The Recovery Process – One Month After Surgery – 5 Week Checkup

After 5 weeks, we finally have another checkup. It was about time because our dog has been very lively the past couple of weeks – trying to run anytime we let her out to go to the bathroom, standing in her pen all day whining at us – but nonetheless, she is in very good spirits, despite being trapped in a 4×6 foot cell all day long for the past 5 weeks. Our checkup this week was with the doctor that actually did the surgery – he’s only in the office once per month, he’s a world renowned veterinarian who travels to clinics all over the country performing surgeries – we got lucky enough to have an appointment with him open up a month ago, only a couple days after our dog had originally injured herself. He apparently flies in once per month, to perform checkups, and 2 scheduled surgeries.

Today’s checkup went very well, Roxy was very happy to get out of the house, and the doc informed us that she is doing well. We unfortunately have to put her back on sedatives because she is getting a little bit to hyper now that she is feeling better (though she has been this way for nearly 2-3 weeks now… since we ran out of the original set of sedatives). In addition to the sedatives, we also got a glucosamine supplement that we’ve got to give to her 3 times per day. The glucosamine tablets are meant to help the arthritis and stiffness in her injured knee, and is also meant to help prevent the onset of arthritis in her other knee (due to overuse from staying off of the injured leg).

Overall, the checkup went well – the only bad news is that we’ve got to keep her in her crate for another month, until May 7th. Apparently the reason for this is to make sure that the injured knee joint has enough time to make a full recovery and “tighten” up completely.

Pet Insurance – Is Dog/Cat Insurance Worth the Cost and Will it Protect Your Pet?

If you’re familiar with my blog, you may have read my previous series of posts about my dog having torn her Cranial Cruciate Ligament – Read here: Treating a Torn/Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) (Crucial Ligament) in Dogs (ACL) To be honest, I really had no idea of the cost of surgery for animals until this happened. In fact, I had not even realized the cost of the vet over the previous 5 years. When I was hit with a $400 bill for x-rays and a $3,100 bill for knee surgery, I started to do a little research on pet insurance.

There are many options out there, but most pet insurance programs offer plans in the range of $10 – $50+ per month. Obviously the lower end of the spectrum doesn’t cover as much as the higher end. The low end is meant for puppies in most cases and is “accident only” coverage. Accident only coverage severely limits what the insurance company will actually pay for, and there is typically a deductible and/or a copay percentage. The higher end of the spectrum will cover more (almost everything) but like the accident only coverage, the more complete plans require you to meet a deductible and/or have a copay per incident.

So after my dog got injured, I began looking for pet insurance because our veterinarian told us that once a dog ruptures a ligament in one knee, there is a 40% chance that the same thing will happen in the other knee. Not wanting to shell out another $3,500 I figured I’d look into other options. I ended up finding a plan for our dog that would cost $40/month ($480/year) but since she had already ruptured a knee ligament, they would not cover the surgery if it were to happen to her other knee. It was the same for most other pet insurance providers as well.

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

Lets say that I got my dog a comprehensive plan as a puppy and began paying $40/month ($480/year) over the course of the dogs 10+ year life, I’d be looking at about $4,800 in insurance costs alone. Since most pet insurance plans are only 70% coverage, I’d be looking at about another $30-40/year in normal checkups and office visits, plus the cost of any other veterinary visits, in my case 30% of $3,500 – $1,050. So if I had been paying for pet insurance for the life of my dog, I would be somewhere in the range of $6,250 (insurance premium, plus office visit copay, plus incidental copay). Whereas if I had not paid for insurance, I could have been banking an extra $40/month earning interest, and the entire cost of owning the dog would have been about $4,700 ($1,200 in annual office visits, $3,500 surgery). I’m not saying that pet insurance is a bad idea, however I do think that money can be better spent (or saved) because of the fact that your dog might not ever have a serious injury or illness. There’s a quick list of pros and cons on the next page, and you can optionally check out this ebook about pet insurance.

The Recovery Process – Two Weeks After Surgery – Removing the Sutures

If you haven’t seen my original posts, be sure to checkout my first article, read Treating a Torn/Ruptured Cranial Crucial Ligament (CCL) in Dogs (ACL), my second article The Recovery Process – Keeping an Active Dog Inactive, and my most recent article The Recovery Process – One Week After Surger – Ligament Injury in Dogs

So it’s been two weeks now since the surgery (thirteen days to be exact) and our dog is finally getting used to the idea that she is going to have to stay in the cage for awhile. I think that she has come to realize the fact that we’re not doing it as punishment, we’re doing it to help her. I’ve got to admit, the first couple days were the worst, but now, almost two weeks in, she’s definitely getting used to the routine. So today was her appointment to get her staples (sutures as the doc calls them) removed. As expected, she was very excited when we let her out of her cage and put her in the car to go to the vet. After being penned up in a close-quarter cage for 13 days, I don’t blame her. So we take our 45 minute drive to the vet, they take her in, remove her sutures, bandage her leg back up and give her back to us.

