In a dog, the cruciate ligament is a fundamental part of a dogs knee and as a dog owner, the likelihood is that your dog will be affected from this injury one day.
Whilst its not life threating, if not treated, your dog will start losing muscles and be in pain.
If you see your dog exhibit signs of pain or lameness, it is best to have your vet examine your dog as soon as possible and your vet will prescribe the best course of action.
Some of the major causes of a cruciate ligament injury could simply be an active dog that lands wrong when jumping for a ball, or making a sharp turn when running. Overweight dogs are also very prone to this type of injury mainly because they have weakened joints due to the excessive weight.
If the cruciate ligament injury within the dog is left untreated, this can result in arthritis which can cause long-term lameness and hardship.
Whereas some dogs may benefit from surgery, there are also occasions where dogs can improve with some controlled therapy. This mostly mean several weeks of cage rest, with very small, gentle, lead only walks for bathroom breaks. Some veterinaries may want to use knee braces or prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, but these methods are most often inadequate. A minority of dogs that weight less then 25 to 20 pounds will eventually recover with cage rest, however they can re-injure the knee in the future, or even tear the cruciate ligament on the other knee. It’s very common that once the dog ruptures one cruciate ligament frequently rupture the other one within a year’s time. An owner should be prepared for another surgery in this time frame.
It’s not all Doom and Gloom:
Physical therapy through swimming is the most beneficial. Swimming is a great way to ensure your dog gets to use their leg (helping to maintain strength and muscle mass) without engaging in any activities that may be harmful to the knee. It’s worth trying to find a good canine hydrotherapy centre near to you and giving it a try.
Something further that serves an unique purpose with regard to reducing the strain on the joints is our ‘Spero’ harness. The ‘Spero’ was designed with this type of injury in mind. The concept behind our dog harness is very simple and straight forward.
You wear a harness, and this attaches to the dogs harness. The aim being, you take 20% of the weight off the dogs back legs. This in turn allows you to walk your dog further, which helps to build muscles. It also means that your dog does not apply pressure on the knee avoiding a rupture on the other knee in a years’ time