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The San Francisco English Bulldog Meetup Group Message Board › My bully tore her ACL. Surgeon recommendations?

My bully tore her ACL. Surgeon recommendations?

A former member
Post #: 1
Took Lilo to the vet yesterday and discovered she tore some ligaments in her hind leg. Most likely she will need surgery to correct the incident and stabilize her leg. The vet recommended UC Davis and SF vet specialists for surgery.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice or recommendations?
A former member
Post #: 7
Our Bully, Kitty, torn one ACL playing at the beach and then torn the one in her other back leg a year later and that was over two years ago. She has fully recovered with full use of both back legs. Rick Schrock at Avenues Pet Hospital, SF (415 681-4313) did both surgeries and there were no complications. The surgery was expensive but we felt it was really worth it, as Kitty was young at the time and the pet insurance did defray the costs a bit. Rick seems to have a large bulldog practice but for the run of the mill things, any of the vets there are knowledgable and helpful. Anything bulldog specific I prefer Rick, himself. If you have specific questions please contact us directly, we are listed on the membership as Kitty. Yes her picture is outdated as she was 4 in December.
user 10485147
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 3
My late bulldog, Louis, was diagnosed with a torn rear ACL and I was referred to SF Veterinary Specialists for the surgery. They seemed competent and I had taken my other bulldogs there for surgeries. The operation was successful but the post-op care/diagnosis was not - long story short, they kept him overnight as a precaution - he was fine right after surgery when i visited but the next morning when i picked him up he was laboring to breathe. The vet/surgeon spent 20 minutes going over the post-op care and released him to me - he said the labored breathing was anxiety and that they had given him a sedative and he should be fine in 8 hours. I stayed home from work that day and while he didn't get any worse, he never got better. I called the surgeon twice to report the continued labored breathing and he still advised that it was anxiety and that I could bring Louis back but coming back to the hospital might increase the anxiety. For 16 hours I watched Louis wheeze, not move, and not eat/drink - when I let him out to pee at midnight, he vomited and collapsed.
I rushed him back to SFVS but they couldn't revive him and he died. It turned out that he had slowly suffocated from a swollen breathing passage caused by the removal of his breathing tube after surgery - an awful death - and one that could have been prevented. The surgeon told me after the fact that when he did his morning rounds (30 minutes before i picked him up) Louis was breathing normally and that when he released him to my care he was not - he never mentioned this to me, he never cautioned me to watch out for anything, he just released him to me even though Louis was exhibiting symptoms different from 30 minutes previous.
I take it as an admission of fault that they subsequently refunded the considerable charges $$$ but that didn't bring my Louis back nor did it alleviate the suffering he endured. I will not go back to SFVS despite the quite good "rep" they have. If you want the name of the surgeon to avoid, contact me for the name but in the meantime, avoid the male Australian orthopedic surgeon.
A former member
Post #: 2
Hi All,

It's been some time since I wrote this post. Thank you for sharing your stories and I am so sorry to hear about Louis.

Here's an update:
Initially when I took her in, the doctor noticed some movement in the knee and the diagnosis was a torn tendon. X-rays were taken and further reviewed by a radiologist or so they told me a "specialist" for a second opinion, the diagnosis was just swelling in the knee. Lilo was given anti-inflammatories, and two weeks later she was back to her usual self and the doctor advised to come back if the symptoms came back. So between then and now, I was noticing Lilo limping after our walks or trips to Fort Funston, but her symptoms seemed to have vanished the next day. I took her to see the orthopedic surgeon (not the Australian Dr.) yesterday at the San Francisco Vet Specialist who determined that she in fact tore her cruciate ligament in her knee and was told the best option for her is TPLO surgery. She did mention that bulldogs have a higher risk of labored breathing during and after surgery. She also mentioned how much commitment is necessary caring for pet after surgery.

So now I am in this ordeal. 1. I am trying to find the best surgeon with a good track record and experience with bulldogs. 2. Coming up with the funds for the procedure. 3. Finding time or someone to care for Lilo after the surgery. Do I even want to do the surgery? Or wait and run the risk of her injury worsening or even affecting the other leg?

Thank you for your time and support.

A former member
Post #: 8
In my reply in January, I misspelled the vets name, it should be Richard (Rick) Schwach at Avenues Pet Hospital. My family has been taking our dogs to him for over 30 years, mostly labs and we would all say that he is a gifted surgeon coupled with a large bull dog practice made him the clear choice for us. The recovery was clearly spelled out and was not difficult to follow, even for me who had had open heart surgery 2 days before Kitty's first surgery. The bad news is that we were told after one ACL tear to probability of a tear in the other rear leg is much higher, which in our case was true. I am happy to say when you see Kitty, you would never know that she has had both back legs repaired unless you saw the scars and she is a rambunctious little girl, especially when she finds a pinecone. I would recommend at least having Dr. Schwach giving you a second opinion and keeping the consult cost down by bring the existing X-rays with you. You can ask what the most likely costs will be up front. I believe that his current schedule is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We wish the best possible outcome for Lilo.
Fog City B.
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 14
I would second the recommendation of Dr. Schwach (and only him, not just anyone in his office) for orthopedic surgery on a bulldog. Your other questions are tougher to answer, and are personal (e.g. funds). How to move forward might also be influenced by your dog's age. It would be reasonable to make a different decision for a 2 year old than you might make for a 7 year old. Dr. Schwach will be able to explain the recovery process, and your dog's prognosis for a normally active life.
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