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title:   ACL                                                          ID:  4
author:   many
description:   cruciate damage
content:   BERNER-L Digest 97

Almost qualifying turned bad
"Clark S. Osojnicki"
Tue, 19 Sep 95 21:39:19 CST

What a tough weekend we had. As a preliminary, Tiki and I have been showing in Utility A for about 6 months. To this point, thanks mostly to signal problems we have no legs in about 10 tries. Then on Saturday, she seems to really have her head in the game. We passed signals, both articles, the glove and the moving stand. All that was left for our first leg was the directed jumping. On the first jump I send her on a go out and on my command she takes the left jump. Down to my final jump. We are finally going to get the first leg out of the way. I send her on her second go out. She quickly takes off, apparently too quickly, as she gets a couple of steps away and pulls up screaching in pain with her right rear leg held up against her. The poor dog was in such bad pain that she was just crying for about 30 seconds. We finally get her calmed down, out of the ring and relax the leg. The show vet is called over and after examining her says that he thinks it is a sprained cruciate. He says to keep her activity low until we get her examined.

Here's what makes us think it is not cruciate related. Within about ten minutes she seemed to have "walked it off", she was running in her "poop trot" that night and we had a difficult time keeping her from jumping up and down off of the hotel bed. Also, we trained on Friday night at home before heading to the show and the same thing happened while doing a go out, but to a lesser extent. Again, on Friday she seemed to shake it off so easily we just thought it was a muscle cramp and didn't really think twice about it happening again the next day in the show. Someone at the show suggested that it might be a dislocating patela (sp?) which sonds more plausible to us.

Fortunately, we have a wonderful vet clinic near us for orthopaedic problems. We will be going there tomorrow. We will let everyone know what we find out. Thanks for hearing me out as obviously I am finding it very distressing.


Clark & Kris Osojnicki and the Bevy of Berners Chalet, Tiki, Haley & Mara


BERNER-L Digest 98

Tiki Leg Injury Update
"Clark S. Osojnicki"
Wed, 20 Sep 95 20:29:33 CST

We saw our othopaedic specialist this afternoon. After palpating the joint, he decided that it was not a dislocation of any part. He did find resistance to some of the movements that he made. He said that there is definitely a problem of some kind. Although he could not guarantee what it was, he felt it was most likely a strained cruciate. He said it could be ligament damage but that it was unusual to injure the ligaments without injuring the cruciate.

He has suggested that we go ten days with any of the unnecessary activity but to take her on walks on leash. This is a vet who sees most of the obedience exhibitors in our area so he has an understanding of what we expect from the dogs. Still, we plan on doubling his suggestion and "keeping her calm and controlled" for three weeks. Knock, Knock, Knock on wood we hope that he is correct and that she can be fully recovered and somewhat soon at that. Thanks for all the thoughts and comments. We will keep you updated.


Clark & Kris Osojnicki and the Bevy of Berners Chalet, Tiki, Haley & Mara


BERNER-L Digest 102

Hurt Dog (Kathleen Britt)
Tue, 26 Sep 1995 12:56:49 LOCAL

I had an experience last nite that has me very concerned about my dog. I came home from work and since it was raining came in my front door, got my "dog towel", went to the back door to dry off Gus and let him in to say hello. He was acting wierd but I was busy drying him off. When I was done I noticed that he would only stand on 3 legs. He would put no weight on his rear leg. I checkedhim out and it was obvious that he was in a lot of pain. his bones were not broken and the problem was clearly with his muscles. I manipulated the leg and it would move normally. I gave him 2 asprin and some cheese to try and make him more comfortable. All nite he was very calm and seemed to be in pain. Geez he looked bad. He did eat his dinner (good!). This morning he was still hobbling on 3 legs. He was interested in his cheese and asprin and his breakfast.

I had this happen once before about 2 months ago. I had my leg in a full cast and was staying at my boyfriend's house. He has a big deck and we figured he had hopped off the deck and landed weird. Took to the vet in the AM and was told to give him asprin for the pain 2 2x a day and let him rest. Then he was better in a couple of days.

Has anyone got any ideas about this? What is he doing ? Is my dog a super klutz ?

Thanks for your input.
Katie and Gustav from Seattle - land of the incredible Seattle Mariners!!


