Understanding Canine CCL Tears: Causes, Signs, and Treatments

Understanding Canine CCL Tears: Causes, Signs, and Treatments

A vital part of a dog's hind limb, the Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) serves to stabilize the knee joint. Regrettably, dogs with CCL tears frequently experience orthopedic problems that impair their mobility and cause discomfort. In order to give their furry friends the best care possible, pet owners must have a thorough understanding of this condition.

How Do CCLs Get Torn and What Does It Mean?

Similar to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans, the CCL is essential for preserving stability when engaging in activities like playing, running, and jumping. A number of variables, such as age, lifestyle, and heredity, can contribute to CCL tears. The ligament often tears due to slow degradation over time, but can also tear as a result of abrupt movements and/or twists.

Common Symptoms and Signs

Early intervention for a CCL tear depends on identifying its symptoms. When a dog has a CCL tear, they frequently show signs of lameness, knee joint swelling, and reluctance to bear weight on the injured leg. Pet owners might also observe a shift in their dog's gait, as the afflicted leg might seem unstable or give way.

Typical Causes and Breeds at Risk for CCL Tears

An increased risk of CCL tears is attributed to specific factors. Larger breeds are more prone to this illness, including German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Labrador Retrievers, but even smaller dogs are not immune. Certain dogs are more susceptible to CCL tears due to genetic predispositions, obesity, and an active lifestyle.  

Classifying CCL Tears  

Depending on how severe the injury is, specialist grade CCL tears into several categories: 

  • Grade I:  Refers to minor stretching or partial tearing.
  • Grade II:  Joint instability is associated with a partial tear.
  • Grade III:  A complete tear is present. 
  • Grade IV:  Joint instability is present in this Grade.

Options for Treating Dogs with CCL Tears

A customized strategy is necessary to treat CCL tears. Options for treatment range from conservative methods to surgical procedures:

  • Rehabilitation: The goal of Happy Paws Rehab's specialized canine rehab programs is to build stronger surrounding muscles, increase joint stability, and improve mobility overall.
  • Bracing: Supportive braces can stabilize the injured joint, promoting healing and averting additional harm.
  • Loss of weight: Losing extra weight helps dogs with arthritis heal more quickly by lessening the strain on the injured joint.
  • Surgery: When conservative measures fail or in severe cases, surgical interventions are required. The goal of several surgical procedures, including Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO), Lateral Suture, and Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA), is to return stability to the knee joint.  

Pet owners can make educated decisions to guarantee the best possible health and well-being for their furry friends by being aware of the nuances of CCL tears and the variety of available treatment options. The experts at Happy Paws Rehab are available to assist pet owners with this process, providing knowledge and empathy for each and every four-legged friend.

Empower your pet's journey to recovery! Learn how our Canine Rehab Specialists at Happy Paws can guide your furry companion towards a pain-free life. Contact us today at (321) 319-4008 or visit  our website, HERE to schedule an appointment and explore personalized rehabilitation programs. For specialized treatments, check out our Canine Laser Therapy, Canine Manual Therapy, and Torn ACL/CCL Treatment for Dogs.