referrals in Bristol (UK), who has vast experience in dealing with canine cruciate rupture and repair. So on the 8th, I requested a referral be made from my vets directly to Rowe.

The Referral

lilly feeling sorry for herself

By the afternoon of July 10th, we hadn’t heard back from the referral vets within the timescale given, so I phoned them. I spoke to a lovely receptionist and explained that Lilly hadn’t been weight bearing since Monday afternoon. I was concerned that the stresses put on the other canine cruciate ligament in her right leg would cause that one to rupture. The last thing I needed or wanted for Lilly was a double canine cruciate rupture!

The receptionist asked me to forward Lilly’s video of her moving around as the orthopaedic vet did have her notes from my vets, but it was his day off. She promised to forward the video directly to Dr Mark Owen.

I forwarded the email to them, and much to my surprise, I was getting a callback within the hour. The receptionist explained that the vet had seen the video and could see how uncomfortable Lilly was; she also explained that, unfortunately, The vet was fully booked for the coming week but that he wanted Lilly added to the cancellation list as a priority. We agreed that any day and time would be fine; this is because I own my own small business and could take Lilly there when they called. I did explain I’d need a little notice as we live a 2-hour drive away in good traffic, which they agreed to.

The following email included all the forms for completing a direct claim through Lilly’s insurance (PetPlan Covered for Life). I immediately completed and emailed back to ensure there’d be no delays should a cancellation come up. I also phoned PetPlan and pre-authorised Rowe so that they could talk to PetPlan without issue.

The weekend was a long one, and I felt so bad for Lilly, she was struggling, but there was nothing else I could do other than wait.

Along came Monday, and that afternoon my phone rang; Rowe said that there had been a cancellation on Wednesday, July 15th and asked if I would like to take Lilly; I jumped at it!

The Journey to Rowe

the journey to rowe

We had to set off very early by that, I mean 5:45 am, to ensure we’d reach Rowe before 8 am as requested on Monday. Thankfully my dad was coming with us. Lilly wondered why there was no breakfast that day but also knew something was up as I’d packed some food for her.

The journey up was pretty uneventful; Lilly couldn’t get in and out of her crate too easy in the car, so we opted for her zippy bed. Not ideal, but I needed her to be comfortable and not to injure herself further, especially as we’d need to help her get out of the car.

We arrived at around 7:45 am, so I waited until 8 am to call and let them know we had arrived. We went through most of the information in the car due to Covid restrictions meaning we couldn’t go in. One of the nurses came out to collect Lilly, and I signed the paperwork agreeing that if Dr Mark Owen’s investigations did indeed confirm that it was a canine cruciate rupture, that he could go ahead and complete the TTA surgery to repair the damage.

Before anything happened surgery wise, The nurse told me that Dr Owen would call to discuss his findings. Lilly was a little weary as I’ve pretty much always been with her, especially for her last surgery as I worked at the vet’s. This time I’d be 58 miles away in Wales whilst Lilly would be in England; however, she went with the nurse without much fuss other than a glance back.

The drive back was strange, really strange. I hated that I wasn’t there with Lilly, and when we got home, the house’s emptiness was just odd. We’d only been back around 30 minutes when the phone rang at around midday. Dr Mark Owen confirmed it was indeed a canine cruciate rupture and that he would complete the operation that afternoon. We spoke for a little while, and because of my background and my knowledge of osteology, it helped. Dr Owen explained that usually, when a dog has one canine cruciate rupture, the other canine cruciate breaks, too, though the timescale is unknown. It could happen at any time! Dr Owen said he would call once the operation was complete and Lilly was completely awake, I thanked him, and that was that.

It was around 6 pm when the phone went again, and it was Dr Mark Owen saying that everything had gone well and that Lilly’s meniscus was intact! That was fantastic news; he also said that Lilly was awake and had already had something to eat. Another sigh of relief, The nurse also told me that I could call later that night for another update if I wanted to. I again thanked him and bid him goodnight.

