Janesville60.1°

Winter brings beastly injuries

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Catherine W. Idzerda
February 2, 2009
— Poor Chloe.

For the next few weeks, the sweet old gal will have to give up exploring the world and be content with belly rubs and subdued play.


She's also taken on the depressing role of object lesson for other dogs and their owners.


Last week, Chloe—an 11-year-old golden retriever—tore her anterior cruciate ligament on an outdoor jaunt with her owner, Sondra Klipp.


"It's just like what happens in sports," said Dr. Kevin Kreier of the Badger Veterinary Clinic, Janesville.


ACL injuries occur in athletes "coming to a quick stop with a directional change while running, pivoting, landing, or overextending the joint in either direction," according to the National Institutes of Health.


"We get lots of them at this time of year," said Kreier.


Dogs jumping over snow banks, dogs slipping on the ice, dogs losing traction—all can lead to torn ACLs.


Overweight dogs are more at risk for such accidents, but they can happen to any pooch, Kreier said.


Take Chloe. She's in excellent shape thanks to regular activity that includes 2- and 4-mile jaunts through the woods.


"She's a very active dog," Klipp said.


Klipp took Chloe on a jaunt to the Janesville Outdoor Lab last week. While Klipp snow-shoed, Chloe explored.


Klipp doesn't know exactly when the accident happened, but she saw Chloe gnawing on her dog boots. The dog also seemed distressed.


A trip to the vet provided the diagnosis, and Chloe had her surgery Friday.


Controlled, leashed walks in the winter are the best way to avoid such accidents, Kreier said. And pet owners will want to avoid them or they'll end up paying the cost—between $1,400 and $3,500 per surgery.


That number goes up significantly if the injury happens on the weekend, or if the pet's owner has to travel to Rockford or Madison to get the work done.


As for Chloe, she'd rather be outside—or at least have been able to enjoy the Super Bowl properly.


"She's doing remarkably well," Klipp said Sunday. "But we're making her lay down for the football game."



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