Honey says not! So do a number of other dogs I have seen who were lined up for cruciate surgery post injury, following a fall or a sharp twist whilst running or playing.
The success of conservative treatment for a cruciate injury firstly depends on how much damage has been done (full or partial tear). What I do is only part of the healing process, which is body alignment and alleviating compensation tensions and patterns. The rest depends on you! Honey's dad took on board all the advice about appropriate exercise, controlling jumping on and off furniture/the car etc and also preventing slipping by providing rugs on the ever increasing fashionable wood/laminate flooring. Exercise can also include rehabilitation exercises once pain is managed.
I always encourage the use of natural pain management, natural anti inflammatories, glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, hot and cold compress etc but this again has to be managed to the individual and may need veterinary support. NSAIDs whilst they can reduce inflammation they are not known to encourage tissue repair, although further studies are required to understand their full effects. According to Dr. Ross Hauser, “One of the most serious adverse reactions to NSAIDs, that is little appreciated, is that as a class of compounds they cause the breakdown of articular cartilage…”
“…thereby accelerating osteoarthritis, the very disease for which they are most commonly prescribed! The pathogenesis of osteoarthritis is accelerated by NSAIDs.”
Success is also increased with weight management and diet. Most of us know that carrying too much weight puts pressure on joints but excess fat also increases overall inflammation in the body, making us more prone to dis-ease. A high carbohydrate diet can also increase inflammation. Most kibble diets need to be a minimum of 30% carbohydrate to form the nuggets but most are found to be over 50% carbohydrate! If you cant feed fresh by adding 20% fresh to your kibble you can alter this ratio and reduce inflammatory markers (University of Helsinki Study, Video of Dr Hielm-Bjorkman discussing what the study is finding with Rodney Habib from Planet Paws (7 minute mark): https://www.facebook.com/rodneyhabib/videos/10155176513292028 ).
Bone broth is a great way to support an injured or sick dog. It is loaded with nutrients that can support collagen growth to speed up recovery. You can buy it ready made or make it yourself following a number of recipes that can be found online. I prefer to use ingredients from organic/grass fed sources and make my own in the slow cooker. I am a huge fan of fresh feeding and it is recognised by holistic advocates to support health, and increase recovery.
Honey after a number of regular sessions, following the guidelines above avoided surgery and is back to enjoying her normal walks and hasn't had to endure the dreaded crate rest!!
I have been around dogs all my life. My life changed when I decided to turn a passion for dogs into a career. I have never looked back except to see what the past has taught me.