Sometimes, life gives you lemons…

Soo, I’ve been putting this post off, because somehow it makes everything seem more real. Ticket came up lame before Reliant, responded to rest, massage, and NSAIDs, and has been doing fantastic with her normal training schedule. Even did 2 days of USDAA, no problems.

Last week, she stood up on 3 legs again. No reason, just lame. I decided to stop messing around with my future superstar, and Monday I took her to Gulf Coast (at this point completely normal again). Based on swelling of her joint capsule, and pain in her knee, she’s been diagnosed with a partial ACL tear. The treatment of choice is surgery–for her as an athletic agility dog for whom I expect a very high degree of function, that would be TPLO. TPLO will also preserve her remaining cruciate ligament and add stability to her knee.

I know some people thing that PT, or stem cells, or other conservative therapy can help partial tears, but I’ve done a lot of research in the last 48 hours, spoken to other surgeons, and rehab vets, and they all agree that the research just doesn’t support it. 90% of partial tears go on to become complete tears at some point, and the entire time there is inflammation in the joint resulting in irreversible arthritis. THAT is a reason to do major surgery on a dog who’s not limping. I would rather fix the problem now, and not be worried about her knee blowing out in 2 years at Nationals or Tryouts.

Since she is currently feeling fine, she’ll be having one last hurrah at a USDAA trial in 2 weeks. At this point, the surgery is the same no matter what might happen there, and if she’s feeling good and not limping, then I will let her play. The following week, she’ll have surgery, and then begin rehab. Barring complications, I hope to have her back competing in January, but she will tell me when she’s ready. I’m just too goal-oriented to not having something to shoot for.

The whole thing sucks, but I also know that in many ways I’m lucky. I’m greatful that my dog has a fixable problem, with a GREAT prognosis of coming back as good as ever. I’m glad I have a young, small, fit dog who I expect to bounce back. I’m glad that this is happening now versus being in her prime, competing at Nationals and Tryouts. I’m glad I’m not trying to qualify for 2012 AKC Nationals in Reno–and I will have almost the entire qualifying period for 2013 Nationals in Tulsa, which has been my goal for her all along. I’m glad I decided NOT to go to USDAA Nationals with Trip–I wouldn’t want the expense now.

I’ve come to terms with the decision, though I know it won’t REALLY sink in until the day of surgery. It’s going to be a long road for both of us. I’m hoping I’ll be able to document the whole thing from surgery through rehab, and back to her show. I think it would be helpful since a lot of agility dogs go through this.



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