Help! My Dog Tore Her ACL!
With the Olympic games fresh in mind, my dog is practicing Olympic fence running with the neighbor dog. This is her favorite sport and she would definitely be a gold medal contender. That is, until she came in limping one night on her hind leg. I immediately think about her knee (or stifle). In humans, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is commonly torn with athletes like soccer and football players. In dogs, this same ligament is called the cranial cruciate ligament. It tends to tear when dogs or people make sudden turns. It is the most common injury we veterinarians see in larger dogs who are limping on a hind leg.
So what now? I took x-rays of my dog’s stifle and while I cannot see the actual ligament on the x-ray, I could see swelling in that joint. I consulted with a board-certified orthopedic surgery who confirmed my suspicion and recommended surgery. What are my options? We could consider antiinflammatory medications and crate rest with the hopes that the ligament will heal with time. Unfortunately, this ligament takes months to repair and may never fully heal on its own. Furthermore, this is a very active, high energy dog. That makes surgery a better option.
She will have to rest and go through a lengthy rehabilitation process, but she will hopefully make a full recovery and be back to running the fence line in no time! If you have an active, limping dog, please consult your veterinarian and look for a cranial cruciate ligament injury. We can get your dog back to Gold Medal status! For more information call Stevenson Ranch Veterinary Center 661-799-0655.
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