Re: Hurt Dog
Wed, 27 Sep 1995 10:13:51 -0400

Dear Katie,

It could be his cruciate ligament in his knee. My dog partially tore hers and was limping but weight bearing on the leg. After a trip to my Vet who has a good orthopedic background and to an orthopedist specialist both concurred on the diagnosis of a cruciate ligament by the feel of the joint when manipulated. The orthopedic specialist said that she probably actually tore the ligament ealier due to the thickening around the joint and that the recent incedent only tore it more. She hit her knee when she jumped into the car. I did not know when she did the initial injury.

Anyway I have read a lot about cruciate ligaments. When the ligament is fully torn, the dog will not put any weight on it and sometimes holds the leg tight against the body. If the ligament is fully torn, arthritic changes occure rapidly in the joint due to the instability. Rapid restabilization of the joint to minimize the arthritic changes is important. With a partial tear, you can adopt a wait and see following some period of rest. Unfortunately it is hard to determine how much of the ligament has been torn in a partial tear.

With Shambha, she would walk and trot normally but would limp for a while after a hard run and she appeared to have problems going up stairs. I opted for surgery and hers was about 50% torn.

If your dog won't bear any weight on his leg and appears in pain, I would recommend that you take him to a Vet who specializes in orthopedics fairly quickly. One book I read said that with a fully torn cruciate ligament, it only took a matter of weeks for sufficient joint degradation to form which would impact recovery of the use of the leg after surgery to repair the ligament.

Good luck with your dog,


BERNER-L Digest 105

Ruptured Cruciate -- need info ASAP (Marjorie E. Reho)
Mon, 2 Oct 1995 09:06:01 -0400

Hi all .... I need your help in getting very smart very fast on a torn or ruptured cruciate ligament. I know what it is, where it is, and how it works. Have any of you had Berners who have had the repair surgery? If so, what can I expect? What's the healing process like? What does the surgery look like? Are there different ways to repair it? How long does it take to get stability back?

As you've probably guessed, I do have a Berner with a ruptured cruciate. Cresta, my 11-1/2 year old, pulled up on three legs on Saturday evening. After I examined her, I guessed the cruciate, but didn't know for sure until I took her into the backup vet Sunday morning. She's at one of her two regular vets today awaiting his exam. I have some really tough decisions to make, especially given that Cresta is 11-1/2. If the prognosis is not good from what I learn, then I have no choice but to put her down. But if she has a fair to average chance of surviving the surgery and coming back with at least a stable knee (who cares about a limp) and can use all four legs, then I'll do it. But please, please, please, I'm in sponge mode right now soaking up all I can learn. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A much saddened Margie Reho hoping to get Cresta back together


BERNER-L Digest 106

Many Thanks (Marjorie E. Reho)
Tue, 3 Oct 1995 16:49:15 -0400

Just wanted to send out a note of thanks to all of you who expressed your
best wishes to Cresta or who sent me the most needed information on your
experiences with cruciate damage. It was invaluable. It allowed me to
understand and properly assess what we needed to do with our old gal.

She spent today with my super surgeon vet, which whom I've worked for
probably 15 years now. We have a relationship I wish you can all have with
your vets. It's totally open and candid. He'll teach me anything I want
to know and offer me information and guidance not afforded a normal client.
He's the best analyst I've ever dealt with (and that's my career), only
specializing in medical analysis instead of intelligence/computer/command
and control. External examination looked very bad .... and internal (x-ray) was even worse. All these years of leading the pack at top speed,
still until Saturday thinking she was 4 years old, took their toll. One
knee was totally shot with serious damage to the meniscus. The second leg
had too much laxity of the cruciate, but it hadn't torn yet, and he suspected some damage to the meniscus. So there was just no choice.

Cresta was put to sleep this afternoon at a healthy age of 11-1/2. It was
best. We'll miss her, especially my almost 11 year old son who has never
known life without her. It feels good to know she didn't die of any genetic disorder, but it doesn't make it any easier. She was a major
positive influence on the breed and a best friend to all of us. She's the
last of the "Gita" kids to die for any of you who go back that far.

Again, thank you everyone for all your support and kind thoughts.



BERNER-L Digest 120

Tiki's Cruciate Update
"Clark S. Osojnicki"
Tue, 24 Oct 95 23:48:38 CST

As of the last update, our vet suggested ten days rest for what he thought was a strained cruciate. We played it safe and gave her twenty days. On the 21st day we went to Utility class and it wasn't more than half way into the class and she hurt it again. This time, it was on the glove exercise but still while making that same motion of bolting from a sit to go do something.

