January 12

Natural Healing Over Surgery

Last week I was at wit's end. There was a huge problem that surfaced after Gracie slipped while out walking. You see, we're trying to help her heal her partially torn knee ligament - a situation that has indeed improved gradually with natural solutions. But when she slipped on a snow covered Realtor sign laying on the side of the road, it set her healing back and we panicked. I actually scheduled an emergency appointment with a surgeon and tried to come to terms with the idea that surgery was her best option.

Thank goodness I came to my senses!

We're already using natural health solutions for Gracie that are at the top of my Wellness and Recovery list. These include raw diet, specific supplements for antioxidants, immune support, and tissue regeneration, as well as cold laser therapy. We also use essential oils, and  Cell Defender zeolite. It all matters. I thought it was enough, so when Gracie re-injured herself, I couldn't stand the idea that she would continue this cycle of healing and relapse. My call to the surgeon was reactive - not well thought out, and certainly not intuitive.

I researched veterinary websites that addressed surgery for Gracie's condition. According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, "Rupture of the CrCL is one of the most common reasons for hind limb lameness, pain, and subsequent knee arthritis." In addition, "Most commonly CrCLD is caused by a combination of many factors, including aging of the ligament (degeneration), obesity, poor physical condition, genetics, conformation (skeletal shape and configuration), and breed." That's when I realized we had a good chance of avoiding surgery and continuing with natural healing for our dog's knee. Why?

Gracie is only 8 - a young age in my assessment - especially because of her overall condition. Gracie is active, healthy, and athletic. Her veterinary acupuncturist was surprised that Gracie had no fatty lumps, a condition usually found in dogs her age and size.  I suspect that Gracie's injury is the result of a jump into the car - a practice we have changed since her injury. In fact, I've addressed a solution for prevention in my list below.

Natural Alternatives to Support Healing and Recovery

I switched my search from surgical information - invasive procedures that cut the bone, add metal support, adjust the position of the tibia, and add all the risks associated with major surgery - to one of investigative hopefulness. What I discovered was a few holistic people like myself - people who create the right environment and conditions for healing naturally. Immediately I relaxed into a state of intuitive bliss, knowing that non-surgical alternatives were the way to go for Gracie.

Supporting a Healthy Body

Several real concerns with healing and recovery have to be addressed, regardless of whether you choose surgery or natural healing solutions.

  1. Weight - the extra weight on a heavy dog contributes to wear and tear on all body organs, not just joints. Lose the extra weight.
  2. Condition - the healthier your dog is, the faster the recovery. Diet and supplements help support healthy regeneration of tissue.
  3. Exercise - regular walks are a must, and place the least stress on joints. Avoid jumping (into cars, onto furniture, over hurdles, and chasing frisbees).
  4. Stairs - offering a ramp or stairs for dogs to use getting into and out of the car, or on and off furniture, are very important. We had only considered the impact to Gracie's shoulder if she jumped down. Her injury came when she jumped up. Cover all possibilities and avoid the risk of injury.
  5. Inflammation - joint and tissue inflammation can come from several sources such as poor diet (or commercial diet), injury, toxins, and stress. Addressing stress, toxins, and poor nutrition can reduce or eliminate inflammation.
  6. Risk of osteoarthritis - as your dog compensates movement by shifting onto the uninjured leg, it puts more stress on other joints. The body responds by building up thicker tissues, and calcification (arthritis) which can be painful. In addition, if one leg is injured, the other leg is more likely to also become injured.

Continue reading for ways to help support or even reverse these issues.

Knee Brace For Torn CrCL in Dogs

Our first decision (after Gracie's re-injury) was to find a knee brace for dogs. With all the success we were having with Gracie's speedy recovery, we were missing mechanical support for her knee while she healed. 

Braces do not heal the knee - but neither does surgery. The body knows how to heal. We provide the circumstances and the elements needed for the best possible results.

We looked at braces that were custom made, and were designed with strength, flexibility, and durability in mind. Our investigation led us to a company in Florida. Their website is comprehensive and specific on how to measure your dog to be fitted for a knee brace. Talk to Nikki Bickmore who is compassionate and knowledgeable.

Even though we already have a list of supplements we give our dog, we've added one more to her protocol. Here's the complete list of natural alternatives we're using to support Gracie's recovery from a torn CrCL - knee ligament. They're not in order of importance as they are all important for different reasons. Many of these natural health solutions are found in my book, Heal Together.

Diet and Supplements

There's a long list I like that includes several I buy from supplement stores - turmeric, bilberry, cranberry extract. We recently added GlycoFlex III which has glucosamine, MSM, and green lipped mussels - a nice combination.

  • Raw diet - Gracie has been eating a raw food diet since she was adopted 7 years ago. Though this is not a new addition for us, it might be for you. We have found a raw diet to be the most appropriate and supportive for natural health.
  • Bone broth - this is a new addition to our list that will provide vitamins and minerals to support healthy bone and joint tissue.
  • There are 3 products I like -  Plus Relief for pain and inflammation,   Cell Defender zeolite, and ZMunity medicinal mushrooms. These three products, though designed with humans in mind, are safe to use for animals. In fact, I've been using these for many years! Ask for more information, or get them here.


Highlighted links in the lists below lead you to more information.

  • Cold laser treatment (class 4 Cold Laser) - this is a service offered by our vet and it has shown to help Gracie improve her strength and recovery over the months she has had these treatments. If I could afford the machine, I'd buy one myself. I like this one! Fortunately, the insurance we carry for Gracie covers injuries.
  • Essential oils - there are several essential oils I like to support healing and recovery, in particular, frankincense, sandalwood, helichrysum, wintergreen, copaiba, and several essential oils from  a protocol I use.
  • Energy work - Gracie receives Reiki every day. I encourage people to learn Reiki so they can do this energy work themselves. We use Reiki for people and for animals. This wonderful natural healing modality complements any therapy. . . including acupuncture.

Natural Alternatives or Surgery for Your Pet

My vet is supportive of our efforts to help Gracie heal naturally. He's progressive in offering cold laser therapy, acupuncture, and Reiki through his clinic. He also wants us to consider the possibility that Gracie may need surgery. This article is written help offer possibilities for natural healing for your pet. What's in your pet's best interest? Natural alternatives offer support without causing harm. If surgery is required, your dog will be in better health overall and promote a speedy recovery - naturally.

Consider these aspects in making your decision:

  1. Age and health of your dog. If your dog is very old, or not well, surgery may not be an option. In my opinion, surgery should be considered after natural means have been thoroughly explored, regardless of age or health.
  2. Cost. Surgery is expensive, even if it's covered by insurance. Recovery time is long, and physical therapy is often required. In addition, you'll probably want to also include natural solutions from my list above.
  3. Recovery time. It takes months to heal from surgery. It also takes months to heal naturally. However, the quality of recovery time is different without surgery. There are no wounds to heal, no anesthesia to recover from, and no invasive emotional trauma.
  4. Results. According to some forward thinking veterinarians, surgery may not be necessary. Read the Article here.

I'm happy to share my knowledge and discoveries. Contact me to schedule an appointment.


dog knee brace, natural alternatives, natural healing, torn cruciate ligament in dogs

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