When witnessing athletes clutching their knees in pain during sporting events, you cringe at the thought of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, a crucial ligament for knee stability.

Did you know that pets can experience a similar tear in their knee ligament? Known as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear, it poses the same issue.

What is a cranial cruciate ligament tear in pets?

The cranial cruciate ligament, connecting the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia), plays a vital role in knee joint stability. A torn CCL causes the shin to thrust forward as pets walk, leading to discomfort and instability.

How do cranial cruciate ligament tears occur in pets?

Various factors contribute to CCL tears in pets, including:

– Ligament degeneration
– Obesity
– Poor physical condition
– Genetics
– Skeletal shape and configuration
– Breed

Typically, CCL tears result from gradual ligament degeneration rather than a sudden injury to a healthy ligament.

What are the signs of a cranial cruciate ligament tear in pets?

Determining whether your pet requires veterinary care for a CCL tear can be challenging, as signs can vary in severity. However, if your pet displays these signs, it’s crucial to seek medical attention:

– Pain
– Stiffness
– Lameness in a hind leg
– Difficulty standing after sitting
– Difficulty sitting
– Difficulty jumping onto furniture or into the car
– Decreased activity level
– Muscle atrophy in the affected leg
– Reduced range of motion in the knee

How can a torn cranial cruciate ligament be treated?

Treatment options for a torn CCL depend on factors such as your pet’s activity level, size, age, and the degree of knee instability. Surgery is often the most effective solution, involving osteotomy or suture-based techniques to manage instability permanently. Medical management may also be considered.

If your pet limps on a hind leg, it may have a torn cranial cruciate ligament. Reach out to our team to schedule an orthopedic exam.