She's a Miracle Worker:
Dr. Claudia Gray is a miracle worker. I first met her when she was the invited speaker at an Iroquois Labrador Retriever Club meeting in 2010. She gave an excellent talk on treatment options for ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments in Labs (called anterior cruciate ligament ruptures in humans). I was so impressed with how she presented the evidence for each option, I decided to make her our new vet.
Ironically, I should have paid closer attention to the options she discussed because, on the last day of 2010, while running for his 11th agility title of the year, my beloved Lab, Argos ruptured his left CCL. So last Jan. 4th, nearly a year after that talk, I found myself in her hospital exam room listening again to a discussion of our surgical options.
Despite Argie's size (a very lean and muscular 86 lbs!), I chose the "fish line" repair because of its lower risk of very serious surgical complications. I was convinced Argie's career in the agility and obedience ring was over as well as his future as a competitive retriever and tracking dog. Fortunately, Argie did NOT agree.
Unlike too many other owners of dogs that undergo CCL repair surgery, I listened to Dr. Gray's advice, that a program of rehabilitation therapy is as vitally important -- if not more -- than surgery alone. So we began our rehab visits a week after surgery. By the end of our visits -- just 8 weeks after his surgery -- no one could tell there was anything wrong with his left leg -- except from the big red surgical scar.
I made a video of his last visit at the rehab center. It's called "Argos' 6th Birthday Pool Party" because it was on his birthday, March 3, 2011, 8 weeks after the surgery. Take a look at it: it is awesome and should inspire others who have to go through this horrible ordeal. (For a link to the video combine the following 2 strings -- since this site won't let you post a link -- www.youtube. + com/watch?v=hMPtN3P-dho&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL )
Argie returned to training 4 months after his CCL repair surgery. Six months after, he earned his WCI hunting title. The following month, he won his NADAC Weavers Novice agility title. And then -- the miracle of miracles -- Argie earned his AKC Utility Dog title in just 7 weeks at 2 trials with 3 STRAIGHT qualifications -- each of which required him to clear 22-inch jumps in the directed jump exercise.
Another wonderful thing came out of this awful experience. When I was discussing Argie's surgical options with Dr. Gray, we started talking about working together to write about evidence-based veterinary medicine for the public. That led to our becoming contributing writers for American Kennel Club's Family Dog magazine. Needless to say, I am so grateful our Lab club invited Dr. Gray to give that talk.