Before going to bed, I wanted to check on Lilly, so I called Rowe and spoke to the night staff, who let me know that Lilly was doing just fine. She left her cone alone and had been out to the toilet without issue and was using her leg! I was so surprised, it had only been a few hours since her operation, and she was already putting the paw down and using the leg!! It put my mind at ease, and the nurse said that the vet would call again in the morning with an update before the day team took over.

Day 1 Post Op

emma and lilly in car

8 am, the phone rang; it was the on-duty vet calling with an update just as the nurse had said the night before. The vet said that Lilly had a comfortable night, was doing great, eating and drinking as well as toileting and would be discharged later that day once Dr Mark Owen had seen her too. They set the time for 1 pm, and I was so relieved to have a set time to get my gorgeous girl!

My dad and I set off to get Lilly and arrived shortly before 1 pm; I phoned in and let them know we were there and paid the insurance excess and admin fee for the direct insurance claim. Unfortunately, a few emergencies were going into the vets, and we had to wait much longer to get Lilly, but that’s ok; I’ve been the other side.

They dealt with emergencies and then irate customers because their appointment was delayed or they had to wait. 2 pm came, and no sign of Lilly, so I called just in case there was an issue with Lilly not wanting to leave her kennel. The receptionist apologised and promised a nurse would call me back within 5 minutes, which they did.

The discharge information was discussed and the date set for seven weeks for Lilly to return for a check-up and x-rays to check bone healing and alignment. Within 20 minutes of the call, Lilly was bounding out to us, tail wagging and bright-eyed on all four legs! I lifted her into the car and secured her in place, which was interesting because the cone she had was pretty big!

The ride home was not great, Lilly doesn’t travel well after the anaesthetic, and she was sick a couple of times. I was so glad to have her home, and we’d put down a lot of mats and rugs over the laminate as the nurse told us that Lilly should not be allowed to slip. As Lilly was crate trained as a puppy, she was instantly calm and relaxed and indeed did go off to sleep.

The first night at home was not fun, the anaesthesia was still wearing off, and Lilly whined for most of the night. It meant that I didn’t sleep much at all, nor did Lilly.

To Be Continued

Wow, this post has gotten pretty long. I will split it into a series. Our canine cruciate rupture journey is also quite long, and if I’m honest, trying to cram it into one blog post would have you reading for hours! If you’d like to follow our journey, please sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest news and blog releases.

You can also find my must-have items for your dog’s recovery from canine cruciate ligament surgery here.

Find out more information about Canine Cruciate Rupture in Dogs here

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Must have items for your dogs recovery from canine cruciate ligament surgery

Must have items for your dogs recovery from canine cruciate ligament surgery

must have items for your dogs recovery from canine cruciate surgery blog

Introduction

So you’re preparing for your dogs upcoming canine cruciate ligament surgery, but you’re not sure what you’ll need to help make life easier for you both during recovery. Well don’t panic, I’ve been there and I have some must have items for you to get!

Lilly had her TTA surgery on the 15th of July 2020 right in the middle of the pandemic, so some things were harder to get hold of and certain things we were unable to do. However, she’s now doing really well and I wanted to share some of the things we found useful. So let’s get on with it shall we?

Dog Crate or Pen

lilly laying in her crate on her tuffies mattress with luxury fleece

Your dog’s exercise is going to be severely restricted for 7-8 weeks post op, they’ll need to be kept as calm and as quiet as possible. This can be very difficult and frustrating especially for dogs that are used to roaming around the house as and when they please. I highly recommend you get a dog crate that’s big enough for your dog to lay down, sit up and move around in with an Elizabethan collar/cone on. Ideally you’d get one with enough time to train your dog that it’s not a bad place and reinforce positive behaviours with the crate.

Lilly was crate trained as a puppy so she was absolutely used to it and we already had one here. However, if you’re unable to get a crate then a pen will be fine as long as it’s not too big! The idea is to restrict unnecessary movement to allow them to fully rest and recover from the canine cruciate ligament surgery. Most pet shops stock dog crates but if all else fails there’s Amazon!

