Acu in Practice: Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Rupture and supportive Acupuncture

Welcome to Acu in Practice! This week, a patient of mine who had already ruptured his right cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) about a year ago, came in for a limp on the left rear limb. Unfortunately, it is very common for dogs predisposed to CCL rupture to injure both sides. This patient underwent surgical correction for the left CCL and the recovery did not go well. In most cases, my patients have done very well post-operatively, especially when acupuncture is included as part of the recovery plan. The surgeon who performed the operation is excellent and I have referred patients to them many times. However, this particular patient experienced many complications including bone infection and subsequent instability of the implanted hardware. Thus, these clients are not planning to elect surgical correction for the newly ruptured left CCL and I cannot blame them. It is a very tough situation.


While acupuncture can’t correct this structural problem, it will be a crucial to this patient’s comfort and mobility during conservative management. It will be utilized along with NSAIDS, herbs, and laser therapy to relieve pain and to give him the best chance at returning to the highest attainable level of activity. Acupuncture and herbs also help to mitigate the secondary development of arthritis that is inevitable this type of case.


Acupuncture RX:

Local – GB 34, ST 35, ST 36

Distal BL 54, GB 41, BL 60-KID 3 (and vice versa)

BL 17 – Nourish Blood

Lumbar BH – relive pain in the hind end, support low back

Forelimb support – LI 10, GB 21


He is not the only patient with this injury not to receive surgery. While it is the gold standard of care, there are a multitude of reasons why a patient may not receive the surgery. Cost is among one of the most common. In these cases, Integrative Care enhances the treatment plan by using options that are not available with Conventional medicine alone. There are several other alternative modalities that can be employed in these cases and the best step if you are interested in learning more or if your pet/patient is not a surgical candidate is to schedule a consult with an Integrative Veterinarian.



This post was created by Nell Ostermeier, DVM, CVA , FAAVA and is intended for informational use, not to replace medical advice.

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