We live in Southern California, so the beach is a fun and easy way for us to take our dogs out for exercise. We’re able to just walk along the shore and let our dogs run off the leash and do what they want, it’s far more relaxing than having to worry about taking them anywhere on a leash.
So we were out at the beach and our two dogs were our running around doing their own thing. Roxy (our 5 1/2 year old American Pit Bull Terrier) and our pitbull lab mix puppy happy as clams, Roxy digging holes and the puppy running around everywhere as fast as he could possibly go. Seeing Roxy, the puppy go very excited and ran at her, her back legs were set in the sand from digging, and the puppy never slowed down. He crashed right into her at full speed. She came up limping. She’s had slight hip problems in the past, and had a tendancy to limp a bit after our visits to the beach so we took her home, let her rest and decided to see how she was doing the following day.
The next day there was no change in her leg, she was still 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 pet emergency clinic, they decided to give her X-Rays to see if her ligament was torn – anyone who has ever had any ligament damage or torn ligaments knows that x-rays do not show ligaments, x-rays can only show bones, so having an x-ray was more or less pointless, unless they were checking for broken bones, which they made no mention of. In addition to the cost of X-Rays ($400) our dog had to be sedated, so that the doctor could “aggressively manipulate the joint” to test for instability. You may read negative reviews of manual joint manipulation, but we really didn’t give ourselves any time to research anything online, so we agreed to go ahead with the procedure. The manual joint manipulation allows the doctor (or vet) to check the stifle (knee) joint for “drawer movement”, this is basically any instability in the joint.
After all was said and done, the conclusion at the ER was that our dog had ruptured her Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL, equivalent to the ACL in humans) and we were then advised to take our dog to its primary care veterinarian within the next 3 days. At the time, we didn’t have a primary care veterinarian, but we lucked out because we were able to get a surgery scheduled in the place of a canceled appointment.