Mats

Lilly laying on carpet offcut to stop her slipping

If you live in a house with tiled, marble or laminate floors you’re going to be needing a lot of mats! It’s really important that your dog doesn’t slip so although you may find mats a bit of a pain or unsightly, you’re definitely going to want them. Canine cruciate ligament surgery isn’t cheap so avoid the risk of further problems by getting non-slip mats or some carpet offcuts from your local carpet store!

We have had so many mats and lots of non slip vet-bed all over the down stairs (your dog won’t be allowed upstairs post op). 

Medical Pet Suit or Anti Lick Leg Sleeve

Lilly laying in her zippies bed, wearing her medical pet suit 4 in 1 top and leg sleeves

Your dog is going to have an incision site, which for canine cruciate ligament surgery is inside of the affected leg. It will be stitched, stapled or glued. It’s vital your dog doesn’t lick the wound as the risk of infection increases massively. Plus if they disturb deeper stitches you could end up with another big bill and more antibiotics, if infection takes hold you could be looking at further surgery down the line to remove the hardware as the bacteria can ‘hide’ under the hardware and continue to thrive despite antibiotics!

Now I had ordered a Medical Pet Suit that came as 2 pieces a 4 in 1 top and the hind leg sleeves. Unfortunately, this didn’t arrive until after the operation and Lilly did manage to lick her wound even though she had her cone on! Now having worked at a vets myself, I was able to clean the wound and fully re-dress it myself as I could see she hadn’t fully re-opened the wound. I did take photos and sent them to the vet and we had to continue daily cleaning and redressing until the wound healed itself and watched for signs of infection. For you this is likely to mean further vet bills! 

So I would definitely advise ordering either the medical pet suit 4 in 1 top and leg sleeves (I got mine from Simply2 Pet Products) or getting a lick leg sleeve.

Ramp for Car and Steps

the ramp our neighbour made to make it easier for lilly to walk on to the garden so i didnt have to carry her

If you have a larger dog that’s a little too heavy to lift all the time, please invest in a ramp for your car and if you have steps in your garden you’ll need a ramp there too! Honestly lifting a 34kg/77lbs+ dog isn’t fun especially when you may need to do so to get them to the toilet multiple times a day. It’s literally back breaking work and your dog and your back will thank you for getting that ramp I promise! I was lucky enough to have a neighbour who made us a ramp as our back door and garden steps are at a very strange angle, so the shop bought just wouldn’t fit.

I’d also recommend you ask your vet or nurse to show you how to correctly lift just in case you need to. There will be a specific way to do this that will be easier for you and more comfortable for your dog, after all they aren’t going to be feeling fantastic after such a big operation! Now the car ramp will be useful long after your dogs canine cruciate ligament surgery, especially as your dog gets older.

Mind Games

Lilly chewing on an ostrich bone from JR Pet Products.

As the weeks go on your dog is going to start getting bored! They are going to feel like everything is fine and they are healed, when actually due to the nature of the canine cruciate ligament surgery, the bone is nowhere near healed! It’s going to be really important to get some brain games that will mentally stimulate them and tire them out. I used Lickimats which I mashed some banana or sweet potato and smothered in low fat greek yogurt (check there’s no artificial sweeteners in this) before freezing. I also made my own snuffle mat, but you can buy these ready made by a local dog charity (Hope Rescue)! You could also stuff and freeze a KONG or purchase an ostrich bone for your dog to chew on, we bough this ostrich bone from JR Pet Products!

All these things are suggestions but something they can do with little to no movement is ideal!

Easy Access Dog Bed

Lilly laying in her Zipped Waterproof bed

So this one is really important, your dogs canine cruciate ligament surgery will mean your dog may not feel comfortable using their leg. So you’ll need a bed that your dog doesn’t sink into as it’s going to be difficult for them to climb out of on three good legs. Something that’s supportive but not raised off the floor is ideal. I personally put Lilly’s Tuffies Wipe Clean Mattress bed with its luxury fleece cover on inside her crate. When out of her crate Lilly would lay in her Zippies waterproof bed, that has a lower front side for easy access.

