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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Peters

Has Your Dog Suffered a CCL Tear?

Canine cruciate ligament injury is a common orthopedic problem in dogs. It occurs when the cranial (anterior) or caudal (posterior) cruciate ligament, which stabilizes the stifle joint, is torn or ruptured. This can happen suddenly due to trauma, such as a hard fall or jump, or gradually due to wear and tear. If left untreated, it can lead to pain and arthritis in the affected limb.

The cranial cruciate ligament runs across the stifle joint connecting the femur and tibia bones together, forming a diagonal angle from front to back of the knee.

The posterior cruciate ligament runs diagonally backwards from behind the stifle joint, maintaining the position of the femur bone. When either of these ligaments is torn or ruptured, it can lead to instability in the knee joint resulting in pain and lameness.

Early diagnosis and treatment of canine cruciate ligament injury is key for successful management of this condition. Treatment usually involves surgical repair, along with a period of strict rest and rehabilitative exercises.

Non-surgical options such as orthotic braces are also available for mild cases where surgery is not deemed necessary. With proper care and rehabilitation, most dogs make a full recovery from cruciate ligament injuries within 6-12 months.

What Are the Signs Your Dog Has A Torn CCL?

1. Lameness: Your dog might start to show signs of limping, particularly after exercise or being active. This is because the CCL helps support the knee joint during movement and if it’s torn, it can no longer do its job as effectively.

2. Swelling: If your dog has a torn CCL, you may notice that the affected leg becomes swollen due to inflammation and fluid accumulation in the joint.

3. Pain: You may find that your pup begins to exhibit signs of pain when the leg is touched or moved around. This can range from them yelping when they are touched to them not wanting to use the leg at all.

4. Difficulty Walking/Limping: A dog with a torn CCL may have trouble walking and will often exhibit an abnormal gait, limping or holding their leg up off the ground.

The CCL tear in dogs is a serious, progressive condition which can cause considerable distress and pain to the animal if left untreated. The best way to manage the condition is to identify it as early as possible so that appropriate steps can be taken to reduce the effects of the tear.

Early diagnosis also helps ensure effective treatment and rehabilitation, minimizing the long-term consequences for both owner and pet. In some cases, traditional methods such as x-rays may not be able to detect signs of a CCL tear, meaning alternative diagnostic tests must be employed.

Being able to accurately identify a CCL tear quickly and effectively allows vets to provide early relief from pain and discomfort caused by the injury, helping dogs lead full lives again with minimal disruption or impact on their quality of life.

What Are Common Treatments for CCL Tears in Dogs?

Torn cranial cruciate ligaments (CCLs) are one of the most common orthopedic injuries in dogs. Surgery is the primary treatment for a torn CCL; however, canine rehabilitation can play an important role before and after surgery to improve healing time and recovery.

The goal of canine rehabilitation is to soften scar tissue, increase flexibility in the joint, reduce pain, and strengthen supporting muscles. Before surgery, canine rehabilitation can be used to increase the range of motion in the affected leg and decrease inflammation to decrease post-surgical recovery time.

After surgery, a rehab specialist can closely monitor healing progress with exercises that gradually increase strength.

Canine rehabilitation is essential for dogs recovering from a torn CCL as it helps prepare them for surgery, speeds up their recovery time afterwards, and reduces pain during healing. We can create an individualized treatment plan to ensure the best outcome and a speedy recovery for your pup.

It is important to find a specialist experienced with canine patients who will work closely with you and your veterinarian to come up with the best course of action for your pet. With the proper treatment plan in place, dogs can quickly recover from torn CCLs and get back to enjoying life.

How Long Does it Take Dogs To Recover from a Torn CCL?

The recovery process generally takes several weeks, so it is important for owners to be patient and understand that their pet may take longer than expected to regain full range of motion in its leg. It also depends on the different cases, the size and breed of dog, and each case is truly its own when it comes to recovery time.

It is essential for owners to stay in close contact with their veterinarian and rehab specialist during this time in order to receive regular updates on the progress of the healing process.

With proper care and attention, a dog with a torn CCL can return to full health within a few months of the surgery. With patience and support from its owner, your pup will soon be running around as good as new!

Are You Afraid Your Dog Has Suffered A Torn CCL?

If you have concerns that your dog has a torn CCL and want a plan on the next steps to take in treating this injury, make sure that you reach out to us and we can book a time to come see you! That's right, we will do the driving for you and will come to your home so you do not have to fight the traffic!

Starting the process of finding treatment for your dog is simple and with our offer of a Free Phone Consultation, we can begin to discuss your concerns that you might have about your pup and the treatment process. If you want to start that process, give us a call at (321) 319-4008.

No matter what kind of signs your dog is presenting, don’t waste any time getting in touch with your vet to explore the matter more thoroughly. And, if rehab is needed, be sure to reach out to Happy Paws Rehabilitation and Wellness right away to make your first appointment.

We look forward to helping your canine live a happy and healthy life!

-Dr. Samantha Peters

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