acl injury in dogs

mollydog1February 10, 2008

My 9 year old, slightly overweight Australian Shepard was diagnosed with a partial tear after starting agility with my 9 year old son just for fun. She jumped off the top of an a-frame and started limping that day. The vet recommended only light 5 min walks and adequan shots 2x week for four weeks. She didn't really improve so she is on her 2nd series of adequan shots. The said the surgery was a possibility but unfortunately there is no way I can afford it. Ive been reading that some people have used MSM, deramax, homeopathic arnica and cortisone shots. I was wondering if anyone could tell something about those. I would appreciate any help.

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I wouldn't do the cortisone because of all of the negative side effects with steroids, if it can be avoided.

MSM hasn't been clinically proven to help, but many people swear by it.

My Ana has terrible rear leg deformities, and I gave her adequan. She didn't improve until the 6th shot, and only a little bit. Of course she had her problem for 4 years before I started the shots. Maybe adequan does better if started immediately. My vet told me that if it didn't help after the first series that it wouldn't be worth continuing, so Ana isn't on it any more.

NSAIDs such as deramax, rimadyl, piroxicam, and others all have similar side effects in some dogs such as GI upset, gastric ulceration (rare but life threatening problem), and possible kidney damage. However monitoring for these problems with bloodwork prior to starting and on a regular basis afterwards may help see a potential problem before it gets serious. My own K'Ehleyr is on rimadyl and has been for year due to back problems. I get her labwork done every 6 months and she has been fine.

Another medication which is not an anti-inflammatory but is a pain reducer is Tramadol. It is a synthetic opioid and is not associated with any negative side effects except for sedation. This usually wears off after a couple of weeks of being on the medication. It works really well with an NSAID. Tramadol has a very wide margin of safety, so the dose can be increased without risk except for sedation. K'Ehleyr is on this along with the other meds.

Some other things that may help are Duralactin, which is a milk protein concentrate that has anti-inflammatory effects. I have Ana and K'Ehleyr both on it and it does seem to help them both. There are no known negative side effects with this supplement.

Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon oil are associated with decreased joint pain in people. My girls are on salmon oil daily too.

Other treatments that may be beneficial are acupuncture, swimming, and physical therapy if these are available in your area.

The absolute most important thing for your dog is losing weight. Every single moment that she is on her feet and overweight, she is putting increased stress on her knee. She will feel a whole lot better, and reduce the risk of tearing the other ACL, if she loses weight.

Surgery can be really expensive. You may want to try looking around at different vets for the surgery though. The hospital where I am applying does the ACL surgery for a heck of a lot less money than the vet school or specialty hospital where many patients are referred. They find this hospital and are happy that they can do that for their dog.

Hope this helps a bit. Good luck with your dog.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 7:48PM
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Our Brittany had a partial tear about 2 years ago. We did a few acupuncture treatment a our vet ordered a special brace that to support the muscles. We had to keep him calm for a while. No easy task since he is a bundle of energy. He is as good as new.
I found the old post with pictures of Spot in the brace. The brace was about $220. I think with acupuncture and brace we spend just under $500. Cheaper than surgery.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brace information

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:24PM
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We had a dog that had a partial tear. We decided not to do surgery because of his age. I think the key to his healing was keeping him immobile as much as possible (in his crate). He got some shots, but really I think the restricted movement was the biggest key to his healing.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 10:55PM
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My dog Davey had a complete tear last year when he got out of the bath he shook and his left hind leg slipped out from under him. He did not yelp, just slightly limped away. I thought that he just pulled a muscle. That night he was in terrible pain, yelping everytime he moved, panting. I put him on aspirin and on rest for 4 weeks. He got much better but never fully healed. For peace of mind I made a vet appointment and was informed that Davey had ruptured his ACL and required surgery. I got a quote of $2500 and was sent on my way. I did a lot of research over the next week and did not think I could bring myself to put him through what sought to be a terrible, painful and long healing process surgery, WHICH did not guarantee that it would not happen again.

With a little more research I found WoundWear Inc. After speaking with Dr. Spatt I finally felt like we could get through this. He gave me positive information, incredible support all at which would not cost me an arm and a leg. Daveys brace was sent out immediately, it fit him perfect and I saw immediate results! 4 months later Davey could be a dog again, he was able to play with the other dogs, go swimming and go for walks. The joint was stablizing very well, all with the help of the A-Trace Dynamic Brace.

Unfortunately, Davey injured the other hind leg this summer. I immediately contacted Dr. Spatt who again was extremely supportive and was able to get the right leg brace sent out right away. Davey is now wearing a bi-lateral A-Trace Dynamic Brace and is doing very well. It has only been a week but already I am seeing improvements.

I know Davey is a very lucky dog to even be alive but because of Woundwear, he will be able to live a longer, happy life. I highly recommend this product for any dog with ACL injuries!

-Kelly B.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 3:46PM
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I hope your dog has improved and is walking again without pain.

My big old dog tore her ACL CCL Crucial Ligament torn tendon in her back knee. Too old for surgery.

I also read many many forums of those whose dogs had ACL CCL tendon surgery and it went badly, a nightmare.

Dogs that are under 2 years old, too young as bones and tendons are not fully mature until 2 years old. Dogs under 2 years are suppose to wear a Knee Brace and not consider knee joint tendon surgery until after 2 years old.

I have been reading about Dog Knee Braces. Who has tried a Stifle Brace?
Who did you buy it from and what was your experience?

When to use a Brace and or Surgery articles... has an article
Questioning Canine Cruciate Surgery

Thanks anyone for sharing your experience with your dog wearing a Dog Stifle Knee Brace.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 1:08PM
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