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I Think My Dog Has a Cruciate Ligament Knee Tear or Rupture. What Should I Do?

I Think My Dog Has a Cruciate Ligament Knee Tear or Rupture. What Should I Do?

Like humans, knee injuries are a very common injury type for a dog.

The early signs that your dog might have a cruciate knee injury include are limping, bunny hopping, having difficulty standing up or can not weight bear. If you think your dog has a cruciate ligament injury, you should firstly take your dog to your vet to be properly examined, assessed and diagnosed. 

Your vet will most likely take an X-ray to determine if it is a cruciate ligament injury. The X-ray will show the extent of the damage and severity of the injury. This, in turn, informs the treatment options available for your dog

There are two main types of cruciate ligament injuries in dogs:

  1. Cranial cruciate ligament rupture
  2. Partial cranial cruciate ligament tear

Depending on the severity of your dog's cruciate knee injury, you will have different treatment options available.

Surgery is a common route, especially for a complete cranial cruciate ligament rupture, as it has such a good and high success rate for cruciate ligaments. The success rate is about 85-90%. The surgery is often known as TPLO surgery. You can read more about cruciate surgery here: https://zoomadog.co.uk/collections/what-is-cruciate-ligament-knee

However, surgery is not always a possible option for your dog. Perhaps your dog is too old, has a secondary medical condition or you would prefer them not to have surgery. Many dog owners opt for the non-surgical route, or the ‘conservative management’ option. This is best for a particle ligament tear not a complete rupture.

Conservative management will include: rest, restricted activity, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and wearing a brace can be recommended for less severe cases or for dogs that are not good surgical candidates. Wearing a dog brace for the ACL might be recommended, depending on the severity of the injury. 

A brace can also be a cruciate ligament alternative to surgery for dogs where surgery isn’t recommended or possible. Braces stabilise the knee joint in place and stop excessive movement (sliding) between the femur and tibia. They also reduce lateral movement and rotation of the knee, which gives the cruciate a chance to heal. Please note that if there’s a fully ruptured cruciate ligament in your dog’s knee, the ligament won’t repair, even if your dog’s wearing a brace.

Read more about Cruciate Knee Ligament injuries here - Causes, Prevention and Treatments https://zoomadog.co.uk/collections/what-is-cruciate-ligament-knee

Find Cruciate Ligament Knee Braces here https://zoomadog.co.uk/collections/dog-cruciate-knee-braces

Previous article Cara is a 14 year old German Shepherd. She regularly sees the vet and has rear knuckling linked to the typical GSD weak hips / neuropathy and some osteoarthritis. What would you recommend?
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