Veterinary Prolotherapy: Holistic Care for Cruciate Ligament Repair

Many dogs are vulnerable to knee problems, particularly active, large and aging dogs. One of the most common causes of hind leg lameness is a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament is responsible for providing stability between the movement of the tibia, femur and patella, all of which make up the knee joint. When a dog suffers a torn cruciate ligament, his or her knee becomes very unstable and moves unnaturally and often quite painfully. Although surgery may be the right option for many cruciate ligament repair cases, it is important, especially for senior dogs or dogs with health conditions that make anesthesia dangerous, to consider holistic care options such as prolotherapy.

Less Invasive Torn Cruciate Ligament Repair Options for Pets

prolotherapy in petsThere are many reasons to consider holistic care options like prolotherapy for torn cruciate ligament situations. While there are two generally successful modes of surgical repair for these problems, each one requires from three to six months of intense recovery time, depending on the extent of the knee injury. During these months, the dog will significantly favor the non-injured leg, which can actually lead to another torn ligament in the healthy leg, which can further complicate the dog’s problems. As previously mentioned, surgical cruciate ligament repair can also be very risky for older dogs and dogs with health problems that could complicate the anesthesia process.

Again, while surgery may be the best option for many younger or smaller dogs, you owe it to yourself and your dog to investigate less invasive, holistic care procedures such as prolotherapy. Prolotherapy has been used successfully to tighten up ligaments in humans with joint hyper mobility and instability for the last three decades. In our animal clinic, we inject a sclerosing agent into and around the unstable joint to thicken the ligaments and surrounding tissues. This scar tissue stabilizes the joint and provides pain relief.

Prolotherapy for a torn cruciate ligament usually involves a series of injections over the course of five or six sessions approximately 3 weeks apart. During each session, pets usually need to be sedated, but not put under anesthesia, simply to keep them calm during the injections. Dr. Simon shaves and gives a full surgical scrub to the joint to cut the risk of infection, and normally sends the patient home with antibiotics. He usually also recommends soft laser therapy to go along with the injections because it accelerates tissue regeneration, thickening, pain relief and cellular healing. Dr. Simon also recommends certain nutritional supplements the dog should take to facilitate joint health and healing: “Orthoflex” and extra vitamin C, for example. Improvement can often be noticed after the third treatment, but others will not show improvement until the fifth or sixth session.

Each cruciate ligament injury situation is different, and what might be the right option for one dog, may be the wrong one for another. For more information on the repair of torn cruciates and prolotherapy, visit and check through the archives.