If you’ve just found out your dog has an ACL tear, you may be wondering how much the ACL surgery will cost. Learn what to expect, and get answers to frequently asked questions like whether or not pets can heal themselves.
Dog torn ACL surgery cost
The cost of a simple ACL surgery is $1000, and right up to $5000 for the most complex cases. You will also need to factor in the cost of additional treatment such as x-rays, bloodwork, anesthesia, pain medication, antibiotics, and a knee brace if your dog requires one.
What can I expect after my dog’s ACL surgery?
Recovery following ACL surgery is from 4-6 weeks for most dogs.
During the first 2 weeks, movement should be limited wherever possible. You can make this easier by moving your dog’s bedding, food and water bowls so they are close together. You may want to wash your dog’s bedding before they return home from the vet to ensure there is no risk of the surgery wound becoming infected.
Your dog should not bear weight on his injured leg. If your dog is a large breed and is struggling, you can use a body harness to help them get about. This would be particularly useful when they need to relieve themselves.
Try to keep them downstairs wherever possible, but if you cannot avoid having them upstairs, carry them up and down or use a harness to support their weight.
Walks should be no more than 5 minutes for 2 or 3 times per day and should be for toileting only. Your dog should not engage in any physical activity or play with other dogs so soon after surgery.
Weeks 3 and 4 should focus on at-home exercises and massage to help with the healing process. Your veterinarian can show you massage techniques and simple muscle and movement exercises that you can go through with your dog.
These sessions should last no more than 15 minutes, but stop if you notice your dog seems to be struggling or tires quickly. if the wound is completely healed, you can also try hydrotherapy.
Week 5 should focus on helping your dog regain a good balance. They should be able to bear weight on their leg and can go for lead-only walks. Hillwalking is a great way to introduce walks back into daily life and will also help your dog practice good balance and body positioning. Start with soft inclines and gradually increase the steepness over the week.
During week 6 your veterinarian will request a follow-up consultation to gauge your dog’s progress and ensure the surgery has been successful. Your veterinarian will suggest curb walking, which is an exercise in which you can encourage your dog to step walk along a curb, stepping on and off in an ‘s’ shape pattern.
After week 6, your veterinarian may suggest further exercises and weight management if required, but your dog should now be well on the way to a good recovery.
Is a torn ACL painful for a dog?
Any physical injury is painful, but this pain can be well managed with prescribed pain killers and by limiting exercise in the first 2 weeks after surgery. Gentle massage can help to stimulate blood flow and reduce pain and stiffness.
How can I help my dog with a torn ACL?
The most important thing you can do is to follow the exercise guidance and massage provided by your veterinarian.
Ensure that your dog’s diet does not change during his recovery period and do not allow any strenuous exercise for the first 4-5 weeks.
You may want to invest in a body harness to help your dog if they are struggling to balance without the use of their injured leg.
Can a dog live with a torn ACL?
If your dog suffers a tear of the ACL, his mobility will be severely limited and he may feel pain when walking or running. He will have a very hard time going up and downstairs, jumping, or participating in any activity that requires jumping or running.
If you can afford surgery, it will dramatically improve your dog’s quality of life. As long as you’re willing to budget for surgery and rehabilitation, your dog can live a long and happy life with a torn ACL.
Can a dog recover from a torn ACL without surgery?
For many dogs, a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a serious problem, often requiring surgery. After all, the ACL is responsible for holding the knee together and helping to keep it stable. While some dogs can get by with conservative treatment and rehabilitation, others will need surgery to be able to run and play normally again.
Dogs who are small or moderately active may be able to heal on their own. That’s because they’re not putting as much weight on their knees as large or very active dogs do. In these cases, conservative treatment may be enough to help them heal.
There are also several surgical options that can help dogs recover from torn ACLs. Some of these surgeries are more invasive than others, so you’ll want to talk with your vet about the pros and cons of each one before you decide which surgery is best for your dog.
How successful is ACL surgery in dogs?
ACL surgery is a common surgery in dogs and can be very successful. ACL surgery in dogs has a high success rate of 90% on average and your dog should return to normal activity within 6-8 weeks of the surgery.
Should I put my dog down if she has a torn ACL?
Dogs with torn ACLs should never be put down because they absolutely can recover from the injury if they are treated properly.
You shouldn’t solely rely on information from the internet when making such an important decision. Talk to your veterinarian (preferably more than one), as well as other dog owners who have had dogs with torn ACLs.
I can’t afford ACL surgery for my dog
The cost of surgery to fix a dog’s ACL tear can be astronomical, but there are some options for financial assistance. While you may not qualify for all of them, you may want to consider each of the following before making a decision about how to cover the medical costs.