A Camping Bed or Bed Sofa 

This one is definitely for you! Lilly had her operation on the 15th of July but injured herself on the 6th of July, so I slept downstairs with her on the sofa from day 1. We didn’t get back upstairs to my bed until the middle of November! I’ll be honest sleeping on the sofa was not fun and my body hated me for it. So if you can find yourself something comfy to sleep on that would be ideal and I know your body will be grateful for a comfy place to sleep too!

Conclusion

So there you have it, some of my must have items to help your dog recover from their canine cruciate ligament surgery, whether they had TTA or TPLO surgery! If you’d like to read more about our journey and Lilly’s canine cruciate ligament injury you can find out more here.

I hope this helps in some way and if you’ve already been on this crazy journey do you have something else you think is a must have item?

Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Dogs

Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Dogs

Cruciate ligament  injury/ rupture in dogs

If you’re reading this the chances are your dog has a suspected or confirmed cruciate rupture. I’ll be talking about mine and Lilly’s experience of cruciate ligament rupture in dogs. It’s such a worrying time for us dog owners and watching our beautiful, loyal friends limp around can be heart wrenching. 

So what is the Canine Cranial Cruciate Ligament and what does it do?

The cranial cruciate ligament often written as CrCL in dogs is the same as the “anterior” cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans, I’m sure you will have heard of footballers and athletes injuring this and potentially ending their careers.

 But what exactly is it, well it’s a band of tough fibrous tissue that attaches the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone), preventing the tibia from shifting forward in relation to the femur. It also helps to prevent the stifle (knee) joint from over-extending or rotating. 

However, this injury is different in dogs compared to humans. Rather than breaking because of a sudden trauma as is common in humans, a dog’s cruciate ligament has a tendency to degenerate over time a bit like a rope fraying over time with use. This difference in how the injury occurs is also why the treatment differs between humans and dogs. 

There are some breeds of dogs that are predisposed to cruciate injury they include Labradors, Rottweilers, Boxers, West Highland White Terriers and Newfoundlands, though any dog can injure their cruciate. It is highly likely that if your dog injures their cruciate ligament in one leg they will also injure the cruciate in the other leg too. 

Treatments range from non-surgical management to surgical interventions such as the Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) or Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). Your orthopaedic vet will explain in more detail which option is best for your dog as it varies from case to case and their decision will be based on the evidence they gather from Examinations, X-Rays , CT or MRI, breed, lifestyle and so much more!

Our experience 

On July 6th 2020 Lilly went out with our dog walker, something we’ve done since Lilly was about 18 months old when I worked full time away from home and later to keep her sociable with other dogs . Little did I know that this particular walk would start us on a new journey! 

I was busy working when I received a text from the dog walker saying they were on their way back, but Lilly had hurt her leg and was limping. I went to meet them at the side door and Lilly was completely off her left hind leg, which was unusual. She was also pretty muddy from her walk as it had been raining for a few days prior. First mission was to get her clean, but throughout her shower it was clear that her leg was causing discomfort. Now being off a leg for a little while isn’t an emergency per say, and sometimes these things go away with a little rest. I did, however, record her ‘walking’ around the garden and sent this to a friend who is a vet. She told me to make an appointment the next day and that she thought it may be a cruciate injury.

July 7th, Lilly was still off her leg and I had slept on the sofa downstairs with her. Usually we’d have both been upstairs, in bed. I called the vets and we had an appointment for 3pm. So we went to this appointment and due to covid-19 I had to remain outside whilst the vet examined Lilly. When she returned, the look on her face kinda gave it away, I’m lucky as I have worked with this vet in the past and I know that look usually does not mean great news! The vet graded Lilly’s lameness as severe and prescribed anti-inflammatory meds and said she too thought it was cruciate but that the practice’s orthopaedic surgeon was on annual leave until July 22nd. I wasn’t prepared to wait that long so started looking at alternatives and was recommended, Dr Mark Owen of Ossicle Referrals based at Rowe Referrals in Bristol.

