Sally, my chocolate Labrador Retriever, has been a competitive dock diver since she was 7 months old. Through the years of competition, Sally earned the following DockDogs® titles: Master in Big Air, Cadet in Extreme Vertical, Turbo in Speed Retrieve and Warrior in Iron Dog.
By 2014, Sally had competed in two National Championships (2009, 2010). She also qualified for the 2011 and 2013 National Championships. By the time the 2014 season around rolled around, Sally was at the top of her game, setting new personal bests. Unfortunately, at the 2nd event of the season, she came up out of the pool lame on her right hind leg. Sally was referred to Dr. Franklin.
Dr. Franklin performed ultrasounds, an MRI, and after a thorough orthopedic and neurologic diagnostic evaluation, it was determined that she had a herniated intervertebral disc in her lower back. Of course, the first thought to me was “How can we fix this?”. Dr. Franklin discussed surgical treatment and non-surgical treatment options and recommended we treat Sally with a series of epidural corticosteroid injections and rehabilitation.
When I heard this, I prepared myself for the fact that she would never compete again. But that was not to be the case. Although I wanted Sally to compete, I knew my first priority was to make sure she did no further damage to her leg, whatever the injury. I pulled Sally from all competitions for the rest of the season so I could focus 100% on her healing and rehabilitation. There was more rehab, more rest and a second look at her competitive plan of action. Dr. Franklin assured me that she would be able to compete again.
Sally had always had great “pop” on the dock. That means she would launch off the dock up at an angle like an airplane taking off. Dr. Franklin advised that she might not be able to pop any longer, but that she could very well still jump “flat” or straight out. So instead of focusing on “popping” Big Air jumps and Extreme Vertical jumps, we began to focus on flatter Big Air jumps and Speed Retrieve.
Disc disease or injury never stopped her. She went on to earn invitations and compete in the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 World Championships. Her crowning glory was at the 2016 World Championship, when at 10 years old, she came in 6th place in her division. You would never have known she had experienced any orthopedic problems at all.
Sally retired from dock diving last year at the 2018 World Championship due to an illness not related in any way to her disc disease. She is now 13 years old, and if it weren’t for this illness, she would still be competing, as after Dr. Franklin’s course of action, she is orthopedically quite sound.
I will forever be grateful to Dr. Franklin for treating my girl, Sally, in a non-surgical manner so she could continue in the sport she loves so much.
When we met with Dr. Franklin regarding Dixie's injury to her right elbow, I doubted that she would be able to return to her active and athletic lifestyle. But Dr. Franklin and his team gave us reason to be optimistic that she could return to a great hunting dog and family pet. Dr. Franklin gave us extensive instructions on how to care for her after the surgery and we followed them to the letter.
I'm proud to report that she has had 2 very active hunting seasons. She hunts about 30 days per season and has retrieved hundreds of ducks. In addition, she had brought back at least 2,000 training dummies, countless golf balls while walking on the course, is an excellent companion in the fishing boat, can hike for miles, and makes a pretty good
dog at the office!
Dixie is family. We take her everywhere. Thanks to your efforts, she has enjoyed a robust life. We are grateful for the work you did on our beloved friend.
Price & Meg Hightower
In May 2015, Tchoup, my 4 year-old golden retriever, began exhibiting an occasional limp. We went to several local veterinary surgeons who diagnosed a CCL tear and advised surgery, and TPLO to be exact. Being only 4 and an active competitive agility dog, I was hesitant to pursue a TPLO at that time. When I explored alternative treatment options it was recommended that I consult with Dr. Franklin. I was impressed by Dr. Franklin and his thorough approach to examining Tchoup and outlining our options. Ultimately an arthroscopy performed by Dr. Franklin revealed that Tchoup did not have a CCL tear, but rather an isolated meniscal tear, which he treated arthroscopically. After completing physical rehabilitation, we returned to competing in agility where Tchoup made the BDA breed power 10 list for his height. I am so thankful that Dr. Franklin was able to offer PRP and arthroscopy.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Note that Tchoup’s care was published in a journal article written by Dr. Franklin, the purpose of which was to emphasize that not all dogs with knee injuries have a CCL tear and that alternative explanations for lameness and treatment should be considered. You can find that article here.