Signs your pup may have partial or fully torn ACLS
When I adopted Bentley in 2017 he would do this cute back leg stretch, I called it his yoga move. He would do the yoga move often and I didn't think anything of it, just an adorable little move. He also scooted a lot and I took him to the vet, he did not have a lot of fluid in his anal glands but the vet cleaned them anyway but Bentley continued to scoot. My vet and I thought Bentley was a drama king because he would yelp when he was touched between his hind leg and midway to his body. This happened on and off, mostly off, over several years.
Fast forward to January 2020, Bentley started to cry more often when touched between his hind leg and midway to his body and when I would lift him, holding his middle section and lifting him onto the bed or sofa. He then started lifting his back leg up and stand on three legs. At the vet visit I was told he probably sprained his leg and he needed to rest. Short walks only. I followed the vets instructions.
Two months later, during the first lockdown, he seemed better and we started going on long walks. In April he started to cry again and then started to limp on his other hind leg. I went back to the vet and he was diagnosed with grade 1 luxating patella. Treatment options was cortizone shots and pain meds or surgery. Bentley is at grade 1 of 4. I felt awful and blamed myself. What is luxating patella? The patella, or kneecap, is normally located in a groove on the end of the femur (thigh bone) just above the stifle (knee). The term luxating means out of place or dislocated. Therefore, a luxating patella is a kneecap that moves out of its normal location.
Bentley was misdiagnosed by the second vet, I mention this because my blog is about ACL injury signs and because of what I went through, I want pet owners to learn from my experience. After the second vet visit, I went home to do some research, I mean a lot of research. I missed so many signs. He actually had this problem when I adopted him. The yoga stretch I mentioned, well that is because he had the issue already, he was trying to "fix" the issue by stretching his leg out. Also read that licking and chewing on the leg(s) is also what a dog will do to try and heal the injury. Bentley does lick and chew on both hind legs and his front right leg. Front right leg is injured as well from compensating from injured back legs. He also bunny hopped with his back legs up stairs and I didn't realize there was an issue. I did not find articles to substantiate the scooting but from my observations it concedes with his injury. I noticed Bentley would lift his hind leg and hop and then scoot. He has been scooting since I adopted him and I thought it was allergy related but I fixed that by removing certain foods from his diet and figured out what he was allergic to and he stopped scratching but the scooting continued. As I mentioned before his anal glands weren't full and when they are expressed he still scoots. I think it is related to his injuries.
I read articles about luxating patella and surgery. I came across an article about hydrotherapy and physical therapy as an option instead of surgery. I got excited and researched facilities that offered this type of treatment in San Diego. I found the only facility in San Diego that offers hydrotherapy, it's vet owned. I made an appointment for a consultation. The two hour consult was very thorough and the vet asked a lot of questions and watched his movements when walking, trotting and running. The vet was a bit confused by the second vet's diagnosis of luxating patella but with further observation and manipulation she diagnosed Bentley with two partially torn ACLs. What?? I decided to stop spending more money on diagnosis and work on a fix. I went back to researching articles but this time the topic was on torn ACLs and treatment. I read hydrotherapy and physically therapy were recommended for torn ACLs. The vet said Hydro and PT isn't a guarantee and he may still need surgery. I read articles from people who's dogs had surgery with good results and I also read dog's can re-injure after surgery, or two surgeries for the same leg. I also read an article about dogs recovering from partial torn ACLs that did not get surgery but went through hydrotherapy and PT. I made the decision to try hydrotherapy and PT route. We are going through treatment as well as supplements, chondroitin, glucosamine, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and anti-inflammatories and for pain I am using Mr. B's Canine Line's CBD balm and oral CBD. I am restricting Bentley from jumping, he is part Jack Russell so it is in his blood. I have gone back to crating and doing my best to keep him from jumping.
If you read this blog, and recognize these signs, please take your dog to the vet immediately. It is your choice on how you want to approach the situation.