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Cruciate Ligament Injury in Dogs

A cruciate ligament injury is a type of problem takes place in the knee-joint area. To understand this, we first look into the anatomy of the knee. In order for the knee to work as a hinged joint, it is attached to other connecting bones in order to aid movement – therefore it joins at the ‘femur‘ and ‘tibia‘. Due to the crossing over of one overlapping bone over the other, it is known as ‘cruciate ligaments’. The one that overlaps in the front, is called the ‘anterior cruciate ligament‘, and the other one that intersects from the behind, is known as the ‘posterior cruciate ligament‘. The most common bone that experiences fractures, is the anterior cruciate ligament, and finds it highly difficult to support weight of the body, once it is broken or torn.

Breeds at Risk for Cruciate Ligament Injury

All dogs stand a chance at having a fracture at the knee, if certain factors aren’t taken into consideration, which you will find out in a bit. The dog breeds that are at risk in having this injury more, are.

  • Rottweilers
  • West highland white terrier
  • Golden Labrador retrievers
  • Mastiffs
  • Newfoundlands
  • Boxers

Causes of a Cruciate Ligament Injury

The causes of this injury in dogs, whether major or minor can come about due to the following problems.

  • When dogs are hyperactive, and engage in jumping too high in order to catch a thrown ball / Frisbee, he / she is likely to experience this injury.
  • Dogs that sport a pair of long legs, are likely to have this problem as they grow older.
  • Dogs that have been neutered in the past, surprisingly are at a higher risk at experiencing this injury.
  • Large breeds, due to their immense load of weight, can affect their knee joints, as opposed to those who are small in stature.
  • Dog obesity, is a major role player when it comes to knee injuries, due to the tension caused on the knees, to balance more than it can handle. It is important to practice good dog health habits with regard to his / her diet.
  • Being attacked by other dogs.
  • If a dog experiences a ligament that’s been injured in the past, it can also pose the second knee joint at risk of being injured as well.
  • Dog leg injuries can happen when he / she has met with an accident.

Symptoms of a Cruciate Ligament Injury

The symptoms can be noticeable if you pay close attention to the behavior of your dog, and get the help he / she needs.

  • Not able to exercise.
  • Limping
  • Feels immense pain, and starts whining when the knee joint is moved.
  • His / her injured leg is kept away from the body while sitting, so as not to apply any pressure on the ruptured knee.
  • Knee starts to show signs of swelling.
  • You’ll be able to hear a snapping sound when he / she walks, signaling that there is a fracture.

Treatment Options

There are certain treatment methods that one can try out, in order to correct the problem that a dog is facing due to this injury. These are your options.

MedicationAnti-inflammatory medication is given to dogs who experience minor tears in the cruciate ligament portion. Dogs cannot bound around like they used to, and owners will have trouble in keeping them still and resting during this time.

Weight Loss ProgramDogs are put through a weight loss program, where he / she has to go on a healthy dog diet, that will help them keep extra weight off their injured knee. This will help them cope during the healing time, as well as avoid future injuries. Diet supplements are provided that include glucosamine chondroitin.

SurgeryThere are certain surgical methods that are performed on a dog, when injuries are way too complicated and severe to be treated with medication. The operation is known as ‘tibial plateau leveling osteotomy‘ (TPLO), and takes about 6 weeks of recovery time for the injured dog. There’s nothing to worry about when this method of surgery is put forth to you. The recovery will show positive signs of your dog going back to his / her usual self, with no occurrences of any dog illnesses as an aftereffect of the injury.

A cruciate ligament injury shouldn’t be taken lightly, and requires one to take immediate action once the symptoms are spotted. If your dog is obese, please remember that in dog care, you need to maintain the health and fitness of your pet first, and not let him / her overeat.

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