I’ve seen firsthand how a beloved pet’s mobility and enjoyment of life is impacted by ligament tears. As dogs age and signs of degenerative joint and ligament ‘wear and tear’ from an active life start to appear, they start doing less and have more difficulty with basic daily activities. Because dogs can’t communicate with language how they are feeling and often have high pain thresholds, we have to watch for early signs of joint and ligament issues.
Certain breeds of larger dogs, due to their increased size and weight and hereditary issues, often have increased incidents of osteoarthritis as well as ruptures and tears in knee ligaments—specifically the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) for dogs (known as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans). These breeds include Newfoundlands, Bernese mountain dogs, and Rottweilers. Normally these knee tears occur in about 5% of dogs as they age but for these breeds, it may be as high as 23%.
There is also evidencethat spayed/neutered dogs are more likely to get CCL tears, due to lowered circulating levels of sex hormones. Sex hormones are important influencers of bone and joint growth and seem to affect the CCL’s material properties, size, or both.
Signs of damage to knee ligaments will show up as reluctance to exercise, decreases in activity, stiffness on standing up, inability to jump and limping or “bunny hopping” when walking.
Consulting a veterinarian can help get a full diagnosis and treatment plan if these signs and symptoms are showing up, but there are many things we can do preventatively, too. Keeping your pet lean and active and managing their diet so they’re not overweight can help prevent these issues, as will using the right supplements.
For supplements, manganese supports healthy connective tissue; deficiency has been associated with CCL tears. Unless fed a homemade diet, many pets may not be getting enough manganese. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), vitamin C and grapeseed extract also help protect, maintain and support healthy connective tissue.
Our BiologicVET BioJOINTformula contains all these and more in order to support joint and connective tissue health. The formula also includes flax lignans which have hormone-balancing properties that can help offset imbalances due to spaying/neutering.
For osteoarthritis, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA have been shown to significantly improve discomfort, lameness, and joint severity in dogs. You can find these important omega-3s in our BioFATS omega 3-6-9 formula.
Supplement the love with BiologicVET!
Robert Dadd is a Master Herbalist (Dominion Herbal College) with a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University. His areas of research include adaptogens, probiotics, and essential fatty acids. He is currently the Product Information Supervisor for Flora Manufacturing and Distributing.