Both my husband Stephen and I have had a number of dogs over our lives. We both love our dogs very much. One of our dogs Dino,  a Lab, who has since passed away about 3 years ago. Dino had an ACL injury for which we elected to do surgery. The surgery was very invasive and was called a TPLO procedure. Not only was it very expensive but it was very hard on Dino. We didn’t know much about this injury at the time and elected to have it performed because both our vet and Orthopedic vet recommended surgery. At the time we were uneducated regarding this injury and felt this was our only choice. We scraped together the very expensive fee of $3500 and had the surgery performed.  This particular surgery actually cuts the bone all the way through below the Stifle or Knee joint and rotates the joint forward. A metal plate and screws secure the two ends of bone. It requires cage rest for about 8 weeks.  Suffice it to say Dino had a very difficult recovery and so did we. In addition to the horrible recovery he had complications from the surgery and was never the same.  Since then two of our other dogs had ACL injuries and because of our terrible experience with this surgery we began to think of other options. It seemed to make sense that since humans wear braces for this type of injury all the time we thought it possible that there are braces or other options for dogs besides surgery. After extensive research into other surgical procedures as well as braces and other treatments we elected to treat our Lab and our West Highland Terrier with a brace. The Lab was diagnosed with a complete ACL tear and the Westie with a partial tear. Again, the recommendation from our vet and the Orthopedic vet. was to do surgery; a TPLO on the Lab and an Extracapsular repair on the Westie. This time our research into the various braces led us to choose the A-TraC Dynamic Brace  a Stifle brace to treat our Lab Max. He recovered completely and is back to normal. Recently when our Westie Buddy injured his leg we again chose the A-TraC Dynamic Brace since we had such good success with the first one. Buddy has now been in the brace for about 1 week. We decided to do this web site as a service for all those dog owners who are confused regarding this injury.
At this point we felt it would be a service to people in need of information if their dog is diagnosed with an ACL tear. We also felt that we could even follow our dog as he was currently involved in treatment with an ACL Brace. We will cover many topics which will be searchable and easily accessible, as well as providing our personal perspectives on our experiences with our own dogs. For most people it is a shock and a very confusing issue as to what this injury is, what you should do or not do as well as the costs and choices involved.
We will cover much of these aspects as well as follow our Westie with photos or videos on his progress with the brace so that you will have an idea of what this optional treatment is like.
Hopefully our research and incites will give anyone who has a dog with an ACL injury sufficient information that will make it easier to make a decision for their dog whom they cherish and love.
Please look to our site for continuing information from a continuing list of topics. In addition please use this site for any questions you may have. We will try to be prompt in answering any and all of your questions. Hopefully we can provide you answers based on our research and our extensive experience with this issue.
Stephen and Laura

4 Responses to Our Story

  1. Rena Cuizon-Garcia says:

    Hello, my name is Rena and I want to thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I also have a westie, Vinny (9 yrs old) who is having issues with his left knee where he is limping, not putting weight on it, and there is an audible clicking noise when he walks. We took him to see a vet who performed some tests and confirmed the “drawer being opened” movement indicative of the cruciate ligament being ruptured. Needless to say, she recommended the extracapsular repair surgery but will take sedated X-rays on mon. for a closer evaluation.
    We are very wary and anxious since this is our first time needing this type of surgery and as I’m sure you know, our westie is a little tough guy who won’t show any sign of weakness or pain despite the injury. We simply do not want to put Vinny through a surgery without seeking other less invasive alternatives. I wanted to ask:
    1. What were the major resons why you opted out of the extracapsular repair?
    2. How is Buddy currently faring with the brace?

    I would really appreciated any insight you may have. I’m also aware that although we both have westies, your decision could be based solely on Buddy’s situation and may differ completely to what may be ailing Vinny. Like any loving pet owner, whatever method is the safest and most effective is our goal. Thank you!


  2. Laura says:

    Dear Rena;

    The major reasons we opted for the brace is that our other dog had surgery and had complications. I also believe that conservative treatment should when possible be attempted before surgery which has much higher risks. With bracing there are no risks, just the time you put in. If success is not obtained with the brace then surgery does not lose its effectiveness. Also you can also use the brace as a post-operative brace which would greatly reduce the failure rate after surgery. You can read about Buddy’s progress at 6 weeks with the brace as we just posted this info and new Video. Conservative treatment has no down side only up no matter the situation. We are not anti-surgery but many vets have it backwards with which treatment should go first.

    Laura and Stephen

  3. Shayla says:

    Hi..I have a Maltese who had his right AcL surgery in December , now he has injured his left knee putting even more strain on his recent corrected right now…dr.and surgeon is saying we need to do surgery on left…I am interested in the braces…my Maltese has already had two surgeries in the last approx 6 months…would you recommend he wear two braces?

  4. John Farthing says:

    It is great to hear that there is an alternative to surgery.After finding out my aussie wasnt suffering from something in her paw was devastating. The first thing I asked the vet was is there a brace for her and he said NO.I will be educating him on this or just refresh his memory.Is there a site that maybe sells used braces?I will pay full price if its the only option.Summer is coming and wouldnt complain to my wife that my arm is tired of throwing the stick in the river. Thanks for helping out with this info.John, Kim and our lil girl Cheyenne

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