We went to the vet again last Wednesday. He now thinks it must be a partial tear. We took x-rays of her hips, spine and right knee. The hips still look very good, the spine looked fine too. The knee joint did not show much except for the fact that he said the upper leg bone is slightly back from where it should be resting on the lower leg bone. He also felt some droor (sp?) movement, that is that it moved a little in a direction that it shouldn't. If it is a partial tear he indicated that it will not heal since it is a ligament and apparently ligaments do not have any blood flow so there is no regeneration. What he said we can hope for is that she adjusts how she moves so as not to put unnecessary strain on it. He is quite adamant about not doing surgery at this point because her lameness is quite sporadic and she is able to walk it off quite quickly. Fine with me, I do not care to put her through that if not necessary.

So, at this point, I am not quite sure where we stand. I have tried to train her some since our last problem but she is now very stressed out mentally any time she needs to make that motion of jumping out of a sit. Since it has happened as she is leaving my side I think she thinks it was a correction from me and now has her seriously confused. Because of this fear, she is trying to leave my side even faster than before, causing more stress on the joint. After spending a year trying to speed up that specific motion, I now need to try and slow it down. My plan for now is to try and get her over the mental part of the problem and see if she can handle the physical part. If we are not able to get over either, it looks like it may be retirement, or at least a long lay off for our obedience career.

Until later...

Clark & Kris Osojnicki and the Bevy of Berners Chalet, Tiki, Haley & Mara


BERNER-L Digest 122

RE: Tiki's Cruciate Problem
Barbara Flook
Fri, 27 Oct 1995 05:58:01 -0400 (EDT)

Hi Clark & Tiki -

As a non-Berner owner (a someday wannabe), don't know if it's appropriate to comment but I am surprised to read that your vet dosen't want to do surgery to repair Tiki's cruciate. Seems like such a large dog would certainly require repair - especially for when they're older.

From my experiences with a German Shorthair Pointer - the first cruicate problem was a tear - we opted for surgery because although she was able to get around pretty good (NOTHING stops a GSHP) the vet was worried about arthritis & joint damage. Surgery went fine (she actually was walking on it as the vet assistant brought her out - day 3 after the surgery - the vet of course was saying "she shouldn't be doing that" - try stoping a GSHP). This leg recovered fine - been 5 yrs now.

The second leg went about a year later as she was chasing the neighbors cat in our fenced yard (anybody for cat leash laws?). Anyway this total tear was repaired through surgery and all appeared well but apparently the ligament was left a little tighter & she still isn't able to bend her leg as normal when going up stairs. Anyway, at age 13.5 it appears this leg may do her in before her enlarged heart!

You may want to get another opinion - or possibly surgery isn't recommended with Berners as I haven't seen any other comments from folks out there. Anyway, good luck with Tiki, I know cruciate damage is painful for both of you!

Barb Flook


BERNER-L Digest 127

cruciate (Marianne Becktel)
Wed, 1 Nov 1995 14:07:05 -0600

Dear Clark & Chris

Sorry this is so late coming back to you, but this has been a strange week.

How is Tiki's leg doing? I wanted to share my experience with you, because we went through it this summer. Sid went to search and rescue training and came up lame. We rested her, and it got better, but not really good again. OUr vet took a look at her, and sent us to Michigan State. AFter much poking prodding testing, and Xrays, they told us they could get her into surgery that afternoon.

This is why
They told us that a tear in the cruciate ligament will never heal. There is already considerable "drawer" movement, that is, you can pull the lover leg forward, as if you were pulling a drawer open. Once weakened, it can only worsen. What is doubly bad, is that if the weakened leg won't support weight well, it puts twice as much pressure on the other, and it is likely that the cruciate there will go too.
I am of the school who is not convinced that this is a genetic thing. Rather, it is an injury, exactly the same one that football players get. Everything gets pushed over, except that the foot and leg don't move. The cruciate tears because that is the only thing that will "give". It is unlikely that this happened due to a quick start off from a sit. It may be aggrivating it now, but it is more likely that playing, running, and body slamming (as most bunches of berners do), is what caused the tear happened. That, or a quick turn on a surface where there may not have been enough purchase.

The surgery is not
that= bad. Rather than try to repair the tear, they created an artificial ligament from surgical thread. They loop a stich around the tiny bony hook that comes off from behind the knee (each side), and join it to a screw they put in below the knee. It is painful for a little while, but then it is harder on you to keep them quiet while it heals thoroughly. The major concern here is not to put too much pressure on the other leg. After it heals, they are almost as good as new. Friends say a rottie with one got an OTCh (jumping and all). Others have gotten a Ch. Steve Dudley's Baron got his NDD.
As I don't know whether you've gotten this side of the story, I wanted to let you know.



