Oso, 9 yo Lab Mix with CCL Tear, Possibly Both Knees-

Hi Deborah,
First, thank you so much for creating this site – it is so helpful and full of great information — I only wish I lived near you to have the benefit of a visit, but this will do for now! I have ordered your book (treating without surgery) and am eagerly awaiting its arrival so I can read it and implement your plan. In the meantime, I have two questions about Metacam and also depression.

My 9 year old Lab mix, Oso, has been diagnosed on 1/21/14 with a CCL tear on the left stifle (the worst side) and potentially one on the right as well. I do not plan on surgery for the injury as I would prefer to use holistic methods to help him heal. I would like to know your thoughts on Metacam. Since the evening we went to the vet for xRays, Oso has been on 2 50mg Tramadol 2x day and one dose, by weight, of Metacam which I give him after his dinner. He also is taking the high dose of Dasuquin with MSM for large dogs, as well as several Standard Process compounds. My goal is to eliminate pain and swelling as much as I can without putting him in a daze. He is 88 pounds. I keep reading bad things about Metacam side affects…but don’t want to remove it since it is an anti-inflammatory. Our vet agrees and has not set any end-dates to this regimen. I would love your thoughts on the long term use of this drug — and potential alternates that I can discuss with the vet.

Also, what to do about doggie depression? Oso loves to chase birds and squirrels and he has been completely restricted from running by using a temporary fence in the backyard. The last several days I see what I would call depression behavior. Any thoughts on how to avoid that without allowing him to run and play?

Oh and if you prefer to answer these questions via phone, just email me with your rates and possible schedule — I am in Seattle so we have a bit of a time difference.

Thank you again for an awesome resource site!
Marla B

(Deborah’s note: we moved to email to discuss phone consult possibilities)

I realize I didn’t answer one question in the emails we exchanged, and that was about depression.

Yes, I do find that there is what seems to be an element of depression accompanying injury in our companion animals. It’s actually frequently a big issue in human athletes. Two factors effect this status:

Pets read off of the caretaker’s mood, so I spend a bit of time explaining that to clients and encouraging them to not feel and project anything about “poor puppy” to their dog while they are in recovery process. This really does make a difference, and I don’t have more time to give examples right now 🙂

Just continually encourage them that they are ok and that you are ok with them the way they are. Really.

The second factor is the way I have designed the workout regimen. The regimen is compliant with the best recovery information available as well as attentive to species differences between humans and companion animals. The sessions are multiple at first, yet short, and they allow for bonding and giving importance to the pet while being productive. I find that caretakers and pets welcome the structure as well as feel like they are doing something beneficial several times a day, and that makes a lot of physical and attitude difference!

Blessings- Deborah

Hi Deborah, 

I read most of the book today and if it was not absolutely pouring rain, we would be going out for a 5 minute walk tonight! 

(Rehabdeb: Keep in mind that most pets and homes will accommodate an indoor 5 and 10 min slow walk for purposes of rehab. I recommend using the harness and making it “official” so they get the idea. Obviously no stopping and sniffing or peeing indoors during these walks, either 🙂  )

Are you writing a “long version”?  You mention that several times in this edition.  

(Rehabdeb: No, there aren’t additional weeks written yet, mostly because I’m swamped, because I have several more intro injury booklets to get out first, and because there are some variables I haven’t quite figured out how to overcome and I probably won’t be able to overcome…but I’m working on it. Those variables include people taking animals off of pain meds far too soon, the pet being lame and painful, yet the people press on with the hills or stairs or complicated routines, because they just don’t know and understand the injury and process. I see clients locally after they have read the booklet, and they are “on week 4”, but they haven’t followed most of the instructions, so they really should be fastidiously making sure week 1 is accomplished in all of it’s simplicity. Simply, if the pet isn’t using the leg, and all the caveats to that I cover in the book, it’s not time to progress to week 2 🙂 It’s kinda a mystery to me, but I get it, because I didn’t get to know as much as I do without cutting corners and suffering consequences 😉 So, I’m still doing remote consults using video viewing and phone for now.)

I feel very good about the process you have outlined and I actually have seen how a bit of exercise (as in 5 minutes) made Oso feel better, mentally and physically. 

That’s great news!

We had snow on Sunday, his favorite thing and he was so bummed already (the depression I mentioned) so I put on his harness and we went out in the snow.  He actually put down his leg for the first time since Jan 20th and tried to use it.  We did that twice and what a wonder – he has been trying more and more to use the leg, or at a minimum, toe touch when eating or drinking water.  And not nearly as bummed out.  So I know your plan will work as we tried it without even knowing the plan (before I read the book).


So long story long,  I would like to do the plan as the book describes it and see if that brings up questions as I am guessing it will.  Do you do any morning sessions (since I get up early for work anyway and we have the time difference to work with)?  That way I could take a couple of weeks and let you know when I need a pow-wow and we could schedule a morning.  Or worst comes to worst, sheesh, I can come home early for once!

Yes, we may schedule a morning phone consult 🙂 

And yes, if I could help clone you so you could come here, believe me, I would.  I am in no man’s land for holistic pet care.  North of me and east of me, there are more practitioners but around my area, nada!  Our vet is great though – he does acupuncture and Lomi Lomi – Oso has had both.  

Thank you!

Marla B

Keep up the good work!