How You May Help Rescue Organizations and Animal Shelters with Rehab!!

This is an exciting opportunity to help animal shelter and rescue rehabilitation to save money and pets!!

Dog in Blinds

This is a great way for you to get involved in rescue rehabilitation and rehab for animal shelters in the USA right now (and maybe around the globe later)!


If you read  >>> the reviews <<< on this site, you will see that several veterinarians and others have mentioned that this book ∨∨∨

should be available to more shelters and rescues for new caretakers of adopted pets, and we’d like to offset the expense to shelters of handing out these books to new pet adopters. (Note: if you have blocked Amazon, the book link will not show up above. If you are interested in searching for it on your own, you may use the ISBN 9780615900476 for more info.)

To donate to this program through me, you must use the PayPal link below for the discounted price. Otherwise, if you just want to purchase some and hand them out or use for yourself, then use the Amazon link, above ∧ ∧ by clicking the pic of the book.


There is a drop-down menu associated with this PayPal button ∨ ∨ so that you may choose your donation amount…
check it out-

After Torn Knee Ligament Recovery Book
Message From You to Recipients

(This is a secure site & so is PayPal, just fyi)


People want the book for dogs in rescue organizations and dogs in animal shelters so that the inexpensive and less-traumatic recovery options offered in the book may be followed instead of immediately pursuing surgery for torn knee ligaments.


The other exciting part of this equation is that by following the rehab protocol outlined in the book, instead of first going to surgery, more funds could be made available for other newly admitted pets with much bigger medical problems! This is a very exciting effort toward overall conservation and community wellness.


I am currently editing these original 4-week, foundation-building rehab books, and in the meantime, for every $5 donated, I am able to give one of these original books to an established city/county shelter or verified rescue organization in the contiguous United States.

These books will accompany new pet caretakers at adoption, and the new adoptors will be able to follow the directions while working with their veterinarian on follow-up for pain control, continued recovery, and additional wellness.


I will be posting pics below this post as books are donated so that you will be able to see the benefits of your donations. I will also post pics and follow-up info from the new pet parents too, when they share it with me!

Thank you in advance for participating in this adventure!



Q & A

May we buy books from you at this same discount for our clinic, to hand out to clients?

If you are a clinic owner or associate, you may also use this option to purchase books for your clinic. Many of you are already doing this though personal contact with me. If you have not previously ordered from me, be sure to include your clinic name and shipping information in the comments section of the Paypal purchase. Also, to make sure the info gets sent to me, fill out the short private contact form below.

When will this option be available for clinics and shelters in other areas besides the United States?

On the one hand, I could implement this option at any time. On the other hand, I’d need to first know shipping destination outside of the US. Then I would know how many books I could send for a particular donation amount. Currency exchange rates are a factor. Please contact me using the form below, and we will work out the details via email. Please include your clinic or shelter email where the contact box asks for it.  You may provide your personal email if you are a principle veterinarian at the facility. The info you put into the contact box goes directly to  my email, so no one else should see your information.

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West Highland Terrier, 13, Torn ACL and Luxating Kneecaps in Both Knees

West Highland Terrier, 13, Torn ACL and Luxating Kneecaps in Both Knees

March, 2013


I have a thirteen year old West Highland Terrier who has torn his ACL in both legs. (The vet used the term, “blown-out both knees.” Also, his kneecaps are “floating around.”) What I am wondering is: surgery or no surgery? He is less active than a young terrier, for sure; but not inactive– he injured his first leg during play and the second as a result of over-use. I am taking him to consult with a surgeon this week. In the meantime I have been trying to keep him confined. Despite his age, this has been a challenge. He’s letting me know on a daily basis that he wants to go for a walk and he has no aversion to jumping down from the sofa (accomplished one time only– to my horror). He is not overweight. If you have any advice, I would be very grateful. Thanks!


I got your message on my website, and I will continue to write more to you this evening.
Where do you live? Are you in Austin where I am, and do you see a veterinarian here in town?

Hi Deborah–

Thank you for responding! No, I don’t live in Austin, I live in California.

