Adequan for Cruciate Ligament Tears – Stevie Girl

Adequan for Dogs with Cruciate Ligament DamageMy precious little rescue beagle, Stevie Girl, came to us when she was approximately one year old. We were lucky enough to have received her via the local animal shelter. The shelter did not have any facts regarding her previous life prior to arriving to the shelter; they did not even know her former name. I called her Stevie Girl after a beloved brother who had passed away many years prior. She seemed to have that same mischievous, loving twinkle in her eyes and she was very gentle and calm. I fell in love with her immediately and the love has only deepened and widened as the years have passed. She is now seven years old.

We have gone through so much with Stevie; not knowing the Houdini aspect of the beagle, she had dug her way under a fence and broke free one day, shortly after we had gotten her. She was struck by a car and had fractured her pelvic bone. The vets we brought her to thought crating her in lieu of surgery was the best option at that point, as she was young enough to repair well on her own. So she was crated for approximately four months and recovered well. That was a terrifying incident for our family; knowing full well that she easily could have been killed and removed from our lives, we have kept a close vigilance ever since.

Adequan for Dog Knee InjuriesStevie Girl very quickly became the centerpiece of our lives. We structured our lives and schedules around her needs. She loved long walks, especially to places where she had not been before. Always curious; always brave and up to whatever the task was, she taught us a great deal. Her unusually calm nature was always accompanied by tons of love.

The following year, when we were living in Los Angeles (which is where Stevie came from), we used to take her up to Griffith Park for her long walks. A couple of days after one walk, in the summer, she developed what appeared to be a cyst on her hindquarter. We took her to the vet and she was treated and released – about three times, as it kept reappearing. Finally, we took her back to the vet hospital that had suggested the crating for the pelvic fracture and a couple of x-rays later, it was discovered Stevie had a fox tail in her hindquarter.. We didn’t even know what a fox tail was or what damage it could do until that time. So she had her first surgery with us, to remove the fox tail. Another narrow escape, seeing that the fox tail could have traveled into her lungs and/or heart and killed her!

So here comes the knee injury story, about two years later. We noticed that Stevie was limping at night a lot. Quickly taking her to the vet, x-rays were taken and it was discovered that she had torn her ACL in her knee. The tear was so bad that she needed surgery as soon as possible. About a month later, she had the surgery; I had to max out a credit card to pay for it: $5,000! Yet I could not bear to see my Stevie Girl in pain and limping!! The surgery ended up being successful although she still had to be crated again; this time for about five months. That was extremely difficult; very painful.

Dog Cruciate Ligament InjuriesThat surgery occurred in May 2010. At the time of the surgery, the vet that did the surgery told us that the likelihood of Stevie blowing out her other leg (back leg; another ACL) was high, simply due to the fact that had incurred this injury. That did indeed happen and she is currently in the midst of an alternative treatment for the torn ACL, due basically to our inability to afford another $5,000 surgery at this time. We are hoping to see improvement and hoping, likely against all odds, that she will not require an additional surgery.

The treatment is a once a week injection of a medication called Adequan and it is used primarily for osteoporosis in dogs and horses. Our vet told us it will create fluid between the joints and therefore, not allow the bones to rub against each other. Normally, it is administered twice a week for one month but our vet said that she has seen better results for once a week treatments over two months, so we are deferring to her expertise. She also stated that it is less traumatic and painful for the patient to receive the injections weekly, instead of every four days or so. I liked that a lot; the less pain my precious little girl in is, the better.

Adequan Injections for CCL InjurySo this treatment is affordable; the cost of each injection goes according to the pet’s weight and little Stevie Girl is approximately 40 lbs., so she is really not so little I suppose and her injection costs about $45 each. The total will be something around $400 total which is a huge difference from $5,000!

It has been two and a half weeks and I actually do see improvement although we started putting her on pain meds as well. She takes Metacam and Tramadol. I just do not want her to have to be on pain medication for the rest of her life; however, if she stops limping and looking/feeling like she is in pain, I will do it. It will take another six weeks to see if this is truly going to work. I hope and pray that it does; otherwise, surgery is inevitable and I will have to start looking into finding sponsors to assist with paying for her surgery as I will just never have that large amount of money to do it alone.

Hopefully, hearing about Adequan will help other dog parents with their dogs. Certainly, any injury severe enough to require surgery will ultimately cause arthritis in a dog. It is a limited treatment; not ongoing and not too expensive. My hope is that someone reads this story when their dog is barely beginning to show pain and the repairing can begin earlier and be more effective for their dog. I do love my Stevie Girl in a very unique way; I believe she was meant to be with me and I with her, but I love all dogs in general. Best wishes and kindest regards to all and their dogs!

