Ruptured Cruciate Ligament in Dogs

The cruciate ligaments are important stabilizing structures within the knee that prevent excessive motion of the joint. The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of two cruciate ligaments located in the dog’s stifle (or knee) joint. The anterior cruciate ligament binds together the bones of the stifle joint (femur and tibia) and keeps them from sliding forward out of place.

Injuries to the ACL are extremely common in dogs. Tears are considered a partial rupture of the ACL if they do not completely break through, while complete ruptures cause total disruption of both fibers. Partial tears can heal over time if your dog gets appropriate rest, while complete tears require surgical treatment to stabilize and protect the joint so that full healing can take place.

A ruptured cruciate ligament is a painful and debilitating injury. It is important to consult your veterinarian to determine the best treatment plan for your dog.

You may have heard of a ruptured cruciate ligament as a “knee injury”, but that’s not quite right. The knee joint is actually made up of several different bones in the lower leg and thigh, including the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and fibula.

The most important structures in this area are two ligaments that cross over each other at the center of your dog’s knee joint:

  • The anterior cruciate ligament runs along the front edge of your dog’s stifle (knee). If it becomes injured or torn, it can cause instability in this joint.
  • The posterior cruciate ligament runs along the back edge of your dog’s stifle. This structure holds together muscles on both sides of its knee joint so they don’t pull apart from each other too far when they contract during movement or exercise; if one side pulls out more than another side does during contraction then this could cause instability too!

A ruptured anterior cruciate ligament usually occurs when an uneven force compresses against it while running fast downhill or jumping into air off something high up like stairs; sometimes dogs even jump off fences into lakes/ponds with sudden impact causing this injury too!

Cruciate Ligament Injury in Dogs

The cruciate ligament is one of the four main ligaments of the knee joint. It crosses over and attaches to both sides of the knee joint, preventing it from sliding out of place when flexed. The other three are the medial collateral ligament, lateral collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament.

In veterinary medicine, a rupture (or tear) can occur in any part of these four major structures but most commonly involves only one or two at a time depending on which type occurs first during an injury event.

Diagnosis of Ruptured Cruciate Ligament Injury in Dogs

In order to diagnose a ruptured cruciate ligament, your veterinarian will conduct a physical examination. Your pet’s gait and behavior are usually abnormal after the injury. If they were limping before their injury, they will continue to do so when examined by your vet.

If your veterinarian suspects that a ruptured cruciate ligament was the cause of the lameness, they will recommend x-rays or other diagnostic tests such as MRI or arthroscopy. X-rays can confirm the presence of bone fragments but cannot confirm whether or not these fragments are from muscles or cartilage (although most often they are).

However, if there is enough swelling within the joint capsule and surrounding tissue for an MRI scan to show up then it’s likely that surgery will be recommended as well since this test can also indicate whether there is damage present on any adjacent structures such as menisci (the discs) or articular cartilage (the cushioning between bones). Arthroscopy may also be performed so that any foreign bodies inside can be removed before attempting surgical repair

Treatment of Ruptured Cruciate Ligament in Dogs

When you have a ruptured cruciate ligament in dogs, the most important thing that you can do is not allow your dog to put weight on his leg. This will help prevent further damage to the ligament and reduce pain. A sling or stroller can be used to hold up the injured leg while they walk around or rest.

Surgery for Ruptured Cruciate Ligament in Dogs

Surgery for ruptured cruciate ligament in dogs is the best option for these animals. The surgery has a success rate of 95% and is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that your dog will be in full recovery after just one day at the hospital. The surgery involves cutting open the knee joint and repairing or replacing any torn ligaments to stabilize it again.

Management of the Dog with a Ruptured Cruciate Ligament after Surgery

Your dog will need to be kept quiet for the first few days after surgery. This means avoiding stairs, curbs, and jumping from any height. Your dog’s leg should also remain off the ground for at least 72 hours after surgery.

If your dog is overweight, you need to do everything possible to keep him or her slim. It is very important that your pet does not become overweight in the future because this can lead to additional injury and complications with their joints and ligaments.

The leash should also be used at all times when walking your pet until they are fully healed so that accidents do not occur due to lack of attention being paid by either party involved during walks together outside where there are many distractions around them such as other animals running around causing excitement within those animals’ lives too!


It is important to note that all dogs should receive lifestyle modification after surgery. This includes: weight management, avoiding slippery floors and steps, and restricting exercise for the first few months. The rehabilitation stage is the key to a successful outcome and will be prescribed by your veterinarian according to your dog’s needs.