My little guy is 13 years old. My vet’s diagnosis (by manipulating the knee joints) is that he has “blown-out” both of his knees. After going over and over it in my mind and scouring the internet for information, I’ve decided to wait and watch. I’m concerned that putting him through a very difficult surgery like knee replacement(s) may, ultimately, be worse than his current status. I have, thus far, been restricting his activity– but he has been choosing to walk around the house. I have not allowed him to jump down from the sofa or bed. He is not panting or trembling. And, today, he has for the first time since his injury, showed interest in a toy. I ordered a doggie wheelchair for him and it is scheduled to arrive Friday (tomorrow). I think this will enable him to get out a little more and alleviate his boredom. He has led me out the front door and down the street several times while in his sling (which I use to take him out for potty), so I know he wants a (short) walk.

I would love to hear your input. I’m worried about him and I want him to be happy and healthy.

Yours,  C


I have just a short moment right now, so I’ll give you some definitive info that I assure you will help:

Don’t cry, but I really really really really don’t want you to put him in a cart. The cart won’t really help him improve, because he will use his hind legs less. He needs to use the legs in a specific program. Go to my site again, and read the homework for luxating patellas, no surgery, and the homework for torn CCL/ACL, no surgery. I have dealt successfully with 100’s of these cases. I cannot emphasize enough that you not put him in the cart. It will take him downhill, in my experience, and not toward recovery…short story. 

I know this will help, and feel free to write back once you are successful following the first few weeks of the homework.

Hi Deborah–

No wheelchair. Got it.

I went to your website and read the protocol for rehab.

One more thing: when I took my guy to the vet, I was told the only solution was surgery on both knees (or implied euthanasia). I now know that advice was not correct for us. I was also told that my dog must be in horrible pain. While I’m positive he is experiencing pain, I’m not sure it’s as horrible as my vet told me it was. I’ve been observing my dog and, as I mentioned, he’s not panting or trembling or refusing food. He IS walking with difficulty and eating less. My vet prescribed a pain reliever: Torbugesic Syrup; and an anti-inflammitory: Novox caplets. One of the two of them gave him horrible diarrhea within about 12 hours. So bad, in fact, that he was eventually passing blood. His discomfort from these drugs was worse (to my observation) than any pain he was having in his knees. We were out during a terrible rainstorm every two hours. I felt so bad for him. I stopped giving him both meds because I didn’t know which one was the culprit– though I suspect it was the Torbugesic Syrup because he had about 4 or 5 doses of that compared to only one of the Novox. I called my vet and he said it was probably the Novox and to discontinue that, but continue with the Torbugesic. I’m not willing to risk it. He has always had a tender tummy and I’m not going to put him through that again.

So, now, he is not on any pain meds. He always gets fish oil anyway and I have started giving him some of my glucosamine and condroitin supplements. I’m trying to be safe rather than sorry.

Thank you again–C


I could write better from my PC but I’m going to dictate to my phone while I wait to talk to a veterinarian who’s in a room with a client…
where in California are you?
based on what you’ve told me I think it’s a good call that you discontinued those medications.
1 of the first patellar luxation cases I had when I was independent of the surgery specialty hospital was for a Westie that belonged to a human radiologist. she also used to be a runner so she understood my program very well. also, what happened to you also happens here, that sometimes people are given the impression they have to euthanize their dog if they don’t have either 1 of the most common knee surgeries.
I have to go now, but look at my paper that says “should my dog still be in pain after ACL surgery?” you will probably find it under 1 of the pain headings in my index-


Ok, so, I keep giving you stuff to read about luxating patellas, which is the floating around part, but you should read the stuff about torn CCL/ACL no surgery I have on the site, too. The first four weeks of the homework is the same. I have had several small dogs with both issues at once, in fact, it seems that usually one is due to the other at that size and age.

My pain posts have info about standard drugs that would be good in this situation. It is possible that, depending on where you are, you could work on getting a vet on board with your conservative treatment of this issue and would prescribe some of the medications I mention.

The torn ligaments will be painful for a number of weeks. The luxating patellas sooner than later stop being painful, once the tendon and muscle either tighten with my exercise or the tendon stretches completely out.

Until you get adequate meds, you may use ice before exercises, using a cube going around the knee for 10 min. on top of the fur, before the walks so he uses the knee better and the exercises are more beneficial. The exercises are most beneficial if he is using the leg in gravity-based, land-based exercises, and he will use it best with additional help from pharmaceuticals until he is no longer lame.



