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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Dog Knees

Tracy Patterson

The articles for humans (page 32) and pets (page 38) couldn’t help but remind me of the very trying, and expensive, process of having cruciate operations done on our rottweilers many years ago. The cruciate ligaments connect the thigh bone to the shin bone, stabilizing the knee joint. A tear or ruptured cruciate ligament is extremely painful and can be immobilizing.

Well, we had not one operation on each dog, but three operations on one dog and two on the other! Looking back, one can make many judgement calls as to why this even happened in the first place, but as with everything, I’m sure there were a number of factors involved—conformation of the legs, diet (this was back before we knew the downside to dog food), and the amount of exercise when growing (too much, that is). Whatever the cause(s), we were faced with dogs in pain and decisions to make.

I’m not sure if alternative treatments were even available at that time for dogs, or if it was just that we lived in an area where the veterinarians weren’t up to speed on these treatments. Either way, surgery was the only option available, as the “do-nothing” option was not a decision we were willing to consider.

Luckily, these cruciate injuries were staggered, so we only had to look after one dog at a time. And believe me, looking after two big dogs (Shiloh was 100 pounds and Jesse was 70 pounds) required some muscle. They weren’t supposed to move around much, and needed to be helped in and out of the vehicle, and up and down stairs. The “little cone heads” were perfect patients, but their size was a challenge!

How I wish I’d known about prolotherapy (and I’ll leave you to read the articles to find out more about this treatment)—I can’t say for sure if it would have been a viable alternative, but it sure would have been nice to at least have had it as an option in the decision-making process. The good news is that we know about it now, and should our three-legged Katie require intervention at some point, I will definitely be looking into this treatment. And maybe some regenerative medicine for my husband or myself should we ever need it.