I made contact with my veterinary practice and asked them to refer Lilly to Rowe Referrals, it usually takes 2 working days for contact to be made by the referral practice. So as the end of day 2 was approaching I decided to call to ensure the paperwork had been received. Thankfully it had but I was asked to send a video of Lilly walking to them. I got straight on it and emailed over a video of Lilly not weight bearing on her left hind leg. Within 1hr 18 minutes I was receiving a call back, asking if we could attend on July 22nd this would be to X-ray, examine and if required complete the operation. This was fine for us, but the lady I was talking to said that if there was a cancellation then Mark would like her in sooner, again this was absolutely fine for us as I work from home anyway. 

On Monday 13th July I received the welcome email letting us know the information for our appointment, the Covid-19 procedures in place and what to expect, also included was the paperwork for a direct claim with our insurer. So I set about completing this and sending it all back. Come the afternoon of Tuesday 14th July I received a call asking if I could take Lilly on Wednesday 15th July at 8:30am, as there had been a cancellation!

This was perfect! By this time I’d already been sleeping on the sofa for over a week, Lilly still wasn’t weight bearing and would occasionally toe touch. I’m not going to lie, I know the risks of rupturing the cruciate ligament in the ‘good’ leg are high, so I was very keen to reduce the amount of time Lilly was off her injured leg. 

I had ordered a medical pet suit 4 in 1 top and hind legs to arrive for the initial surgery date of the 22nd, as Lilly has NEVER kept a cone on. You’d put it on and it would be off in minutes no matter what you did, this is something our veterinary practice dealt with themselves when she was spayed! Now there was no chance this was going to arrive in time for Lilly to wear it right from the start so we would just have to wait.

The night of the 14th into the 15th of July was strange, I’d prepared what we needed to take with us as we’d have to leave at 6:15am to get there in time and allow some spare time for traffic. It was a restless night everything went through my mind and I mean everything, I kept waking thinking I’d overslept and we’d missed the appointment! We hadn’t and it was only 20 minutes later than when I last looked at the clock!

When my alarm finally did go off, it was get up and go time! I had prepared everything other than the cooler bag for Lilly’s food. Thankfully the staff at  Rowe were more than happy to continue feeding Lilly her raw food, whilst she was with them. Other veterinary hospitals I had looked at would not allow this, which really put me off using them. Just before heading off I popped Lilly’s meals into the cooler bag with an ice block for the journey ahead.

Lilly in the car in way to Rowe
In the car on our way to the veterinary hospital

For our journey I had put Lilly’s Zippy bed which she has had since she was a puppy into the back of the car. Normally Lilly would be in a crate but, if I’m honest there’s just no way I could have gotten her in and out of it again safely without hurting her. Thankfully Lilly simply laid in her bed for the journey to Rowe and was really well behaved. We arrived there for around 8:10am so I phoned through to let them know we were there and ask if there was a toilet we could use. Thankfully there was but we’d be required to wear a mask and gloves, which wasn’t an issue at all as I’d made reusable masks with a filter pocket that we’d taken with us. I complete the paperwork required and signed the authorisation for radiographs, examination, nerve block and the TTA or TPLO procedure if it was required. The estimated cost for the surgery and follow up xrays were clearly listed. 

I attached the vets slip lead and removed Lilly’s harness and collar before lifting her out of the car, handing over her food and saying my goodbyes. We were advised that the vet would call us around lunch time to discuss the examination findings, x-ray results and discuss next steps. Lilly went with the nurse without issue. She did look back a few times but was otherwise ok. 

The drive home felt so strange driving from England back into Wales knowing my girl wasn’t with us. 

