December 9, 2008
It has been a while since I have written you. My “grand -puppy” Lucy has grown to be almost two years old. Her facial folds are so much better since I convinced my son to change her food! She has not had any injuries since the one I wrote to you about below. Now she has her first real casualty and I have a few questions:
She was in the ER last night with a right hind leg injury ( from jumping off the couch)
She will not put any weight on it. I know from your email that you have had some injuries in your girls.
If it is sprained only, how long does it take to heal? If it is torn, how long is the recovery time?
Need your wisdom. The ER vets are excellent, but the vet that my son and daughter in law take her to normally is so so in my book. ( Your friends agreed).
The ER vet is guessing that it is a torn ligament and will need surgery. How do we know? I don’t think that ligaments show up on an x-ray.
I also know that special care has to be taken with the anesthesia in Bulldogs. What questions do we ask the vet?
Anything else we can do in diagnosing this problem?
Jumping off the couch is often the final straw for a bulldog’s
malformed knee. I would guess that she does have a torn
ligament, but here’s the usual test.
Keep her confined to walking only for a week. That means no
jumping on or off the couch, no running around, no walks – as
little activity as possible.
If she is still limping in a week, it’s a pretty sure sign of a torn
ligament. It’s important to take care of this injury as additional
injury can occur with movement and this can lead to arthritis.
It’s true that a torn ligament will not show up on an x-ray, but
a malformed knee joint will. This floating kneecap or luxating
patella that I write about in the book is a common genetic
disorder of the bulldog and results in a torn ACL (anterior
I would wait a week and then if she’s still limping or starts to
limp again, take her to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation.
Find a good orthopedic surgeon in your area or take her to
a vet school if there’s one near you. Do not let your regular
vet do this surgery!
The recovery time from surgery on a young dog can be
fast. Lucy may start putting weight on it right away, but she
will have to be restricted from vigorous activity for at least
As for anesthesia, be sure the surgeon is familiar with bulldogs.
They have very small trachea and esophagus and need to have
smaller breathing tubes that most dogs.
I hope this helps clarify. Let me know how she’s doing. I went
through this twice with Vivy and both times she had to have
surgery to correct her malformed knees. The surgery definitely
improved her quality of life.
your bulldog pal,