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Rest for cruciate tears.

Species: Dog
Breed: malamute
Age: 5-8 years
Is there any unequivical, clinical evidence of a positive effect of glocosamine/chondroiten treatment for a torn acl or general benefit to joint tissue?

Sitka is a 6 year old,who tore her acl while playing with her sister. Though the vet recommended surgery, the breeder and a well known musher suggested prolonged rest as the first course of action.

Thanks, in advance.

Rick



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Rick.

Sorry to hear that Rascal has torn her ACL. This is unfortunately a very common injury.

Unfortunately in almost every case when a dog has a torn ACL surgery is necessary. Sometimes, in really small dogs or in cats we will recommend rest, but never for large dogs. This is unfortunate because the surgery tends to be very expensive.

If surgery is not done, some dogs will eventually build up enough scar tissue to be able to walk again but they almost always have lifelong lameness. Perhaps the experience the musher had before was with a dog who had a partial tear of the ACL ligament. In these cases sometimes a prolonged period of rest will help. But, if your vet is certain of the tear then rest is extremely unlikely to cure this problem.

Most of the studies on glucosamine in dogs (and people for that matter) have not shown that it is terribly effective. Most of the evidence for glucosamine use in joints is anecdotal rather than research based.

You may want to ask your vet about injections of either Adequan or Cartrophen. This is similar to glucosamine but in an injectable form and there is research to show that this medication helps with joint health.

If surgery is just not an option then you should talk to your vet about long term NSAID therapy as well.

However, unfortunately surgery is the best option.

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

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