16 thoughts on “Adequan for Cruciate Ligament Tears – Stevie Girl

  1. So earlier this year my 8 year old lab Sophy was diagnosed with a partial ACL tear in her other leg and I just refused to put her through the TPLO surgery again. So I curtailed her activity and also started her on Adequan. But I also changed her diet. I took her off all processed food and started making home cooked meals chick full of Omega 3s. I am not sure if it was the combination of Adequan, restricted activity and change in diet but I am happy say she has not limped in 7 months.

    My other dog Chester also had TPLO surgery and has never been right since. So I put him on the Adequan and changed his diet and he is doing orders of magnitude better.

    So I am with you, Adequan is relatively inexpensive compared to surgery so it may be a good option, especially for dogs with arthritis post surgery.

    1. My dog had TPLO surgery on left hand leg. Very successful. At age ten arthritis set in and we began Adequan twice a week for four weeks then twice a month every month for the last 2 years. HUGE improvement in range of motion. Later we added Tramadol and Meloxicam. At age 11 her right hand ACL tore. Keeping all other medications stable I increased Adequat to weekly. While her activities are limited to slow 30 min walks and no more dog park she’s vibrant and doing well. I do the Adequan injections myself. Sub-Q and not in the muscle. This dramatically decreases the 40 dollar per shot by the vet tech. I am unable to do intramuscular BUT even Sub-Q what a difference. I’ve since added Glucosamine and Fish oil supplements. I’ve not noticed advanced improvement but that does not mean their has not been improvement for my pet (she doesn’t speak English). TPLO at her age is risky and the Vet/vets always recommend this. BUT the surgery is invasive. And the results are not only contingent on skill of a BOARD CERTIFIED SURGEON but the at home rehab for 3 to six months to include passive range of motion, slow incline, strengthening. If u can afford a paid rehab center go for it! BUT these methods thus far have been highly effective for my dog.

  2. I’d be very interested to hear an update on how Stevie Girl did on the Adequan and pain meds, and whether you’ve been continuing treatments.

    Just a point of clarification: Adequan is designed to treat osteoarthritis (rather than osteoporosis).

    Since arthritis is a major problem after cruciate ligament tears, regardless of whether you do surgery or not, I think it’s a good idea to use Adequan regardless of whether it helps the ligament, as I believe it’s effective at helping prevent and help arthritis. But I’m very interested whether it seems to be actually helpful for the ligament.

    My vet told me that he had a client who couldn’t afford surgery for his dog’s torn ACL, and just did Adequan (not intended to treat the ligament, just to help prevent arthritis) and the dog recovered quite well and also quite quickly–which makes me wonder if Adequan actually did help the ligament somehow. The physiology is so complicated; I wish I understood better how it works.

    I hope Stevie Girl is doing well!

  3. My dog Teddy blew her ACL about 4 years ago. we opted not to do the surgery and put her on Synovi 3 supplements and had a serious of 8 Adequen shots over 4 weeks and gave Deramaxx as needed, which was not that often.
    She is now 15 1/2 years old and feeling the arthritis which has set in from this injury. In all I would say that she has had a pretty good 4 years without the surgery.
    Now she is having I-therm heat therapy along with laser twice a week and again we started the 4 weeks of Adequen. Our old vet did not tell us to keep up the Adequen every 60 days I wish he had. She is also on Deramaxx daily and Tremadol as needed. On good days we try to walk her up the block, but mostly she putters around in the back yard.
    She is doing OK for a 15 1/2 year old dog. She is still very alert and responds to all our commands and does her business outside. Surgery is not the only option and even with surgery arthritis will still set in. There are definately many options for an ACL problem.

    1. Keep up the Adequan for life.
      Initially 2x per week then either 2x per month or once a week with ACL tear (barring no side effects) the impact will cease to exist a month or two after stopping injections.

      1. My dog tore her CCL 9 weeks ago. We are doing conservative management. She finished her 8 injections of Adequan. My vet recommended. 6-8 weeks for the follow-up injections. My friend suggested once a month. I am concerned about the preservative used in Adequan for dogs. Does anyone knows what type of preservative is used and the possible side-effects? How can I tell what’s the most effective interval for the injection without giving her so much preservatives?


  4. I have a sweetheart pit bull, Stella who, last month, tore her cruciate. My vet said he was not convinced she needed surgery, despite what a radiologist said. I am glad I trusted him!

