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By Dr. Amber Whittle
Published: October 06, 2014

Veterinary Prolotherapy - A Non-surgical option for Cruciate Ligament Injury (ACL tear)

One of the more common causes of hind limb limping in dogs is a torn cranial cruciate ligament (also known as a torn ACL). The ACL stabilizes the knee and helps support the movement of the tibia, femur and patella. If the ACL is torn it results in an unstable knee that is often painful and can lead to arthritis.

As an alternative to surgery for an ACL injury, there is a non-invasive option called prolotherapy that can be considered. Prolotherapy has been used for a long time in humans to help treat orthopedic conditions and injuries. It has been found to also be quite helpful in our veterinary patients. Each case we see is evaluated on an individual basis and an examination is necessary to determine if prolotherapy is an appropriate option for your pet.

What is prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy for a torn ACL requires a series of injections in and around the knee joint performed about 3-4 weeks apart. The solution injected helps stabilize the joint and stimulate healing. This procedure also reduces the pain associated with the torn ACL.

Most dogs require a light, reversible sedation to undergo the procedure. In general, 3 to 4 sessions of prolotherapy are required for a positive response to be seen. Some pets may require more sessions.

We often perform acupuncture at the time of prolotherapy to aid in recovery and healing.

What to expect following prolotherapy?

Following a treatment, mild discomfort or soreness may be seen for a day or two. We advise rest and exercise restriction following a treatment to reduce the risk of further injury.

Most owners report a significant reduction in pain within the first two treatments.

Other uses for prolotherapy

Prolotherapy can also be used to help treat the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Hip Displaysia
  • Neck and back pain