Love These Natural Tips To Help Manage Canine Cruciate Ligament Disease

How A Holistic Approach Can Help With Canine Cruciate Ligament Disease

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) has an important role inside your dog’s hind legs. The CCL acts as a stabiliser, inside the stifle (middle joint) in the back leg. As a comparison, in humans the CCL is called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). 

Within the joint it supports shock absorption, position-sensing, and load-bearing. The CCL can rupture, either partially or completely and if damaged is called Canine Cruciate Ligament Disease.

How Can the Canine Cruciate Ligament Get Diseased?

There can be many reasons for the CCL to become damaged, including:

  • Natural ageing - degeneration as your dog gets older
  • Obesity - so being overweight, too much load bearing
  • Genetics - some dogs may be predisposed, due to their breeding

Often the damage will occur over a long period of time.

What Are The Symptoms Of Canine Cruciate Ligament Disease?

You may find your dog showing a varying range of symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty getting into the car
  • Not wanting to go for walks
  • Not wanting to walk or run very far
  • Appearing stiff when getting up and down or walking
  • Showing signs of pain
  • Lameness - for example limping
  • Clicking or popping noise
  • Swelling
  • Muscle wastage

There are other symptoms your dog may show. All these symptoms maybe as a result of another injury or illness too. So it’s vital if your dog has any signs of discomfort or ill health that you seek professional veterinary advice immediately. Then you can get a diagnosis and get the most suitable treatment options.

Can Complementary Therapies Help With Canine Cruciate Ligament Disease?

Surgery is usually recommended. According to Fitzpatrick Referrals “Non-surgical management is seldom recommended, except where the risks of a general anaesthetic or surgery are considered excessive (e.g. patients with severe heart disease, uncontrolled hormonal disorders or immune conditions, etc.)”

However, yes complementary therapies can help your dog post-surgery. This includes:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Laser Therapy
  • Magnotherapy
  • Ultrasound

Which therapy will depend on your dog and what the extent of the disease and treatment is. However, a trained complementary therapist for animals will be able to work with your vet to devise the most suitable therapeutic plan.

Is There Any Evidence For Complementary Therapies Helping Canine Cruciate Ligament Disease?

Yes! This includes:

American Veterinary Medical Association Journal - “After TPLO in CCL-deficient dogs, early physiotherapy intervention should be considered as part of the postoperative management to prevent muscle atrophy, build muscle mass and strength, and increase stifle joint flexion and extension ROMs.”

“In conclusion, the cases we have described, as well as the information mentioned above from the available literature, confirm the effectiveness and thus the need for physiotherapeutic treatment of dogs after the break of CCL” Słodki, S., Bogucka, J., (2021). Physiotherapy support for postoperative treatment of cranial cruciate ligament rupture in dogs: case report. Acta Sci. Pol. Zootechnica, 20(4), 25–32. DOI: 10.21005/asp.2021.20.4.04.

“Conclusions favour of the use of hydrotherapy as a beneficial, enjoyable and cost-effective rehabilitation tool, and as an excellent vehicle during the transition between the weak, post-operative and the fully rehabilitated state” Sairéad Wild (2017) Canine cranial cruciate ligament damage and the use of hydrotherapy as a rehabilitation tool, Veterinary Nursing Journal, 32:8, 228-234, DOI: 10.1080/17415349.2017.1322476

How Long Will My Dog Need Therapeutic Treatment?

It will depend on your dog. Your Veterinary Surgeon alongside your veterinary physiotherapist, or canine hydrotherapist will be able to advise. Some dogs may benefit from frequent therapy sessions which could then become less often, but still regular.

Can Supplements Help My Dog?

Yes the right supplement containing ingredients to help with joints and mobility will be beneficial. Of course, check your dog's diet, as it's also better to feed a diet that promotes good all round health. But even so additional supplementation maybe helpful. Ingredients to look out for are omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin.

In conclusion, complementary therapies do have an important role to play in helping manage your dog's health, even when he or she has Canine Cruciate Ligament Disease.

Your veterinary surgeon maybe able to recommend a therapist to you. But when choosing a complementary therapist, do ask them what experience they have in helping dogs with this condition. This may help you decide on whether they are the therapist that can help your dog.

Like help finding a veterinary surgeon or therapist for your animal?

Please email me at info at taranet . co. uk

Please remember that if your horse, dog or other animal is unwell. Or on any kind of medication or other supplement. Then always speak to your Veterinary Surgeon first before using any supplement or therapy. Even natural ones. To avoid any possible issues.

And do you know someone who'd find this helpful? Please share, the more we can spread awareness of the benefits of natural therapies the better! :)

Find out more about other natural animal therapies here at Taranet. Or read other articles in this Natural Pet Health Blog. Take a look at the sitemap here to explore!

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About the Author
Suzanne Harris is an equestrian and canine entrepreneurial coach and consultant to veterinarians who want to help prevent animals being affected by domestic abuse.