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Recovery Tails: Tess the Golden Retriever Recovers from CCL Tear Without Surgery

Recovery Tails: Management of Sunday’s Knee Pain Through Surgery & Brace

We recently received an email from happy Ortho Dog customers, Sandra and Steve Chambers of Comox, British Columbia, Canada. Sandra contacted us with a glowing review of the Cruciate Care Knee Brace and how it helped her golden retriever heal from an ACL tear. Here’s Tess’s story.

Our Golden Retriever Starts Limping

Tess is our six-year-old golden retriever. She’s the love of our life, as we head into retirement age. Tess is active and playful with her canine friends. She romps with puppies. Our six grandchildren, ages 2-12, adore her. She keeps up with them constantly on their visits.

Our Golden Retriever Starts LimpingThen one day, we started to notice a limp. We thought it was just a strain or twist in her left knee. But it worsened. Still, we gave her “down” time and waited for her to get better. But she didn’t, she stopped getting up to play, she didn’t want to join us in the car… She looked miserable. She could barely bear weight on that leg. Then we noticed her leg muscle was getting smaller and that the opposite leg was looking weaker and overworked.

Off we went to the vet. He did X-rays and manipulated her leg, watched her walk. We sent the X-rays to a specialist to read them as well as our vet. It was decided that it was a torn ligament, and that it needed surgery. We were looking at $3,000 to $6,000 to fix the knee, but no guarantees. It would take 9-12 months recovery time.

Dog ACL Surgery Alternatives

We called the breeder, she recommended trying GlycoFlex [a joint supplement]. I ordered it online immediately.

We decided to watch and wait, for awhile. It was our idea to bandage the withering leg to give it more stability. Did you ever try to bandage a dog’s hind leg? Impossible. So I went online and found a Cruciate Care Knee Brace by Ortho Dog. I found other brands, but this one seemed really well thought out. It was ordered and came quickly.

Tess, seemed to understand that we were helping her. We fumbled around putting it on her for the first time. She would fall over, not being able to hold herself up while we put it on. But, my husband and I became a team—Tess, too.

We’d put it on in the morning and take it off at night, to give her a rest from it. We barricaded off the stairs, no stairs for Tess for a few months. On leash walks only, no off-leash. No play dates with other dogs or the grandchildren. She had to stay home. She seemed to look forward to putting it on in the morning. It was easy to put on after we got used to doing it. She could walk again, with a limp, but she could walk again. We enforced her rules for two months, she got back her muscle mass in that withered leg. You could barely tell she had a limp. Then she started to roll in the grass, like old times, we would have to re-adjust the brace. She began swimming again with the brace on. I washed it in the washing machine.

Our neighbors called her the Ortho DogOur neighbours called her the “Ortho Dog” as there is a tiny label in the back portion of the brace. She looked good in it—like a “police dog” as it was black. She got lots of positive attention. People began telling us stories of their dogs torn ligaments and surgeries. They were interested in the brace.

Tess’ Full Knee Recovery

Tess seemed to know it was time to stop using the brace. We noticed it, too. We could not detect a limp. It was nearly three months and she was excellent. The vet has phoned us to check on her recovery and we have promised to drop by to show him. He is looking into Ortho Dog braces and Glycoflex.

She’s now playing as she always did before the torn ligament. Keeping up with grandkids on their scooters and bikes. Wrestling with puppies and her favourite canine friends. Chasing balls and swimming.

We are grateful.

Thank you so much to the Chambers family for sharing their experience. For more information on GlycoFlex, check out their website. If you are a veterinarian or clinic interested in Ortho Dog braces, please contact us for more information or to request sample braces.