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Thread: ACL drawer test

  1. #1
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    Default ACL drawer test

    How accurate is this test when the dog is sedated? Can it show a partial or slight tear? I have a dog with mild rear leg lameness that has persisted over a week now with crate rest. He seemed to get better after a couple of days but it flared up again after I let him have more activity in the yard this weekend. X-rays o the hip didn't show anything per the vet. The drawer test showed nothing either. I assumed a few days of crate rest and all would be good if it was a sprain/strain, muscle pull or what not. How long should I try crate rest before we head back to the vet. How long should a more minor leg injury take to heal with rest. For what it's worth it happened inside on slick floors I believe. There was no indication of injury until he had been inside sliding around the den. I'm assuming he could have pulled something or hyper extended his hip given that he can't keep footing worth a darn in my den. Any input?

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    Senior Member Breck's Avatar
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    Have no idea what your dogs issue is or if you need to see another vet to sort things out but good indicators of a CCL tear are.
    1) Non Weight Bearing. Dog will not put weight on foot of injured leg. May be more noticeable when they first get up from sleeping.
    2) Outrigger Pose and Tippy Toe. While standing still dog will place foot of injured leg way more outward and rearward than normal. They will touch floor on tippy toes.
    3) Sit Tuck. When dog sits he will tuck leg underneath his body so ankle is touching ground rather than sitting normally with feet directly under and pads on ground. They will also do this when settling in to lay down.
    If you observe any of these things see an ortho vet.
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    His sit does not appear to be altered. He is bearing weight in it but does appear to be favoring it a bit. It would never have noticed if not for the first night when he wouldn't put weight on it. Well be back in the vet by Friday if it keeps up.

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    I recommend that you see an ORTHOPEDIC VET rather than your usual Vet. You could waste a lot of time and money and never get a definitive diagnosis.-Paul
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul young View Post
    I recommend that you see an ORTHOPEDIC VET rather than your usual Vet. You could waste a lot of time and money and never get a definitive diagnosis.-Paul
    I agree. Or a vet who sees a lot of this. If it's a partial tear it can be more difficult to diagnose, but the trick is in the touch. (as with a lot of things in life). If it is a partial, may as well just go ahead and fix it. It's going to finish tearing anyway. Take care of it on your own schedule.
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    It can also be an injured groin. If it is you will feel heet on the inside of the affected leg. Place a hand on either side so you can feel if there is any difference.
    deb

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    In a partial tear, it can be very difficult to diagnose the problem. I have diagnosed many with the anterior drawer and or tibial thrust test on complete tears but was not able to diagnose a partial tear in my own dog while the orthopod that I took her to was able to. She did not show the typical toe-touching and other signs usually seen with CCL tears .
    So as others have suggested I recommend taking your dog to a good orthopaedic surgeon for diagnosis.
    See the following link for more information.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC339306/

    Hope this helps

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    The drawer test, along with x-rays, was used at Michigan State University Veterinary Hospital (by Dr. Gretchen Flo) to diagnosis .25 Class I tears in both of my lab's knees.

    I need to add is that Nala (my lab) was favoring her right knee, hence the exam. What was unexpected was the .25 Class I tear of her left knee (with no expression on the left side).

    If that procedure is good enough for an experienced orthopedic surgeon teaching at MSU, it's good enough for me.
    Last edited by PhilBernardi; 11-06-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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    PM sent Justin
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    Thanks for the help guys. He aired for longer than normal this morning and I could not see anything that suggested he is favoring it. The problem is keeping him calm enough to keep him from breaking into a dead sprint, even airing on a rope. Well stay with the crate rest for the remainder of the week and evaluate with some very minor exercise this weekend assuming he continues to show no signs. I guess my main concern is that an MRI would be necessary to diagnose if it was a pArtial year. I simply can't afford that coupled with surgery if it came down to that. Thanks for all the pm's as well.

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