What to Expect
of ACL Repair
Many factors can lead to an injured ACL in your dog, including:
- Genetic predisposition
- Obesity and poor fitness
- Traumatic injury
- Excessive slope of the tibia plateau
- Immune-mediated disease
- Bacteria within the joint
How Do I Know if My Pet Needs CCL Surgery?
If your dog appears to have back leg pain after activity which partially improves with time but is followed by stiffness, or if your dog exhibits mild-to-moderate lameness following heavy activity, this may be a torn CCL. Even if it’s a partial tear, over time, it may worsen, and the limping may become more consistent if not treated. There are several tests during an examination that we can use to diagnose a CCL tear. X-rays can also be used to help us confirm a diagnosis.
Is Dog ACL Surgery Worthwhile?
We understand that any surgery for your beloved pet is a big decision. After this surgery, the good news is that most dogs can start using their newly repaired leg within just days. For about eight weeks following the surgery, an implanted plate and screws are stabilizing your pet’s knee. Once the bone heals, the plate and screws aren’t needed. However, unless an infection or irritation develops, we suggest leaving them in place. With this type of surgery, the veterinary industry reports a 90-95% good-to-excellent outcome.
What Can I Do Other Than Dog ACL Surgery?
If for any reason, you choose not to proceed with ACL surgery for your pet, there are non-surgical approaches we may recommend.
Anti-inflammatories or other pain relief medications may keep your pet comfortable.
Dogs may benefit from gentle stretching, swimming, and walking. Physical therapy may also improve motion. Exercise can also help with weight management, range of motion, and comfort. Take any exercise gradually and slowly, and ask your veterinarian for advice.
In overweight pets, weight loss is one of the most helpful things that you can do for an ACL injury. Obesity increases the risk of leg injuries, and weight loss can improve health and may reduce the need for ACL surgery.
Certain supplements are shown to have a positive impact. Discuss your dog’s specific case with your veterinarian.