First, Jax is very high drive when she's playing. They'll play right thru it. The weekend before her surgery, she ran after the frisbee screaming in pain, came back on 3 legs and dropped it at my feet to throw it again. And she's really stoic. I could stand her on her head and she wouldn't display pain while I was examining her but when the doc did she leaned so hard into my arm that she fell over and still never made a sound.
-Lifting her leg right up to her side quickly. You might have to watch closely to catch them doing it. It's like in a moment of pain the leg jerks all the way up tight to their body.
-Refusal to jump
-Pain on jumping on furniture and bed
-Pain on fast take offs
-If you watched closely, you could see her circling her leg when walking and trotting so she didnt' have to bend it. To me, it looked like she was bringing her leg in closer to the other but he said what is actually happening is the leg is making a small circular motion.
Colonial Animal Hospital in Ithaca NY, Dr. Ross. He's very good. does many of the sport dogs around here. Staff is excellent. I believe that I was told they do 3-4 ACL's per week...maybe more.http://www.colonialvet.com/
He does not do a TPLO or a TTA. He does a technique that he might be the only one in the country that does it called the Hahn's Technique. His dad taught at Cornell and he taught that to him. Instead of slicing the bone and inserting metal, thereby completely changing the structure of the knee like a TPLO or TTA, he removes the ACL completely, cuts slot in the tibia that he makes very smooth, and then he hooks the long digital extensor tendon into the slot to stabilize the knee.
The cost was roughly that of a TPLO or TTA. Total came to $3500 w/ 2 day in hospital care.
He will take xrays, expect that. He will do a drawer test while he is under anesthetic. If he does not see clinical symptoms or damage in the xray, he will NOT do surgery. Jax's injury started a year ago, did conservative management and rehab, had a few good months and reinjured it. If he finds injury that justifies surgery, he will do the surgery that same day.
As I was leaving, there was a large dog...maybe a mastiff?...that had the surgery the year before. He was walking well on that leg. Dr. Ross is probably the most highly recommended ortho in my area.
You can find illustrations on how to do the drawer test at home but that is not something I would try. First, because of possible pain and Second, because the drawer test itself can create further damage to the ACL.
If you don't want to go to Ithaca (it's a drive but I think they are well worth it!) then there was an ortho in Wilkes-Barre that was recommended to me. I can't remember his name but can find out quickly enough. They would do a traditional repair or a TPLO.
If you want to know anything else let me know! I can PM my phone number to you.