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Dr Caroline
Dr Caroline, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 643
Experience:  20 yrs of dog and cat general practice, emergency, certified in acupuncture
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My 12 yr old Westie has been diagnosed with a torn cruciate

Customer Question

My 12 yr old Westie has been diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament in her right knee. She may also have patella luxation.   Surgery is recommended although I don't know the details yet. At her age, do you think she can tolerate this surgery? And which surgery? Are there any other options? She has been on an anti-inflammatory and pain med for a week - also started glucosamine chondroitin. She's improving but varies from putting some weight on it to holding it up. Thanks!
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr Caroline replied 8 years ago.


I am sorry to hear about your dog's problem. Good job limiting her exercise.

If she is incapacitated, surgery might be the best option for her. If the tear is partial and she is not a good candidate for surgery, other options are possible for return to normal function (not athlete function). If she is a very active dog, runs, runs, and runs, then surgery is your best option.


Which surgery will depend of her activity level, the surgeon's experience, their preference, presence of arhtirits, and her health.


If she is in good health, she should be good to have surgery. No way we can tell everything will be OK, but veterinarians run a battery of tests before hand to decrease the likelihood of problems during anesthesia. As for recovery, some surgical techniques will get them back on their feet faster then others like a TPLO. Other ones may leave them with more stiffness. I highly recommend physical therapy for your dog after surgery.


Make sure you discuss with the surgeon the activity level for your dog, your money concerns, to make sure you a re presented with the options that reflects your choice.


As for no surgery, the more unstable the knee, if there are some torn meniscus in there, arhtirits will set very fast and could cripple her, and she may not be able to use this leg very well. One important step in surgery is to open the knee joint and clean what is torn and floating around to decrease the amount of irritation.


If this is a partial rupture, and you choose to not go in surgery, you may try physical therapy, adequan injections (produce better joint fluid), acupuncture, continue anti inflammatories, think about stem cell therapy (costly).


Here are some links about cruciate ruptures, physical therapy:

That last one is pretty graphic.


Let me know if you have more questions, or need additional information. If you have a specific question, go ahead, I'm there for you!


If this is helpful, do not forget to select the ACCEPT button.

Thank you for your question.


Dr Caroline and 5 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX! Your info is very helpful in my decision-making. and great links. Surgeon is available in one week - so I'll have to make a decision today after I talk to the veterinarian. One more question... re: supplements. Glucosamine chondroitin -- is this specifically what she should be taking -600 mg/day - and are canine products different from human type? Any other supplements/foods that will help Fluffy stay healthy thru this and for rest of life?


I will also ask vet about the adequan injections.



Expert:  Dr Caroline replied 8 years ago.

Hi Jane,


Glad to be helpful. As for Glucosamine supplements, I would suggest Dasuquin:

This is not for very painful joints, but for maintenance in the long run. It is a veterinary product. Since it is a the wild west out there for supplement regulation, I stick to veterinary products or the ones that have the NASC label.


Make sure you keep he weight under control to decrease the amount of weight on that knee.


Also, for maintenance in the long run of the joints, you can also find a veterinarian trained in Chinese herbals and asked about herbals that would be helpful.


Supplements with perna mussels can help a little bit with mild joint pain in the long run.

Good luck and keep me posted.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Dr. Caroline.... I cannot thank you enough... and Fluffy sends a vigorous and appreciative tail wag your way :)



Expert:  Dr Caroline replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for the kind words Jane!

Good luck with Fluffy!