When we got home I set about putting up Lilly’s XL crate, which she again had as a puppy. I gave it a good clean and went to get her amazing Tuffies bed to go in the crate. The Tuffies bed has a futon mattress which is super supportive and gives the bed its weight. I also purchased with the Tuffies Wipe Clean bed a couple of stunningly soft and snuggly thick fleece covers. I grabbed a blanket that we usually use on the bed to cover the top of the crate to make it more of a den and placed a vet bed right outside the crate. 

Lilly in her crate
Lilly in her crate post op, with her Tuffies bed inside and vet bed outside.

When the phone rang it was Dr Mark Owen, explaining his findings. It was as we expected a Canine Cruciate Ligament injury, she had failed the draw test, was severely lame and the x-rays showed osteophytes and typical signs of cruciate injury. However, her right leg, nothing abnormal was detected which was fantastic news!

Mark asked how much I knew about this type of injury, and Lilly’s activity levels. I explained I had experience in a veterinary practice and that I had studied Forensic Anthropology (osteology is massive in this degree). I know a lot of the terminology and have a good understanding of the procedures and complications etc, along with bone regrowth and having titanium plates in my face I know the risks of plates and screws and management of arthritis post op long term.

Lilly is pretty active, we walk the local mountains and 4-6 miles is a fairly good average for us. With that information Mark confirmed he would be going ahead with the TTA procedure. We had a good conversation and was advised that I’d get a call again between 5pm and 7pm once Lilly had come round from the anaesthetic.

The wait was hard, anaesthetic isn’t without risk and it’s not exactly a straightforward surgery either. However, true to his word Dr Mark Owen called me again at 5:42pm to say all had gone well and that it was a complete rupture of the cruciate, however the meniscus (the cushion between the joints) was intact, which was great news. He also said that Lilly was awake and doing well and that I could call through the night if I wanted to, which was great. I did call around 9:30pm just to make sure she was ok before going to bed myself and thankfully she was. The nurse I spoke to said that she had been to the toilet and had eaten since the last call! This really put my mind at rest.

Around 7:41am the on duty vet called to update me on how Lilly had been through the night. Thankfully she had been great, she’d moved around using the left hind leg and had had a comfortable night. The vet arranged with us to collect Lilly at 1pm so we’d leave home at around 11am to get there in time. When we arrived I had an authorisation form to fill in for the direct claim and had to pay a fee for Rowe to deal with this and also pay the standard insurance excess, all of which we were aware of anyway. 

When Lilly was brought out she was walking on all fours, an occasional limp from the back left but hey that’s to be expected! She wasn’t even 24 hours post op yet! She had a dressing over the incision and a buster collar and her blue XL comfy cone too. I was so pleased to see her wiggly Labrador butt heading our way! The clipping of her fur goes from just above the hip, down to just below the start of the hock and inside the groin area, it was pretty darn neat and no clipper burn! 

I lifted Lilly into the back of the car, put her collar and lead on and gave back the vets slip lead. I was handed a really comprehensive discharge information pack along with more metacam to see us through. The appointment was made for the follow up x-rays on the 1st September.

On our way home from Rowe
on our way home

The Journey home was a little bumpy, more because of the roads than Lilly to be honest, though she did get a little car sick on the way which did land on me but that wasn’t a problem. As soon as we got home it was straight into the crate to start our road recovery. I sat down and read every word of the discharge paperwork whilst Lilly slept. I highly recommend you do the same, anything that you’re unsure about, please phone your vet and get it clarified. 

I also recommend if you’re on Facebook joining Canine Cruciate Recovery (TPLO, CM etc.) the group members are mainly in the USA but there are members from all over the world. They are a fantastic support group  and all have been in the same position you are! 

Conclusion

So there you have it, the start of our journey from injury to recovery from canine cruciate ligament injury. I hope you’ve found this post helpful in some way.

I will be writing about my must have items for canine cruciate injury recovery and also questions to ask your vet prior to surgery. I’ll also continue to write about our journey to recovery so please subscribe to the newsletter to know when I release new blog posts.