Luna’s Leg Surgery


Luna pretending to be Queen Elizabeth.

Lexi Carr, Staff Writer

My dog Luna recently tore both ACLs (in veterinary medicine it’s called a CCL tear) in her back legs. She first tore one of them, so she could still walk but she was limping. Then two weeks later she tore the ACL in her other leg. We’re not really sure what she did to tear them; we just noticed she was limping badly. 

On March 16, we took her to Helping Hands Veterinary Surgery and Dental in Richmond, Virginia for her to have the surgery. Ligament tears are common in dogs because they stand with their legs slightly bent, so there is more strain on the cruciate ligament in a dog’s knee than in humans’ knees. So this surgery is performed frequently. The surgery lasted anywhere from half an hour to two hours. We’re not sure how long it was, because the vet goes by a no-news-is-good-news policy. We only know she stayed in recovery for five or six hours. The surgery, called the lateral suture technique, entailed placing a fake ligament in our dog’s knee. The technicians had to shave her back and her back leg, as well as her front leg for the I.V. When her knee heals, she might have to get surgery on her other leg, but it’s possible it might heal itself when she is on crate rest for two weeks so she doesn’t open her stitches. She only leaves the crate to use the bathroom three times a day. She didn’t like the cone she was wearing when she woke up from surgery, and cried half the way home, so we stopped and got her a blow-up, donut-looking thing instead. For the first day and a half she didn’t have to wear the donut (except the first night) because she was drugged. Once the drugs wore off, she began licking at her incisions, so the donut had to go back on.  

Update: Luna’s doing okay right now, and is getting really restless being stuck in her crate for so long. She keeps sneaking out and walking around on her leg when she’s not supposed to. We didn’t realize this until later, but she actually tore out her stitches; thankfully, the wound had closed so it didn’t bleed at all. The swelling has gone down, and now we’re just waiting for the okay from the vet for her to be able to start walking shorter distances instead of us carrying her. Her leg is healing very well, and she should be back to normal in 4-5 months.