Ice is your friend: recuperating from ACL surgery

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I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately.  We have been focused on the impending surgery and recovery of our dog.  Then there are the leaves which keep falling.  The oak trees are almost done, but the pear trees (non-fruit bearing) that line our drive have not.  I threw in the towel over the weekend and asked our dog walker, a nice young man who lives near us, to help out.  It’s not so much that I haven’t had time, but that I have been distracted.  Somehow when I’m thinking about something else or worried, I don’t seem to get much done, but when I am busy I seem to be able to get a lot done.  I’m sure someone has done a scientific study on this phenomenon.  If you know of one, please send it my way.  I’m going to write about Autumn soon, but first we have to attend to our ball of fluff.

On Monday Shiloh, my black lab, had surgery for a torn ACL.  All went well and we brought him home yesterday.  You wouldn’t think a dog that has severe arthritis in one front leg, and some arthritis in the other front leg would be able to do the kind of moves required to tear an ACL, but this one did.  I put the blame on our young guy, Barkley for literally running circles around him in the back yard.  Never one to be outdone, even with his disabilities, he managed to twist and turn and tear it.

We have a full page of instructions for his rehabilitation.  We start with massage, icing, and gentle stretching.  This changes in week two to warm compresses and longer walks.  Eventually he gets to do things like walk in a figure eight, go up hills and ramps, and in week twelve, back — we hope — to full mobility.  In the meantime he cannot jump, run, twist or turn.  Barkley seemed to know intuitively that he had to behave, because he has been interacting with Shiloh gently and calmly.  I am going to sleep downstairs with him for a few days until he gets more confident moving around.

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While unplanned, this should be a good trial run for us if he later gets elbow surgery.    Certainly after a successful rehab with this the doctor will see that we are serious? Our lives will be different for a time as we focus on him and his rehabilitation.  He is taking it all in good spirits, happy to be home.  He is also quickly learning, like I did after my own knee surgery, that ice is his friend.

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