Our dog Stretch, 9 years old, happens to be the best dog in the world, so this is a story worth telling!
Stretch’s right knee was very badly damaged with a torn CCL (ACL in humans) in May of 2014. It was even worse than the left knee, which had been torn one year earlier with the same type of injury. (Unfortunately, Stretch had spent too many months and years running up and down a bank at an angle, chasing a ball. His knees had suffered for that.)
We’d received a brace from Orthopets for his left leg, and kept it on (when active–walking, etc.) for nine months. He seemed great afterwards. (And as it turned out, happily, he was.) So we then purchased a brace for his right leg. Here we go again. But he wore that for a year, and we removed it for good in May of this year, 2015.
For quite a while I was paranoid about one leg or the other going bad again. He would chase a cat and I would panic. He would slip a little and I would freak out. I wasn’t sure if he could swim. But his legs, after being so solidly healed in those braces, have stayed sturdy, and remain so to this day.
I’ll take a high-tech, $800 brace in lieu of a $4000 surgery any day if something like this ever happens again to a dog of mine. I believe strongly that it results in a more appropriate, natural healing process. His body healed itself.
(By the way, this may not be the case for all dogs, but Stretch takes no medication, Rimadyl or otherwise, now.)
A side benefit is that we still have Stretch’s braces, which can be used if he develops ANY related problem with either leg.
But so far we have had no need for that, and let me tell you, Stretch is one happy dog living a very full life here in Tacoma, Washington!