A ruptured ACL is the most common knee injury in dogs. In fact, in most cases, a sudden lameness of the hind limb tends to be a ruptured cruciate until proven otherwise. A skilled veterinarian can pick up on even the most subtle clues and help narrow down the cause of discomfort.
The most common signs include:
- sudden pain in a hind leg
- swelling of the knee
- instability of the knee
- hindlimb weakness
- won’t jump up on furniture
- weary of or can’t climb stairs
How do dogs injure their ACL? The most common cause is excessive internal rotation of the tibia when the joint is partially flexed. The tibia is a long bone located in the lower leg. It is the main weight-bearing bone. Running and planting the hind limbs while the momentum of the body continues to move forward can cause an injury to the ACL.
Early detection and treatment of a ruptured ACL will heal quicker and better with less chance of debilitating arthritis in the future or tearing of the adjacent ACL.
Surgery is the most proven and consistent way to treat a ruptured ACL. Nonsurgical options include weight loss, long-term pain medications, rest, physical therapy, brace, laser therapy, and acupuncture.
Factors to identify early that may predispose your pet to an ACL injury are conformational deformities, obesity, animals over 5 years of age, immune-mediated diseases, specific breeds, and a history of a previous ACL tear.
If you notice your dog is limping or has long-term pain or mobility issues, please contact us right away.