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Cruciate Ligament Injury

Poppy's Cruciate Ligament Journey

We wish to thank

Nic Goldfinch from Surgeon On Site, for an excellent job thanks so much also to your team for the follow up advice.

The Avenues Veterinary Centre in Rutherglen for the instant diagnosis, x-rays and aftercare, advice with the medication and getting Nic to do the surgery so swiftly.

Napo Pet Insurance for dealing with the claim promptly it took a weight off our minds.


This page is different from the rest of the website. It’s a diary from my perspective. As the days and weeks go by we will add more at the bottom of the page. Hope if anyone that reads this is in the unfortunate position as ourselves might get something out our journey.  

And so it begins

The wee soldier started limping at the end of last month, I checked her paw and felt up her leg. I couldn’t feel anything out of the ordinary so put it down to a strained muscle or a foreign object that had dislodged itself. To make life easier for her we lifted her onto the couch, bed and up and down stairs. This seemed to make an improvement. As a precaution I contacted her insurers online vet. She is insured by Napo. The vet was very nice and reassuring basic outcome was keep doing what we were doing as it looked like a muscle strain. Well, I was very relived, nothing worse than watching the wee yin destressed. She did say to make a physical appointment with a vet if things got worse. I was praying it would get better as poor Poppy is terrified of the vets and still had a bald spot on her leg from getting her teeth scaled earlier in the month.

The next day it got worse. Walks reduced to 100m then carried home, a trip to the vet then. The visit was soul destroying. The vet was convinced it was a cruciate ligament injury. To confirm this the wee soul was booked into the vet for x rays. What I didn’t know was to do this she has to be anesthetised. Nil by mouth back to the vets, the wee soul was petrified. Later in the day we picked her up and it was confirmed, it was the cruciate ligament. What to do?

Our options were two-fold. Do nothing but rest or surgery. Time to do the research. The advice from the vet was surgery. The reasons given being her age and liveliness (we use to call her a racing westie). The other reason to consider surgery was arthritis.

The advice for surgery was not universal. I got a message from my sister down south telling me no matter how she looks just now do not opt for surgery. My sister has two westies the older one who is 10 had the same issue at the start of the year. Her main point was the discipline that is required for the aftercare, the possible complications and that with care and effort it’s not required. It was now nine months since her westie fell foul and she was walking and running at nearly 100%. It should be said Zavy had gone through considerable physio and hydrotherapy.

Weighing up the pros and cons we opted for surgery mostly because she is only seven years old and wouldn’t want to increase her chance of arthritis.

Decision made we had to start preparing for what was to come. First up buy a buggy for her. We were going on a camping trip before the opp After a wee bit of research a buggy was precured and the camping trip was the ideal first outing.

poppy the westie with betsy in the distance

The next thing we needed was a crate. Crates are quite expensive but I managed to find one on Gumtree. I didn’t want to buy a steal cage type do this one was ideal. Poppy has never been in a crate before, this is going to be hard work.

poppy the westie with new crate

D Day

I took the wee yin to the bad place this morning, she knew where she was going the look she gave me when I handed her over was one that broke my heart, Dad why you doing this to me. Just now all I can do is wait for the phone call.

The phone call came. It was the surgeon. Nic Goldfinch from Surgeon On Site. He let me know that the operation was done with no complications. Her ligament was severed but the cartilages were clean. He had plated the bone under the muscle tissue and stitched up under the skin. On top he had placed a plaster to be removed in two days at the vets where they can check the wound for infection. He told us he had left an aftercare instructions pack and I could pick Poppy up at six from the vets.

When we went to pick up our girl we were given an aftercare pack and four boxes of drugs all of which were to start tonight. She looked very poorly. We also got a collar to stop her from licking the wound and causing infection. We went for the new inflatable ones as they looked more comfortable.

poppy the westie home after opp

Back home she was a wee lost soul. Unstable on her legs and too scared to lie down. It was a painful watch. An hour later we tried to administer some of the drugs. Well, she wouldn’t eat treats, cheese, ham or even sausage. Eventually just before ten she had a nibble of ham. So with a bit of encouragement, we managed to get them into her. No walk tonight so collar on and to bed. It was a restless night for all. It was hard to sleep listening to her whimpers. It wasn’t long before I heard licking. That’s when I had doubts about the efficiency of the collar. For the rest of the night every time I heard the sound of licking, I had to go and check it wasn’t in the direction of the knee.

