What is Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy, also known as ligament reconstructive therapy, is a non-surgical alternative to help repair diseased or torn ligaments and tendons. Bones and muscles have mechanisms in place so that when they are injured they can heal themselves. Ligaments and tendons are not very good at self-healing and often require surgical intervention to repair them. Prolotherapy provides an alternative to traditional treatments by stimulating the body to heal itself. During a prolotherapy treatment, the ligament and joint are injected with substances to promote inflammation and thus trigger the ligaments to begin healing themselves and creating a stronger, more stable joint.

prolo1What conditions can be treated with Prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy can be used to help with any ligamentous or tendon injury. These include but are not limited to:

Torn cranial cruciate ligaments (torn ACL)

Medial luxating patellae

Hip Dysplasia/Elbow dysplasia

Chronic degenerative joint disease/Chronic arthritis

Chronic tendonitis

How does Prolotherapy Work?prolo3

Prolotherapy works through the injection of pro-inflammatory substances into the tendon and joint. These injections cause a massive increase in the blood supply to the affected tissues, which begins the body’s own healing process and allows for the creation of new tendons and also stimulates the remodeling of the bone and ligaments.

How long does it take?

Each prolotherapy session does require a light sedation so that the injections can be properly placed. The animal is usually admitted to the hospital for a few hours but it can be done as an outpatient procedure. The entire procedure takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes depending on the number of joints that are being injected.

Most conditions do require multiple injections spaced a few weeks apart. This allows maximum healing and can prevent animals from requiring surgery or life-long medications. We usually have people mentally commit to three to five treatments. There are some animals that respond to one injection.

Is it safe?

The most common side-effects seen with prolotherapy are pain at the injection sites and bruising. Some animals are worse for the first day or two after an injection since the injections do cause inflammation. This is short-lived and most animals begin to feel better quickly afterwards.


Prolotherapy provides a safe and effective alternative to conditions previously treated with surgery or chronic medications. While it is not the right choice for every animal, it is something that should be considered with any of the above mentioned conditions. Feel free to contact Dr. Anthony or the staff at Clayton and Churchtown Veterinary Associates for any questions.