Rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee is one of the most common injuries we see in dogs. This injury can lead to painful arthritis in your dog's knee if it is not treated effectively.
Plenty of dogs will 'snap' the ligament after suddenly jumping off a height or turning quickly. These dogs won't be able to stand on the injured hind leg. Cruciate ligament disease can also be a degenerative condition and older dogs may present with an intermittent lameness and a thickened knee joint.
Veterinary examination of the dog under sedation or general anaesthetic will enable diagnosis of a ruptured ACL (we feel for inappropriate movement of the knee joint). Radiographs will identify any evidence of swelling within and around the joint and any arthritic changes that may indicate progressive disease.
Surgery to stabilise the joint is the best option for treatment. Small dogs may respond to conservative treatment (rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication) but due to instability in the joint, there is a high risk that these dogs will develop arthritis and these patients must be carefully managed.
There are different surgical techniques available and we will be able to give you more information on the most suitable type for your dog.
If you think your pet might be injured please call us for advice.