Day 2

The next morning she was a little more lively and I managed to get the onsior inside her before she got up. Onsior is required to be administered 30 min before or after food, A little later she yelped when I carried her downstairs. I placed her on a cushion in front of the fire. I managed to get the Clavaseptin – antibiotics and Pardale into her tum but discovered later the Tralieve I thought she had eaten was spat out. I let her rest for most of the morning and just before noon I lifted her to the back garden where she just stood for 5 min before bringing her in. One thing to note is that despite being out of it and in pain certain stimuli can make her spring into life in a heartbeat. I will have to be careful of this. Another tip is that it is easier and less stressful for her to carrier when she is wearing a harness, more support I suppose. I will try taking her out later. She ate the missed Tralieve along with the second dose of Pardale fairly easily and at lunch she managed to eat a little mackerel and two bits of kibble, my main worry just now is she hasn’t had a drop of water since her release. I left her to sleep in front of the fire.

poppy the westie day after opp

Afternoon she woke up and was panting in front of the fire, I took a bowl of water to her and at last she had a big drink, the only downside was she had her first pee since the opp, on the carpet. It wasn’t her fault so no row. She was quite sore all day, still not putting weight on her paw. At night I lifted her outside and she did her three paw hop up the street for a pee. When she finished I picked her up and straight to her create for bed.

Sleep was not good. About two o’clock she was awake and panting heavily and shaking. No amount of comforting helped. I picked her up took her downstairs to her favourite cushion on the living room floor got a sleeping bag and lay beside her. This seemed to work and she went to sleep.

Day 3

She was a little brighter today. She still put no weight on her leg but ate a bit more kibble today, four bits but she did scoff her mackerel and salmon. Again the worry was water but she even took some onboard early afternoon. I will have to keep an eye on that. Now I’m getting ready to take her to the vet for the two-day check-up. Fingers crossed.

The Vets was a nightmare. She was not happy about going there and almost wriggled out of her harness. It wasn’t helped by the vet firstly leaving the room to get gloves then leaving again to get a spray to dissolve the plaster glue. The upshot was the wound looked fine and so far no infection.

poppy the westies wound

Night was very restless. Lots of scratching at the cage. We think it is because the pain killers are wearing off. So maybe change the timings and give her the Onsior last thing at night.

Day 4

She was a little bit brighter today, although still not eating her kibble. It could be because every tablet she was getting was wrapped in cheese and ham. We took her up the park in her buggy to give her a change of scene, it seemed to work not only did her mood improve but she even had a poo, the first since the morning of her operation.

Night was also better changing the Onsior to last thing at night seemed to be of benefit.

Day 5

poppy the westie with new collar

She is still in pain and the wound now unprotected is itchy. I had to be on my toes when she was not wearing her collar. In a flash she would be at it. We remove her collar when she is eating or trying to sleep. Except for nighttime, she always wares it when she is in her crate. She is also getting enough courage to jump from the couch. This is a worry she can’t be left alone now when in the living room. Also she is starting to be more animated when animals are on TV again another thing to watch out for. Radio during the day will stop that from happening when its just me looking after her. Night was calm and we only got scratches from the cage about six in the morning.

Day 6

She was very bright this morning, too bright. I caught her trying to jump on the couch no soon as I lifted he on as soon as my back was turned I caught her attempting to jump off again. I got the tablets inside her and took her out for a short walk. Still worried about lack of poos I let her walk for a bit then carried her to the places she normally goes. No joy, will try the buggy this afternoon. The drugs started to take effect and she went for a snooze.

poppy the westies new eating facilities

The buggy worked. I took her up the park Let her down and after a few pees two poos. One thing though I had to be alert because she wanted to run and running is a no no. Well I suppose to her the park means running and ball. I had to grab her a few times when I saw squirrels. The next few days are going to be key. She managed to get a couple of licks in on her wound. Must be more vigilant as she gets stronger. 

Day 7

Quiet day short walks no poo. She still tries to go for her wound and generally she is getting stronger.

Nighttime is still an issue 4am and she was scratching at her crate.

Day 8

A week since surgery keeping the walking to a minimum. Today is the last of the anti-biotics and tramadol. That will take 13 pieces of cheese and ham out of her diet and reduce it to 4. She is still sleepy due to the tramadol but walking is getting notably stronger. We will see how she goes without the tramadol tomorrow. She is using her four legs when we are outside. Very short walks but at a snail’s pace to make her use the other leg. The wound is looking good but still have to use the collar for now. Only dark clouds on the horizon are the 4 days of fireworks up to the 5th followed by the vet on the 6th.

Day 12

poppy the westie after tramadole

Went to the vets for the 12 day wound checkup. After the last fiasco I phoned the vet and I was permitted to give her diazepam (got for fireworks night and had a few left over). All went well she was happy that Poppy had no infection but advised me to keep the collar on. The only time we put the collar on Poppy is if she moves to lick the wound or at night when we can’t keep an eye on her.