    I initially had her on Tremadol and an anti-inflammatory. Then I switched to a holistic vet who started her on Adequan. She gets it every 72 hours right now. Her limp is almost gone and she is not showing any signs of a problem

    I also have her on some Chinese herbs and a natural pain killer. After reading the other comments I am strongly considering making her food. Though so far she is doing great while on her usual Taste of the Wild food.

    If she were a young pup I would have gone straight to surgery but I know she is at least 10 years old and I would rather not put her through the surgery and the recovery.

    Thank you for this page ! Glad to have found your story and the comments.

  5. I appreciate these comments. My Sheltie–Littleman has a blown ACL and degenerative arthritis in the knee and some onset in the hip on that side. I have an appt to take him to a veterinary orthopedic on the 28th. However, after reading about the restrictions and the likely hood that the other knee would blow out in 12-18 months–I’m questioning which is the best choice. I wanted to find out about the Adequan and your posts have helped me greatly. Thank you

  6. I have four labs a family
    Both boys Simba and Zed needed TPLO surgery on both legs so yes 10,000 $ each puppy

    Then their mother got the ACL rupture n she would not get the surgery it was a seen at the vet and we were asked to leave

    My own vet told my Adequan and crating for 6 weeks will do it . It worked both times cuz she too ruptured both ACL one after the other

    Now the girl Cleo has a partial tear of ACL and we are doing conservative management

    I hope and pray she does not need surgery

  7. Adequate is for arthritis and does work – It will NOT HEAL A CRUCIATE TEAR. It does
    address pain. If your dog is under 30 pounds it is said that they can heal with very
    conservative treatment, appropriate supplements: glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM,
    hyaluronic acid, (basically a GOOD joint supplement – for the REST OF THEIR LIFE DAILY – icing at onset for minimum of 7 days, NO RUNNING OR JUMPING OR TWISTING OR TURNING, ABSOLUTELY NO EXPLOSIVE ACTIVITY WHATSOEVER AND STRICT REST FOR AT LEAST 8 WEEKS.
    Then it is up to fate weather they heal or not. Dogs over 30 pounds need a TPLO surgery
    and 5% may heal some with scar tissue build up over 6 months, however they will not
    have the range of motion they did prior to surgery – Large dogs need surgery!

  8. I respectfully disagree that large dogs must have surgery. It’s been 4 years since I last commented–at that time I was doing conservative treatment with my 105 pound Great Pyrenees, who had a complete tear. Treatment consisted of strict exercise restriction and an “A-trac” brace to stabilize the joint and reduce stress to the opposite knee by reducing his off-loading of his weight from the injured knee to the other side. We had a couple set backs when he did too much too soon, so went back to restrictions again. Since then he has been completely functional. Long walks, running, going to the beach, etc. I am a dog walker and he’s out all day with me, no problem. There is very little research on whether dogs really need surgery. This is an excellent review of the known evidence:

  9. Our 2 1\2 year Rottweiler has a CCL injury. The orthopedic doctor recommended surgery. The more I’ve read about it the less inclined I am to out her through it. We’re considering a more conservative approach with Adequan injections and a Posh brace.

  10. Get a second opinion from a WELL RESPECTED VET ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON
    Your dog is young, it is a VERY complicated issue – it is probably the best way to go
    OR RUN.

  11. There are two things not being mentioned often here. First, the best thing I have found for injuries to joints and ligaments is Omega-3 fatty acids. Krill oil is the best source with the highest concentration, and extremely affordable. Purdue conducted in-vitro studies that show O3FA’s improve ligament healing by orders of magnitude, as well as the rebuilding of any tissue that is keratin-based.
    Secondly, your chances of avoiding surgery are much higher if you restrict your dog’s activity for at least eight weeks, then gradually increase activity over the course of another 12 weeks. That means for the first eight weeks, no running, no jumping, no stairs. Keep your dog confined to a kennel or an exercise pen(for a larger dog). Think the minimum sized kennel for your dog, then multiply by three. Too large a an enclosure won’t keep your dog from running. But too small will lead to muscle atrophy, stiffening of the joints, and possibly cause the ligament to shorten as it heals, which could increase chances of re-injury. Also walk your dog on a lead, not a long steady clip, but the leisurely walk where your dog can meander slowly about, sniff around and do her business.
    After eight weeks, gradually increase your dog’s activity by gradually increasing the time of walks and gradually decreasing time in their enclosure. Do not allow full-speed running or jumping for at least 12 weeks, and after your vet has done a re-evaluation.

    If you follow these steps for a partial tear(complete tear’s gonna need surgery, sorry), your dog has at least a 50 percent chance of recovering without surgery.

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