Hello Again, Deborah–

Thank you so much for your helpful advice. I am using your protocol and I must say that my little guy is already showing a little improvement. Every day seems a little better. He ate his full dinner last night, he’s going both kinds of potty on his own (no sling) and he walks freely around the house (or shall I say toddles?), he even showed interest in a toy for the first time since the pain in his second leg. I think rehab is going to be the best route for him.

I will use some ice on his knees and then take him for a five minute walk today.

And to answer your question: I live in Bakersfield, California. We don’t have any holistic vets here. Not even close. Heck, we are lucky to have one natural foods grocery store! I really appreciate your help since I am navigating unfamiliar waters. I am an advocate of natural medicine and only turning to pharmaceuticals when there’s no other choice. My fear almost made me forget those things. Almost.

I’ll keep you posted on my little buddy, D. I really appreciate your help.

Sincerely, C

I’m glad the ideas are working out for you!
Also, you might measure out his regular food from before injury, reduce it by 1/4 c daily (just guessing for now), because he doesn’t need all his usual food if he is restricted, and then divide the meals into 3 daily if that works for you.
Do you mind if I use our communication on my website as a learning tool for others? I will take out your name and some of the things that are more personal and/or detract from the point…


Hi Deborah–

My dog knows more than I do because HE’S the one who’s been reducing his meal portions. I’ve been saving the leftovers for his breakfast (which he doesn’t usually have). So, yes, I think your plan will work for us!

Please use our correspondences if you think they will be helpful to others. We dog lovers should help one another as best we can to ensure our pups live long, happy lives– and all the better if we can use natural remedies as much as possible!

Sincerely, C



Changing Pain Relievers for Pepper-Torn Ligament

Changing Pain Relievers for Pepper-Torn Ligament


Dr. L prescribed 2 weeks worth of Gabapentin and wants to have a check up with her on Feb 11th. He said that it is definitely a torn cruciate but will reassess for the meniscus at her check up.

Pepper is willing to put weight on her leg without any ice with the additional pain meds, and almost doesn’t ‘cheat’ at all on her walks! So far she may only miss 3 or 4 steps by cheating now, where before we were lucky to get her to get several good strides in a walk. She’s already even starting to use it a little on her own in the house. K said that he had good results with her walks when he sat and iced her knee for 30 minutes.

Her pill regimen now is 1.5 tramadol 3x/day, and 1 gabapentin 2x/day with the rimadyl at 0.5 2x/day.

I think that is all for now!
Jan 29

to B-

That is great!
So, do the five minute walks this week, getting success at weight-bearing, and then next weekend start her on the ten minute walks.
I think we can make some headway now 🙂
What milligram dose is the Gabapentin? 100 or 300?


Its 100 mg. It’s still amazing to me the difference in her walks!

Jan 29

to B-
Good… That’s even a pretty low dose for her size, It’s just a better drug for her body chemistry, evidently, and it often works really well along with Tramadol.
I am very happy about this!

Hi Deborah,

Pepper is not getting any sleepier than normal with the added pill, but I’m not sure that I have seen much decrease in her limping. I forgot to mention that she has been out of glucosamine for about 1.5 weeks, so that may have a little effect. It finally came in the mail tonight so she will be back on track with that.

She is taking the new walk time well.


Hi B-

Overall, great info.

So, you gave one more Gabapentin along with the other pills? Twice a day or just once? Also, the Glucosamine could make a substantial difference. In the near future, maybe we can switch her to a natural anti-inflammaroty, Xyflamend, instead of the nsaid she is taking, after she is pretty stable for a while and not any additional lameness…



We are giving her the additional gabapepentin with all the same pain meds.

I would definitely like to get her on a safer antinflammitory. Do you have any experience with bromelein? B




yes, I have experience with it, and let’s talk about transitioning at my next visit. I feel it’s too soon right now because we just got to a better place, so let’s give her the stronger tools to keep getting better muscularly, and then we’ll transition her to biologically kinder interventions for longer term.

good? 🙂


sounds good! 

Pepper will need refills on everything by the end of next week. I didn’t realize that he changed her dose of the Rimadyl. He changed it to 1/2 tab per day and she was taking two 1/2 tabs per day.


