Average Cost of Dog ACL Surgery

The price for ACL surgery varies drastically depending on the type of surgery required, the size of the dog, the severity of the injury and your geographic location.

How much does ACL surgery cost for a dog?

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.

Dog ACL surgery recovery week by week

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 weight bare 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.

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?

A dog with a torn ACL 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.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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