Home of the Bay City Berners - Schatzi, Sidli, and Facet - 3 generations of Bernese Mountain Dogs living on the Bay


BERNER-L Digest 258

Lameness (Re:Soft tissue injury; shoulder)
Mon, 25 Mar 1996 17:33:20 EST5EDT

This is kind of a joint answer, as I think it may be relevant to both Chuck's Mocha and Mary-Ann's Darcy.
For Chuck, did your vet check "drawer movement" on Mocha? Drawer movement is due to the tibia's sliding cranially or caudally in relation to the femur. While it can be checked without sedation, sedation is usually necessary. For what it's worth, I would suggest having radiographs redone, and having them checked out by a veterinary radiologist. I say this because your situation is very similar to one I had with Aylen. At about 10 months of age, he came up lame in a back leg, after some moderately rough play. My regular vet examined him, then had him back for radiographs. His diagnosis was a cruciate tear. While he had him under, he also radiographed Aylen's hips. So I took these radiographs in to be looked at by the radiologist at the vet school. He looked at the hips and felt they were fine, then looked at the radiograph of Aylen's leg and said "there's your lameness problem - panosteitis". Paneosteitis is also known as shifting leg lameness and frequently recurs. However, it is self-limiting and goes away on its own. The reason for it is unknown, but I have heard it half-jokingly referred to as growing pains. It generally occurs in large breed dogs, ages 6-18 months.
However, it is much less likely that it would recur in the same leg, so it may very well be the cruciate in Mocha's case. I would have the radiographs redone just to be sure, as paneosteitis can be very subtle to see on radiographs, especially the sooner they are taken. At four months, though, it should be relatively easy to see if that is the case, especially for someone who knows what they are looking for. Here's hoping it's that simple!

> Approximately 4 months ago she injured one of her rear legs. She
> did not fall, slip, hit something or anything obvious; she just,
> seemingly in mid-stride, pulled up lame and would not put any weight
> on the leg. No yelp or cringing to touch or anything.
> About an hour later, with no improvement, we took her in to a 24-
> hour emergency vet. clinic where she was sedated, examined, and X-
> rayed. There was no bone injury and no obvious problem noticable on
> the film or in the exam. It was diagnosed as a probable soft tissue
> injury, likely a cruciate ligament, of undetermined severity. We
> were told to take her home and see our regular vet the following
> day....
> Well, 4 months passed and we were beginning to think we might be out
> of the woods. Not so. On Saturday, the same thing happened again.
> Nothing out of the ordinary but lame in the same leg in mid-stride.

For Mary-Ann, I would reiterate having radiographs done and looked at by a veterinary radiologist. OCD certainly could cause lameness, but so could a multitude of other things, including paneosteitis.

> Darcy is just 12 months and started favoring a front leg about 4
> days ago. She does not favor it while walking or running, it only
> shows up when she is gaiting. I checked her over and see nothing
> amiss.

Melissa in FL


Re: Soft Tissue Injuries (cathy burlile )
Mon, 25 Mar 1996 19:50:00 -0800

Chuck, Dorothy and Mocha,

Sounds like a dog with a torn cruciate ligament or a subluxating patella. I have heard this condition described before but never had to experience it firsthand with my guys.

The only thing I know about cruciate ligament tears is that the success rate when repaired is greater the sooner they're done.

The period of limited mobility is hard on any dog. Following Shelby's TPO surgery, she was also only allowed limited mobility. But faster than you know, she was back "up to speed" and has been going "great guns" ever since. It was worth it.

I don't have any info I can share re
injury to the other leg :( Keep us posted on Mocha's progress. I'd be interested to learn more about any successes you have with Mocha if you'll share it with us.
Cathy, Memories BMDs


BERNER-L Digest 381

Re:knee injury
Peter Lennon
27 Jul 96 08:25:19 EDT


have you had a doggy chiropractor have a look over her? My Amber (mother of my puppies) pulled up lame when the pups were 8 weeks old ...same as you describe ...still going on all fours but tentative and sometimes skipping on one of her hind legs.

I first thought she must have just trod on a spike or nail ..because she had never limped in her life ..but when it stayed for around a week I took her to our local dog guru (actually he is not a real chiropractor but someone who has been in the greyhound racing industry for many many years>>as well as treating greyhounds he has quite a following of show dogs that go to him with their problems). When I first visited him a couple of years ago ..I was very sceptical indeed.

