ACL (CCL) Injuries & Surgeries in Dogs

ACL injuries are common in athletes, but because of how your dog’s leg is built, they also happen a lot to dogs. Today, our Memphis vets talk about the signs of ACL injuries in dogs and the surgeries that can be done to treat these common knee injuries.

What is the ACL or CCL?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a thin band of tissue in the middle of our knees. This connective tissue in dogs is called the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), and it links the tibia (the bone below the knee) to the femur (the bone above the knee).

Emergency vets in Memphis who do ACL surgery on dogs. Because the dog’s knee is always bent when it stands, the CCL is always bearing weight.

Differences Between ACL & CCL Injuries

ACL injuries happen to people, but they happen a lot to athletes. Most of the time, these injuries occur when someone does something sudden, like jump or change direction.

Most CCL injuries in dogs happen slowly, getting worse as the dog moves around until a tear occurs.

Symptoms of ACL Injuries in Dogs

Most of the time, these are the signs of a CCL injury:

  • Stiffness (typically most noticeable after rest, following exercise).
  • Difficulty rising and jumping.
  • Hind leg lameness and limping.

If you keep using a mildly injured CCL, the injury will get worse, and the symptoms will also worsen.

When a dog has one torn CCL, it tends to favor the leg that isn’t hurt when it’s active. This often causes the other knee to get hurt. About 60% of dogs with one CCL injury will hurt the other knee quickly.

Treating ACL Injuries in Dogs

If your dog has been diagnosed with a torn CCL, you can treat it in several ways, from knee braces to surgery. Your vet will look at your dog’s age, size, and weight, as well as their energy level and lifestyle, to figure out the best way to treat your dog’s CCL injury.

Read More: ACL in Dogs

Recovery from ACL Surgery

Every dog is different, and they don’t know all heal at the same rate. Follow what your vet tells you to do, and don’t make your dog do exercises if they don’t want to. It takes time to heal after surgery on the ACL. Expect it to take 16 weeks or longer for your dog to recover and return to normal fully.