Anterior/Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
What is Anterior/Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury?
The anterior or cranial cruciate ligament is one of the ligaments that supports and stabilizes the knee or stifle joint. An acute or chronic/degenerative injury to the joint may result in a partial or complete tear and thus instability of the knee.
How does my dog get Anterior/Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury?
As a result of an acute injury, usually hyperextension or internal rotation, may lead to a partial or complete tear. In chronic situations, the already weakened ligament is more prone to rupture from only the slightest injury. Degenerative causes include: aging, conformational abnormalities, lack of use.
How do I know if my dog has Anterior/Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury?
In acute ACL injuries, there is usually a traumatic or ‘athletic’ event that occurred. As a result, there is limping and non-weight bearing of the injured leg. In those cases where there is no history of trauma, the ACL damage was probably degenerative in nature. Partial tears may present as on again off again lameness for weeks to months. These are very prone to complete tears. Depending upon the degree of injury and amount of damage, whether it is an acute or chronic injury, and whether there are other knee injuries (meniscal tears), the lameness may be significant or mild. Your veterinarian will perform a number of tests to the knee and take some radiographs. These tests usually are sufficient to confirm a tear. The most common test done is to look for an “anterior drawer sign”. This test along with swelling, pain, lameness and certain radiographic evidence will confirm.
What can I do about Anterior/Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury?
In a complete tear of the ACL, the knee will remain unstable unless there is surgery performed to stabilize the knee. In smaller dogs, conservative treatment including restricted activity, pain medications, weight control, and confinement may lead to improvement by six months. In larger breeds, conservative care rarely is effective in providing improvement or comfort. Thus, surgery is usually the option of choice in larger dogs. The surgery may be performed by a skilled veterinarian or referred to a board certified surgeon. Surgical success rate is quite high and thus larger breeds should have surgery to provide the greatest level of comfort and return to normalcy.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting Anterior/Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury?
Larger breeds have a higher predilection to ACL tears while a variety of conformation abnormalities in any size while increase the likelihood. Athletic dogs are more prone, so monitor where and what is done for exercise will help. Weight control to put less stress on the knee.
Are there certain breeds that get Anterior/Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury more often?
Large breed dogs in general. Rottweilers and Labradors are over represented. Any dog in general.