A. This is a common injury in older dogs and active dogs. Not doing surgery will leave the knee joint unstable and painful. It will eventually scar over and may "heal" to a certain degree but it will not be close to normal and your dog may have a permanent limp. With surgery, your dog can regain almost all of the normal function with less pain and less likelihood of another injury to that knee. That said, a high percentage of dogs who suffer an ACL injury will likely suffer the same injury in the other knee at some point in their lifetime.
A. Not having the surgery IS an option, however, it is an option that will leave your dog without the proper use of his leg and regardless of what some people or things online say, it will leave your dog in some amount of pain. When the torn ligament is not repaired, the leg essentially becomes useless for some time. The dog has to "re-learn" to use the leg and essentially how to bear weight on his foot. The balance becomes - for lack of a better term, unbalanced. The way that the dog walks in the future puts a great deal pressure on the hips and spine. Down the road this causes a lot pain in the hips and lower back. This can also cause arthritis and even disc issues in the spine. I don't say all of this to scare or pressure you into surgery. These are just the facts of how it will work. I've had two dogs myself with 3 ruptured ACLs between them. I know the pain your dog (and you) are feeling right now! When it comes to the surgery, find yourself a good surgeon. One who will sit down with you and REALLY explain the surgery. There are THREE options and they should be able to explain which one is BEST suited for YOUR dog. Because there is a difference! (Based on age, weight, size, activity level, etc.) Also, ask them how often they have done these surgeries. It might not seem like you want to think about it now.... But going to a specialist is often the right thing to do. I thought about it this way; if I had torn my ACL, I wouldn't be going to my GP for surgery, I would be going to a specialist to fix it, because a specialist does that surgery all day, every day. My GP probably did one ACL repair in med school... If that! Same with your regular veterinarian. And this is a surgery that you don't want to have to come back and fix in 3 weeks because it wasn't done right the first time! If your Vet is a GOOD Vet, they will recommend the Specialist in the first place! And honestly, it shouldn't really cost you that much more money! (Shop around!) :)
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