1. Payment plans
Many veterinarian offices offer payment plans that allow for monthly payments during which time you’ll pay interest on the outstanding balance. While this will increase the total cost of the surgery, it does allow you to make smaller payments over time. The interest rates will vary from office to office so be sure to ask what the rates are before committing to a plan.
2. The Pet Fund
The Pet Fund is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance for animals with certain conditions requiring treatment. Although the Pet Fund does not pay for routine care such as vaccinations, it does provide assistance for cases such as ACL surgery. To apply for assistance from the Pet Fund, you must have an estimate from your veterinarian and meet other criteria. The website provides an eligibility quiz and application form.
3. RedRover Relief
RedRover Relief provides grants of up to $200 for pets in need of urgent or emergency care, and up to $500 for treatment of certain conditions, such as ACL surgery.
4. The Magic Bullet Fund
The Magic Bullet Fund is a nonprofit with a mission of “providing funding for canine cancer treatment for dogs whose families cannot afford treatment expenses.” This organization also provides financial aid for dogs with other types of health issues, including ACL injuries. You can apply online and include an estimate from your veterinarian showing what the costs will be.
5. Brown Dog Foundation
The Brown Dog Foundation helps pet owners pay for emergency treatment or chronic conditions when insurance will not cover them. They have a network of veterinarians who will work with them on payment plans and other options to make treatment more affordable. Although the fund is able to help all dogs in need, their top priority is to help those who have a good prognosis for recovery and a reasonable chance of living three months or more after treatment begins.
CareCredit is a health care credit card that’s accepted at over 200,000 locations nationwide. It offers financing for vet visits and treatments for dogs with ACL injuries. CareCredit is a great option if you have good credit and can pay off your loan in six months or less. It offers no-interest financing if you pay off your balance within six months and allows you to finance larger amounts if needed. There are fees associated with this kind of loan, so be sure to read the fine print carefully before taking out a loan.
7. American Veterinary Medical Foundation
The AVMF provides financial assistance to pet owners in need through two programs: the Veterinary Care Charitable Fund and the Disaster Relief Grants Program. The first program covers surgical procedures and exams, while the second program focuses primarily on disaster preparedness and response with an emphasis on animals affected by hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.
8. The FACE Foundation for Animals
The FACE Foundation for Animals is another organization offering grants to help with pet medical expenses. You’ll want to apply well in advance of your dog’s surgery, as it may take up to six weeks for their board of directors to review and approve your application.
9. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) maintains a list of organizations that provide financial aid to pet owners in need. Their list includes those that provide direct financial aid as well as those that provide discounts on services offered by participating veterinarians.
Your local AAHA accredited veterinary hospital may be able to help you find financial aid. The American Animal Hospital Association website has a search tool that allows you to find an accredited hospital in your area by inputting your zip code.
10. The Mosby Foundation
The Mosby Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers financial assistance for emergency medical care for dogs and cats whose families cannot afford treatment. Pet owners must fill out an application, have a veterinarian submit medical records, and provide proof of income in order to qualify for assistance from this foundation, which provides aid throughout the United States.
11. Fundraising Page
Facebook allows you to create a public page to raise money for medical expenses. There are also several sites designed specifically for raising money for medical care, such as GoFundMe and GiveForward. You can set up your own website or blog to accept donations via PayPal.
12. Veterinary financing
Veterinary financing companies like CareCredit and VetBilling offer payment plans for pet owners who need financial assistance for their pets’ medical expenses. You can submit an application online and get immediate approval, so you can start paying off your dog’s surgery as soon as possible.
Conclusion of dog ACL surgery cost
A dog’s surgery cost will depend on the type of ACL surgery. The most common is TPLO and extracapsular repair.
The cost of dog ACL surgery will depend on the veterinarian clinic you choose, the type of surgical procedure, and your location. Dog ACL surgery is one of the most expensive surgeries that can be performed on your pet, but it is also one of the most common.
Most veterinarians will give you a range of what the potential costs could be. This can help you determine if you will be able to afford to have your dog undergo this type of surgery. If you are worried about the cost of dog ACL surgery, speak to your veterinarian about other options that may be available to you.
If you have an insurance plan for your dog then you should contact your insurance provider to estimate the cost of the procedure. Otherwise, it will be a bit difficult to estimate the exact price but you can get an idea by calling some vets or by searching online.
To summarize, the cost of ACL surgery for dogs can range from as low as $1,000 to as high as $6,000. Which end of the spectrum you fall on will depend on a variety of factors, including the type and size of your dog, the extent of their injury, the surgeon’s skill level, and even how common ACL injuries are in your location.