Feb 24



That’s a step in downsizing, and what you need to look for is more lameness with less drugs. I realize you are now giving more Gabapentin…has there been less lameness with that? And then look to see if there is more lameness with less Rimadyl.

She won’t need the same drugs/doses “forever”, but once we get on the upside of the pain, there is no sense in removing the drugs before the rehab work is done, so I do it in increments, looking for more muscle and function production and less lameness.

I’m sure that makes sense 🙂


And, as for switching to a natural anti-inflammatory,

Remember that Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory (whereas the other Omegas are pro-inflammatory), and you also mentioned that you were going to get more of the Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM joint formula Pepper was using before you ran out. Both of those are good to implement now and for the duration of her life, as you probably know.

Like I said in the email I just wrote, the vet reducing the amount of the nsaid is a step in downsizing, and what you need to look for is more lameness with less drugs. I realize you are now giving more Gabapentin, too, than you previously were…has there been less lameness with that? And then look to see if there is more lameness with less Rimadyl. In the older dogs with torn ligament and torn meniscus, we have consistently gotten better pain relief with an nsaid, Tramadol, and Gabapentin all together in moderate doses. This always seems to work better than trying to eradicate pain with high levels of just one or even two drugs. She won’t need the same drugs/doses “forever”, but once we get on the upside of the pain, there is no sense in removing the drugs before the rehab work is done, so I do it in increments, looking for more muscle and function production and less lameness.

I often remind people that once we get to the good pain relief with the least lameness we are thoughtfully able to accomplish, then we need to stay there while the functional drills progress (so long as blood work supports that). Often then along the way less lameness is realized, less pain, because the muscles build and the joint settles down and other positive things are taking place. It is only after good, consistent success with exercises and drills that we want to play with reducing the pharmaceutical medications. Often, then, if there are no conflicts, I encourage some of the older dogs to get on Xyflamend, which I have found beneficial and have been using more and more recently in conjunction with a local vet who is well-versed in herbs and knows there are no conflicts. I have personally used the product for a couple of years now as part of an anti-inflammatory regimen for my body as well as for some joint and muscle pains.

You asked about bromelain as a natural anti-inflammatory, and I’m aware that the internet is full of testimony toward Wobenzym N, a popular supplement that contains bromelain and other protease enzymes and that it has been around for quite a while. I tried it for a bit in the 1990’s. The approach is different in Wobenzym N than Xyflamend, and maybe both would eventually be good for her, but they are also not cheap (neither one), so I usually start now with Xyflamend due to the advance of research into some of its components and because I really, really like tumeric/curcumin 🙂

My finding is that (unfortunately?) there is not any one natural remedy that has the impact on greater pain, like Pepper has and like most of my patients have, that pharmaceuticals have, and I have found that a combination of natural substances, like Xyflamend and/or Wobenzym N and Omega 3’s and Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM at the forefront, works best for long-term maintenance.

There definitely isn’t one natural compilation along with interventions from us, like massage/ice/heat/laser, that will take over in a situation like this, with torn meniscus and with her ongoing pain that we’ve had a difficult time finding the right combo of pharmaceuticals to address. I have found this out over time and through very many cases, even in thinking of allowing for every being having slightly differing biochemistry. In time, though, and with thoughtful progress, we should be able to transition to more natural aids without also putting a huge dent in your schedule for the day!

I had a client at one time with a quite elderly mid-sized dog, and he did not want to use any pharmaceutical interventions. This dog appeared quite painful and was very, very stiff from arthritis. I had him doing a regimen of massage and ice and I did laser therapy. He also used several neutraceuticals (Omega 3’s, joint formulas), and I also recommended Epsom salt baths (rinsing very well after). These interventions, along with some others, did little to quell the pain, yet the time investment was around 3 hours daily. I finally talked him into dosing the trial of Rimadyl the vet had given him, and his pet was notably substantially better by later the first day. Unfortunately for the dog, I don’t think he continued with that medication and he fell off of pursuing rehab interventions.

I won’t take time here to get into windup pain or concepts of getting on top, over the top, of substantial pain and minimizing the reactivity. I think we are on a good path with Pepper so long as she continues to show improvement. Keep me posted!


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