About 3 weeks ago, Denver tore his back left ACL. He had surgery several days later. We have been very adamant about restricting his movement so he has spent much of the last 3 weeks in his crate, per doctor's orders. Our vet recommended a specialist perform the surgery because of my dog's size, age and activity level. So, for the 2 weeks following the surgery, he has spent probably 90 minutes out of his crate, and when he is out, he's on his leash. We feel terrible for keeping him in there so long but we didn't want him to further injure himself.
Well, this past Wednesday, we took him to our local vet to get his stitched out as its a much shorter car ride. When we left the house, Denver was fine. He was able to get into the car fine (I have an older Honda Civic so its not a big jump at all) and while he was in the car, he was very excited. I left him at the vet during the day while I was at work and picked him up afterwards. When I picked him up, he was very calm. When he tried to get into the car, he stumbled a bit and I just figured they sedated him so he was still feeling some of the effects of that. He didn't get any better the next day and I noticed he was walking with his front legs closer to the middle of his body and he was limping on his right rear leg. We took him back to the vet on Friday and the vet confirmed that he had torn his other ACL.
Now, I was pretty upset. I didn't get loud with the vet, but I regret that now. After asking the vet when this could have happened, he said Denver was like that when we brought him in. That was a lie. After more questions, our vet said they placed him in a run instead of a crate. That caught me by surprise but, again, I didn't say anything. The vet should know that a dog two weeks removed from ACL surgery should not be in any place to have that much free movement, especially near other dogs (not necessarily in the same run, but nearby). We spent close to $2800 for the first surgery/meds/xrays and that was definitely tough, but thanks to our IRS refund, we made it. Now, the prospect of another $2500+ surgery is daunting. Is the vet to blame? Should I ask that he cover all or part of the surgery since it happened in his care? When you first go to a vet, do you sign a form that relieves them of all responsibility? Any help would be appreciated and both my wife and my mom feel I should be tougher to the vet.
Thanks in advance.
First I want to say sorry that he torn his other ACL. But it is very common for them to end up with both knee needing surgery. If his other knee was already weak it was bound to happen. But what I don't know is did he fall or turn funny when he was put in a kennel run at the vet because any of that could do it.
The vet can't say for sure. And I was aware that the chances of tearing another ACL go up quite a bit after the first one. It just sucks that it happened while under the care of our vet. But, am I wrong in thinking he shouldn't have been in a run to begin with and the vet should have known this?Originally Posted by millstonekennel
Yep it does suck. I can't say if he should have been in a crate or run. Crates at a vets are very slick if they don't put a mat or some thing down. And if he is in a run he has better footing but can get to active.
The vet can't say for sure. And I was aware that the chances of tearing another ACL go up quite a bit after the first one. It just sucks that it happened while under the care of our vet. But, am I wrong in thinking he shouldn't have been in a run to begin with and the vet should have known this?
No this dog should NOT have been out in a run and YES this vet should have known this.
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Did your dog have a TPLO? Post TPLO activity restriction is for the purpose of stabilizing the operative site, to allow bone healing to occur. It is not for the purpose of preventing the other ACL from rupturing. If the other ACL is going to rupture, it's going to rupture. After two weeks, it is not unreasonable to confine the dog to a small run or room, so long as the space is small enough to prevent running and jumping, there is no furniture to jump up and down from, and the footing is secure enough to avoid slipping. You really don't know when the rupture occurred; it's possible that your dog already had a partial tear and that it progressed gradually to a full rupture, and that there was no single event. Also keep in mind that there can be a delay of several hours between the event and the onset of pain, meaning that it's possible that the tear happened while the dog was in your care, but the observable evidence of the presence of pain did not set in until later.
Unfortunately, once one cruciate goes, the risk of the other one going increases dramatically. Chances are nothing happened at the vets to cause the problem. Our boy had TPLO in July of 2005 and was under strict supervision and recuperation. Near the end of September he got the OK from the vet to start moving around. That day, he was in the yard going potty, wasn't even running or horsing around, went around a corner of the house, and immediately came back....limping just like he had with the other knee that was just fixed. We clearly saw that he had done nothing crazy to tear that cruciate. So in he went again for #2. It's coming up on 3 years for the first one and he's like he always was...perfect in every way....no lasting problems.
I can see why you'd be mad, for sure. If it were me, I'd ask if the vet could contribute to the surgery, and take my dog to a different vet to have the second surgery performed.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't want anyone doing major surgery on my dog who doesn't like me very much at that moment. :-\
Having said that, you probably don't have a legal leg to stand on, so you'd more than likely be counting on his/her goodwill and generosity.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
My local vet did not perform the first surgery. He recommended a specialist because of Denver size, age and activity level. So, he won't be performing the second either. It just sucks because I do like this vet and he is very close to our house. So, I guess I may try to ask the vet to help out but I really don't see that happening. And, you're right, I too don't feel I have many legal options. I have no proof that this didn't happen at my house other than the words of my wife and I. He went in limping on his left leg (the first surgery) and came out limping on his right.Originally Posted by Baloo317
The chances do increase dramitically. For the most part, its not a question of if the 2nd knee will go, it's a question of when.
I know you have a lot going on and the cost is expensive, but the good news is, in 6-9 months from now he will be back to normal and you won't be waiting for the 2nd one to tear. It's done, you'll fix it, the dog will be back to having a blast again in no time.