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Veterinarians treat more pet injuries during pandemic

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DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to stay home, giving them more time to spend with their pets.

Whether it's going for a walk or playing fetch, a lot of dogs are more active than they've ever been and that's leading to health problems.

Callie, a golden retriever from Oregon, loves being in the water.

"She'll swim for eight hours if you let her," said owner Scott Smith.

But recently she's had to take it easy because of a ligament tear.

While not uncommon in pets, vets say they're seeing more visits because of increased activity and pet owners paying closer attention during Stay at Home orders.

"The difference here is with all the pandemic going on and everything going on, suddenly people are home more," said Dr. Trent Tuttle, Veterinary Surgeon at Madison Veterinary Specialists. "So we went from a sedentary lifestyle over the winter to full activity in a very short period of time."

One by one, four legged friends are being brought to Madison Veterinary Specialists with tears, sprains and other injuries.

One injury Dr. Tuttle is seeing a lot of right now, Cranial Cruciate Ligament tears (CCL). They're similar to an ACL in humans and many times result in surgery and physical therapy.

"It can be pretty uncomfortable. And a lot of these dogs will come in non-weight-bearing, holding that leg completely up," Tuttle said.

A CCL tear is degenerative, so adding more high impact activity wearing down the ligament in a dogs knee and speeds up the process.

"There's no really predicting it, there's no way to prevent it. If it's gonna happen, unfortunately, it's just gonna happen," he added.

But there are some things we can do to slow it down.

"We know that poor body condition can play a role in this and obesity in pets can definitely play a role in this. So keeping your dog you know, active, good body condition, muscular those things can potentially help stabilize the joint," the veterinarian said.

As for Callie and her owner, Scott, being home more during the pandemic was one of the reasons they decided to get the surgery done.

"I thought I don't think it's a big problem. It's three months of kind of difficulty. You've got to have her on a leash and have this (a supportive carrier) on for supposedly eight weeks," said Smith.

He hopes Callie will be swimming again in about a month.

Madison Veterinary Specialist say you shouldn't panic if you thin your pet has a tear or sprain. Keep an eye on them and call the vet if you son't see any improvement.

Rebecca Ribley

Wake Up Wisconsin Anchor

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