This time, the doctor comes out and tells us that once the bandages fall off of her leg, we can leave them off and start doing mild rehab on her leg. The first stage of rehab will consist of flexing and extending her leg for her – that should be an interesting project. Originally our third follow up was supposed to be two weeks from today, but since the doctor that did the surgery only flies in once per month, his next visit is offset a week from her original surgery date, so she gets to wait three full weeks until her next visit. Until then, we’ll keep going with the same routine – Feed her in the morning, 3 bathroom breaks during the day, and the rest of her time will be on lockdown.

The Recovery Process – One Week After Surgery – Ligament Injury in Dogs

If you haven’t seen my original two posts, be sure to checkout my first article, read Treating a Torn/Ruptured Cranial Crucial Ligament (CCL) in Dogs (ACL), and my second article The Recovery Process – Keeping an Active Dog Inactive.

It has been a week now and our dog is finally getting used to being confined to her small cage. Our Veterinary doctor couldn’t stress enough how important it was to keep the dog without activity, so we’re doing our best to keep her caged up all day and all night without any activity. It’s hard, but with the help of some sedative pills, it has become manageable. As you may know, pit bulls have very persistent and stubborn personalities, so keeping a dog who has been extremely active all her life penned up in a cage all day is somewhat difficult.

Today, we went in for her one week checkup where they remove her bandages from the leg she had surgery on, and they removed the pain patch that was applied to her opposite leg. They checked the staples (sutures) and after deciding that everything was fine, they let us go – no charge too! With our dog becoming more and more restless with each day that passes, we found it necessary to ask for more sedatives for her, which the veterinary clinic gladly provided. So far, she has been very mellow since having her bandages removed, I just hope it stays that way. She hasn’t paid much attention to her 6-inch wound on her hind leg that has been stapled shut, and I’m really hoping that it stays that way, because I really don’t want to have to put her in the “lamp-shade”.

After the first couple days, it has gotten easier, but the hardest part is just leaving your dog locked up – with no activity (other than bathroom breaks a couple times per day). I hope those of you who read this find this information helpful, and I’ll try to post pictures if anyone is interested.

Tramadol (Ultram) – For My Dog?

I’ve just learned that Tramadol is often subscribed to adults who suffer chronic moderate to severe joint pain. So because our dog ruptured her CCL ligament in her knee, does that automatically qualify her for Tramadol? A drug that is used to treat joint pain in humans? I was looking at the Ultram (fancy name for Tramadol – if you ask me Tramadol sounds more fancy) website and saw that dosage should be started at 25 mg/day.

Our dog gets 1-1 1/2 50mg pills 3 times a day. So, where a normal, let’s say 150lb. adult would be taking 75 mg/day, our 60lb Pit Bull is taking 150mg-225mg/day. I really hope that this helps make up for the fact that she is stuck in a cage all day every day for the next 2-3 months.

PS – I realize painkillers are sometimes a “recreational” drug now, so I went ahead and put this post into my “Sports/Recreation” category as well. 😉

The Recovery Process – Keeping an Active Dog Inactive

First article, read Treating a Torn/Ruptured Cranial Crucial Ligament (CCL) in Dogs (ACL)

So the first night home following her surgery was a nightmare. Roxy cried all night, and none of the medication that they gave us seemed to help.

I would have guessed that she would have been off in La-La-Land with all the meds that she was ramped up on (Meloxicam, Tramadol, Cephalexin, Acepromazine), but she seemed to be absolutely miserable. We’re still not sure if she was crying from being in pain, or crying because we had to keep her in a cage. My gut feeling is that it was the latter of the two because we’ve never really had to confine her.

Thankfully, after crying through the entire night and only 2 hours of sleep for me, she turned off the waterworks and we haven’t heard a peep from her since – 2 days later now. The most difficult part is (and will continue to be) limiting her activity to zero. The only time she can come out of her cage is a couple times a day (on a leash) when we take her out to the bathroom.

Treating a Torn/Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) (Crucial Ligament) in Dogs (ACL)

I noticed that I was receiving a lot of searches for Cranial Crucial Ligament, that’s why it’s in the title. The proper term is Cranial Cruciate Ligament, however I thought I’d try to help out all the people who were searching for Crucial Ligament. Just acting as the Good Samaritan of the internet! Thanks to all the response I’ve gotten, I now have a dedicated site for this topic – visit Dog Knee Ligament Injuries.