Day 14

Nighttime is still proving an issue. She still hates the crate and keeps us awake scratching to get out of it, virtually all night. Phoned the vet and we got some trazodone to help calm her down. It seems to work for about 4-5 hours, Worrying day Poppy seems to have developed a limp and her knee  looks as if its moving when she walks. She was very dozy and sleepy, just have to wrap in more cotton wool. Tonight we are going to try the crate with the door open.

poppy the westies new sleeping arangements

Day 15

The crate open with the trazodone seems to have made a difference. I should tell you at this point that although the crate is open Poppy can’t get out because it is raised to the hight of our bed and we effectively block the door. She was brighter this morning. Morning walk her leg looked better than yesterday. Mabey just a blip. Will find out with the x-rays in 4 weeks’ time.

poppy the westie resting

Day 21

Well, it’s been three weeks since the operation. The wee girl escaped from her crate last night about 3 in the morning and set up residence between us. Stayed there for the rest of the night protecting her new space with growls. In fact refused to budge the next morning. Well looks like she is getting back to normal. Decided to leave her for a bit since it was her birthday. The Big 8 today. When she eventually got up. I carried her downstairs. Morning walk was a brisk affair. She had a right tug on her this morning. If I didn’t know better I would have thought she was better. That aside short lead and keep her for overdoing it. Still carried her after 3min though.

Back in the house snoozes by the fire. Her mood was raised when Granpa came with prezzys. She dispatched the paper wrapping like a pro.

poppy the westie opening birthday prezzy from granny

In the afternoon had to ban her from the kitchen because her nemesis was back and she was way too keen to try and dispatch him.

poppy the westies nemissis

She sleeps most of the day now and wakes up a bit at night when Diane comes home. Tonight she got some more prezzys from Diane’s friend Laura and also the pet insurance compony napo.

poppy the westie oppening birthday prezzy from her pet insurers

After all the excitement (and the trazodone) she was quick to go to bed and stayed in her crate till after three am.

Day 28


Despite earlier success with Poppy sleeping in her crate for a full night, it did not last. At about three o’clock in the morning every night since she takes up residence in the middle of the bed and protects her acquired space with vigour. She is beginning to behave pretty much as before the operation. Not always a good thing. Morning wake up is a pain as she really loves her bed.

poppy the westie loves bed

Morning walks have went from a couple of minutes just after the operation to about twenty. We are not walking any further its just that the smells from every blade of grass is sweeter and more interesting to her.

She is also getting stronger. On her nighttime walk she tried to pick a fight with the local foxes. Same when a car goes by in the rain, or a flatbed van goes by I have had to be alert with the shortening her leash. At times she thinks she is back to normal, but we still have two weeks to go.

Her appetite is back to normal and when not sleeping she is full of get up and go. This can be problematic as the surgeon stated no playtime for six weeks. She still hates being carried and lifted off the ground. Funny I thought she would have got use to it by now.  One thing she has accepted is when we come to a kerb she stops. Surgeon said no steps. Mabey its because she is only lifted for a second.

All in all she seams to be moving in the right direction. Still no time for complacency, only two weeks to go.

Day 35


One week to go until her x ray. It’s getting harder and harder to keep her calm and stop her from jumping about. She managed to sneak by the barricades at the weekend when I was bringing the Christmas tree down from the loft. She jumped off the bed and came down the stairs to announce her arrival in the living room. Barricades for the stairs, at all times. You can tell if they weren’t there, she would be back in two wags of a dogs tail.

poppy the westie cant get back to bed

Nighttime has not improved. As soon as the lights are off, she is out the crate and on the bed. Personally I feel the crate was an unmitigated failure. We keep her between us at night so if she starts to go for a wander we are on it in a flash.

poppy the westie has to wait to be lifted

A few days this week there was signs of a limp and we even had the three legged hop. Hopefully this was just stiffness. When we are out walking she moves well and could easily go further than we are taking her. She still has the urge to eliminate squirrels.

poppy the westie cant chase the squirrles just now

Tomorrow is the last dose of Onsior. From tomorrow Poppy will be drug free. Poppy can sniff any medicine at 100 yards. The things you do for your dog. Onsior never looked this good.

onsior never looked so tasty

Day 49


It’s been a couple of weeks since Poppy had her last visit to the vet for an x-ray. The news was good. The plate is in place and the bone is starting to glue together. As far as she is concerned she is back to normal. The surgeon on the other hand recommended caution. We are to increase her exercise but to avoid at all costs any shock to the knee. At this stage of recovery normally owners are trying to get their dogs to use their legs again. We have a different problem. The problem we have is slowing her down. She wants to run, jump and climb. The next four weeks are going to be tough. Luck however has ran out for the wee yin. The Surgeon gave us the green light to give her a bath! Well, she’s had a good run, its been eight weeks since her last one.