Pepper’s Other Knee

Pepper has been doing great. Maybe not quite as much energy as she used to have, but she is almost 12 years old. I honestly didn’t think that after she injured her knee that she would be able to chase after her ball like she used. It may have taken awhile, but she did heal and her knee got strong enough for her to run around almost as well as she used.

Stairs have started to be a bit of an issue for her. I’m not sure if it’s because of her age or because of her injury. Probably a combination of both. That hasn’t stopped her from running full blast up the deck stairs when coming in from inside. It’s been making me nervous because she does have a tendency to slip on those stairs.

This past Wednesday afternoon my fears were realized. I had just let Pepper out and was getting my lunch ready when I heard her on the stairs and almost simultaneously she yelped with pain.

I ran outside to find her just laying on the stairs not moving, just looking up at me. I could tell she was in pain. I looked her over as best I could right there, but I didn’t see any obvious signs of trauma. I picked her up and brought her inside. That wasn’t exactly easy. She hates to be picked up to begin with and it was hard to pick her up without hurting her especially since I wasn’t sure where she was hurt yet.

It didn’t take long after setting her down that I could see the problem was with her left rear leg. Not that she was walking that much. She still didn’t want to move around much. Now that I knew what she hurt, I gave her a closer examination. I didn’t see any signs of swelling and the skin wasn’t broken. Nothing looked misaligned. I carefully felt around and she didn’t yelp at me or try to nip me. I also didn’t feel anything broken.

Sometimes with Pepper it’s hard to tell if she’s really hurt or if she’s only a little hurt or if she just scared herself a little bit. In this case, I knew she was hurt, I just wasn’t sure how much. Since there was nothing obviously wrong, I decided that I would see how Pepper was doing in the morning. If she was still in a lot of pain, I would call the vet. In the meantime, I had some pain medication from her previous knee injury. I gave her 1 pill right away and then another pill just before bed and another first thing in the morning. Pepper was still hurting pretty bad. When she would try to walk around, she was lifting her leg up, not wanting to put any pressure on it at all. She was also having an issue just standing up on the linoleum. The carpet was at least a little bit better. It was like her right leg wanted to slip out from underneath her.

I called the vet Thursday morning and got her in right away. The vet looked Pepper over and told me that it was the same thing that had happened to her other knee. She had torn something in her knee. Last time I remember her saying to give it some time and she only mentioned surgery as a last resort. This time she brought up surgery almost right away. I was left with the impression that this injury might be worse than her previous one. Or it might just be worse because Pepper already had one iffy leg. She might not have healed as well as I thought she had, it might have been more that she had been compensating for her right leg with her left. Which would explain why she seems to be having more problems standing this time around than last time.

I was sent home with more pain pills and for the time being Pepper just needs to get lots of rest and I need to try to keep her from moving around as much as possible. She’s not going to be too happy about that. Or about how I am going to have to carry her up and down the stairs every time she needs to go outside. It also looks like I need to get a child gate to keep her from going down the inside stairs. Yes, even with her injury, she still goes down the stairs. One of her favorite napping spots is the landing by the front door. I guess she likes hard, cool tile. She’s going to have to do without that spot as well for awhile.

At least this time I have some idea of what to expect. Once she starts putting a little weight on her leg, I’ll start taking her on some short walks. Try to get some muscle built up. Then we’ll see how she responds to that and if that seems to help or not. It may be that now that both of her knees were torn that she might need the surgery after all. I just hope that someday she’ll be able to play with her ball again like she used to.

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