So we were out at the beach the other day, and our dog Roxy (a 5 1/2 year old American Pit Bull Terrier) came up limping. She’s had slight hip problems in the past, so we took her home, let her rest and decided to see how she was doing the following day. The following day was the same, rear leg just dangling, unable to put any pressure on it, so we took her into the “Doggie ER”. Side note – if your dog isn’t suffering from a life threatening condition, don’t bother with a Pet Emergency Clinic – you’ll see why. At the ER, they decided to give her X-Rays to see if her ligament was torn – those of you who have ever done ligament damage to yourself probably realize that ligaments cannot be seen in X-Rays, you need an MRI for that! So in addition to X-Rays ($400) our dog had to be sedated, so that the doctor could “aggressively manipulate the joint” to test for instability… can we do this in the first place next time??? Anyways, the conclusion at the ER was that the dog had ruptured her Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL, or the doggie ACL) and we were then advised to take our dog to its primary care veterinarian in 1-3 days. We unfortunately didn’t have a primary care vet, but we came across a local clinic that has a specialist fly in once a month to perform CCL surgeries, and it was our lucky day, because the day that we took our dog in, the doctor had another “patient” cancel, so he had one opening and he performed the surgery yesterday, and I picked our dog up today. I’ll follow this article up with updates on the dogs status & treatment, but for the time being, I’ve put together some information below about CCL injuries and surgical repair procedures.

Continue reading here.

American Pit Bull Terriers – A Little History

Despite their reputation and all of the bad press that they receive, American Pit Bull Terriers (APBT) are surprisingly very loyal, intelligent, energetic and caring. Contrary to how they’re often portrayed, APBTs make great companions, and they are noted for their outgoing, affectionate, eager-to-please disposition and their fondness for people; they love attention and relish the company of humans. The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. breed statistics as of December 2005 show an 83.5% passing rate for the APBT as compared to an 81.2% overall pass rate for all the different breeds they test, showing that many of these dogs have stable and dependable temperaments.

Always portrayed as an evil, vicious breed, I’d just like to go on record stating: It’s not the dog (or the breed), it’s the owner.

History (taken from Wikipedia)

Originally bred from bull-and-terrier crosses brought to America from England and Ireland in the 1800s, they were popular in emerging cities for the sport of dog fighting. As the country grew, many dogs traveled with settlers to new homesteads where they were sometimes used as working dogs on farms. When bred for fighting, the breeder would look for strength, and gameness: from its bulldog and terrier ancestors it inherited the instincts to never give up and to bite down and never let go. A breeder also knew that a dog like this could be dangerous to people if it was a man-biter, so he would look for the crucial trait of non-agression towards humans. Any fighting dog that showed aggression towards its owner or handler would be culled immediately. This created a line of strong dogs that, while being dog aggressive, would not turn on their owners. In the late 1800s to early 1900s, two clubs were formed for the specific purpose of registering APBTs: the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeder’s Association. After dog fighting was made illegal in the United States, many dog owners wanted to legitimize the breed and distance it from its fighting roots. The name “Staffordshire Terrier” was adopted by some owners and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936. Later, the word “American” was added to reduce confusion with its smaller cousin, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Not all breeders, however, agreed with the standard adopted by the AKC, and continued to use the name APBT for their lines. Much confusion still remains in regards to the APBT, the AST, and the SBT.

Once an extremely popular family dog in the United States, the American Pit Bull Terrier’s popularity began to decline in the United States following World War II in favor of other breeds. Though still overwhelmingly kept by families with children in its homeland, it has come under fire in the past thirty years for its association with inner city crime and drugs. Many people of ill-repute mistakenly breed this dog for human aggression. They exploit its awesome willingness to please its master by teaching it to aggressively guard property against humans or leave it to roam the streets. However, this breed of dog does not have natural watch dog tendencies. If not trained to be wary or bark at intruders, they would sooner lick a burglar to death than bite or attack. (The majority of home raised pit bulls only attack if they feel a family member or friend is in grave danger.) They also may be kept for purposes of illegal gambling and dogfighting.

Unfortunately, this breed is also often the most common target of dog abuse in urban areas. Outside of dog fighting and guarding property, the APBTs have been found beaten, starved, burned, mutilated, and mistreated to make them particularly aggressive. After the owner no longer has any use for the dog, the dog is left for dead, turned loose to die, or finds its way into animal control services, where it will most likely have to be destroyed. A large percentage of dogs euthanized in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are pit bull type breeds, despite the fact that in all three cities this particular instance of animal cruelty is a serious felony.

In jurisdictions where breed-specific legislation threatens ownership of American Pit Bull Terriers, owners are often advised by their peers to refer to their Pit Bulls, Pit Bull crosses, or even “pit bull looking” dogs as ‘Staffys’ or ‘Amstaffs’, which may be exempt from such regulations. Purists among American Staffordshire and Staffordshire Bull Terrier owners find this unethical, and resent it, perhaps fearing that the ultimate result of the subterfuge will be restrictions on their breed as well.

In the United Kingdom, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 prohibits the sale or breeding of “any dog of the type known as pit bull terrier”. Some jurisdictions in the Australian states of Queensland, New South Wales, and the United States have similar breed-specific legislation, varying from a total ban on ownership to muzzling in public.

The United Kennel Club was founded with an American Pit Bull Terrier. It was also the first registry to recognize them.

Some text and passages were taken from the sources below: