Koa

Golden Retriever/Chow mix with right ACL tear

KOA 6-year-old golden retriever/chow mix with a tear of his Right ACL

Koa is an incredibly active, athletic 6-year-old, neutered male, 45 lb. golden-retriever / chow mix, who has always been accustomed to accompanying me on every adventure we are blessed with. Koa has been on motor boats, escalators (to his chagrin), city buses, to the tops of 14’ers, and up and down rock scrambles. He’s swum in the ocean and all the nearby reservoirs and creeks, loped along next to my mountain bike, and walked and run miles of national forest and park trails with me. Every day holds something different for Koa, Qaisuke, and I, and Koa has always been a dog that thrives on learning new ways to navigate human civilization. (He is a certified therapy dog as well.) And oh, how he loves his tennis balls. He loves to fetch– Always has, always will.

On May 8th, 2009, my friend was kind enough to take Koa out for a fetching session at the park. He did one of his flying leaps through the air after the ball and came down the wrong way. On May 11th, 2009, the vet diagnosed Koa with a 15-20% tear of his Right ACL (CCL). I got the standard conventional veterinary prognosis of “Oh, he’s gonna inevitably need thousands of dollars of surgery anyway, probably on the other knee too when that one inevitably goes out due to this one going out, and be compromised for life probably, and of course there’s the unavoidable debilitating arthritis that he will get.” It was not a happy day, nor a joyous next few weeks for that matter.

I have learned in life that there is just about always a safer, less invasive, less traumatizing, less expensive, more holistic, and ultimately superior solution to the scary worst-case-scenario recommendations of conventional medical doctors and vets, so I got on the internet, joined the Yahoo group, Conservative Management (for guardians of dogs with CCL/ACL injuries), and learned all I could about conservatively managing Koa’s injury with the strictest of strict, hopefully temporary confinement and activity restrictions, and dietary supplementation as an alternative to CCL surgery. I was won over by the common sense approach to all this, and so we began the required standard two full months of complete and total restriction– if the dog is not out in the yard doing his business, he is lying still in his crate or x-pen. No walks, no hikes, no swimming, no playing, nothing other than eating, sleeping, pooping and meditating. It was a daunting change for Koa, king of the world, but he took to it mostly very well and the distress he felt, although present, was minimal compared to my own at seeing him like this.

I will get to the point and say that during my time as a member of the yahoo.com Conservative Management newsgroup (a WONDERFUL group of people), I have heard the stories of many, many, many people and their dogs who have gone through the recovery period that a torn CCL requires. Some have had complete tears; other dogs have had partial tears, like Koa’s. However, I have never heard of any dog who recovered as quickly or as vibrantly as Koa did! So many dogs have relapsed, reinjuring themselves and needed to back up on their management regimen. Literally, the last time I saw any signs whatsoever of that fateful May 8th injury was three weeks after. Koa did his two solid months of restriction of physical activity, and then we gradually (though not as slowly as was recommended) went back to what is really, normal, everyday life for us. Koa hikes for five hours straight at elevation, he swims, he kayaks, he runs along next to the bike, he pulls the bike, he dive-bombs into the deeper parts of the creek. He has full run of the house and fenced yard. He gets on the furniture and bed. He runs up and down stairs. He even fetches – mainly in the water, and very, VERY conservatively if anywhere else. This is the one single thing I have held back on, due to the cause of the injury. I honestly don’t see myself ever being comfortable with him flying six feet into the air to catch a ball on the fly again, but that is so little skin off our backs.

And my final point! All this time, at Judy’s recommendation, Koa has been taking a double dose of System Saver, at least once (sometimes twice) a day– 2 capsules with his meal consisting of raw meat. I give System Saver credit for Koa’s flawless, vibrant, lightening fast progress back to his regular self. He is doing all the activities (which are a lot) that he used to do. System Saver is what I credit for giving me my dog back.

Adding the double dose of System Saver to his regular regimen of raw meat and supplements was the one major change I made to his daily intake around the time of injury. Koa made a better, stronger, faster recovery than any dog I have heard about that had being diagnosed with a partial tear of a CCL. I fully credit the raw diet, System Saver, and other supplements for Koa’s amazing recovery. In the beginning, I feared that Koa would never be the dog he had been before. I worried about always being on egg shells myself should he break into a run. Not so. I am quite confident that he is strong and very close to 100%. There will always be the risk of re-injury, sure, but watching a recovery like Koa’s reiterated for me that for every relapse, there is the recovery, and this recovery was truly magical. It just goes to show how important maintaining the immune system and the whole body is to the recovery of a targeted area of the body.

I would highly recommend System Saver for both the recovery of torn CCL injuries and for chronic osteoarthritis as a result of hip dysplasia (in my other dog, Qaisuke’s case). You would never guess that either of my dogs ever had any injury or affliction. They are both 6 years old, one with a torn CCL, and one with hip dysplasia/arthritis, with the athletic capacity of dogs half their age. This is one supplement that I will continue to use for the duration of their entire lives.

Thank you, ~Norell Leung