Well in this case he stood Amber up on his treatment table and felt all over th e
leg ....she could not extend it right out the back and up at all was very tight. He explained that her muscles were crossed over in her thigh ...which was causing the tightness ...we put her on her side and I looked after the top end pating her a wooing her while he manipulated (heavily massaged her thigh) and walla ...after five minutes of this ..SHE was RIGHT AS RAIN!

I really found it hard to believe,......of course it may not be this easy for your girl ...but like many of us BMD owners ..when a dog is lame we immediately assume Joints or Ligaments. Maybe there is someone nearby you who comes recommended by others?

just a thought

cheers Nicole (Zanzebern Australia)


Sat, 27 Jul 1996 22:11:38 -0400

Yes, in regards to Sherri Vendetti's dog--you can have a minor knee (stifle) injury.
Hopefully, your Berner just strained or sprained the joint. However, a partial cruciate rupture is possible. The cruciate ligament is a ligament that crosses in the stifle (knee) joint. It is common in dogs (& people) to tear this ligament (the cranial cruciate typically). Often partial cruciate ruptures don't cause as great a degree of lameness as complete tears. If the dog doesn't improve, she should be anesthetized and the joint should be checked for movement (cranial drawer movement is dagnostic). Radiographs are also a good idea to check for other less common problems (early bone cancer is a possibility).
I hope I explained cruciate ruptures OK. They are very common but easier to explain with pictures. In dogs the size of Berners, surgical repair of the ruptured ligament is recommended.
In regards to nutrition--I know I take the traditional viewpoint & yes perhaps we should be giving our dogs more fresh foods. (I do give table scraps but more as a matter of convenience than nutrition). But IMHO, Vitamin C supplementation isn't necessary. Do people realize that Vit. C is only a "vitamin" for primates & guinea pigs? Primates & guinea pigs lost the ability to synthesize ascorbic acid (all other mammals can) during evolution because primates were eating a largely fruit diet. Guinea pigs were eating something else high in ascorbic acid as they were evolving somewhere in the Andes. So the only reason we consider Vitamin C a vitamin is because we are primates.

Kathy Berge DVM IOWA USA (where there aren't many Berners yet but lots more than 12 years ago)


BERNER-L Digest 391

cruciate injury info (Marianne Becktel)
Wed, 7 Aug 1996 17:15:56 -0400 (EDT)

Just found an interesting page (from a rottweiler NL) and illustration about cruciate injuries. It really gives a good expanation!

Check out

Marianne Becktel

Schatzhof Bernese...each a treasure! Bay City, Michigan


BERNER-L Digest 434

Cruciate Surgery
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 06:49:02 -0400

Calling all L'ers that cringed when they read the subject of this post...

After two months of slight to moderate lameness, Kalila had knee surgery yesterday. (GEEZ, I MISS HER-can't wait to pick her up today!)

Finding was a partially torn cruciate ligament, surgeon has 'tightened up' her knee and injected it with something funky (can't recall the drug but it's used in human eye surgery ???).

I'd very much like to hear from anyone who has gone through the post op and rehab process after this type of surgery.

What did you do?
Anything you'd do differently?
Anything the vets 'didn't tell you'?
Time line for recovery?
Long term impact?

Thanks for your help,
Sherri Venditti


Re: Cruciate Surgery
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 10:08:37 -0400

My Jess had cruciate ligament repair about 2 months ago and is doing wonderfully. Even though the estimated complete recovery time is about 6 months, he is already walking, trotting, and galloping most of the time without a limp. It took 1 week after the surgery for him to stand on his bad leg and cock the good leg. (I was so proud....) Along with the damaged cruciate ligament, the maniscus ligament was found to be destroyed AND there was an OCD lesion beneath his knee cap. Repair consisted of removing the debris and damaged material, scraping the lesion down to healthy bone and securing the knee joint with 50lb test monofilament line. Jess is 6 1/2 years old, weighs a skinny 96 lbs, stands 27 1/2 inches tall and has more pain tolerance than any berner I've ever run across (which is saying alot). Since all cruciate ligament repairs are not this successful, I attribute his rapid recovery to his great heart and to the skill of his vet. I was allowed to watch the surgery and was totally amazed for the entire 2 1/2 hour procedure. And as Jess lays on the floor by the computer keeping me company, I'm sure glad we were able to do this for him.

Susan Clawson and Jess (the gang leader) Greensboro, NC
date:   30-Sep-2003

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