Unraveling Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tears in Pets

Have you ever winced while watching a sports event as an athlete clutches their knee in pain? That’s often a sign of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, a critical ligament responsible for knee stabilization.

But did you know that pets can suffer from a similar knee ligament injury? Known as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear, the problem may have a different name but shares the same underlying issue.

What exactly is a cranial cruciate ligament tear in pets? The CCL, which connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia), plays a crucial role in stabilizing the knee joint. When the CCL ruptures or tears, the shin bone moves forward, causing instability and discomfort during your pet’s movements.

So, how does the cranial cruciate ligament become damaged in pets? Several factors contribute to a CCL rupture, including ligament degeneration, obesity, poor physical condition, genetics, skeletal shape, and breed characteristics. Unlike acute injuries to a healthy ligament, CCL rupture often occurs due to gradual degeneration over an extended period.

Recognizing the signs of a cranial cruciate ligament tear in pets can be challenging for pet owners. Symptoms can vary in severity, but it’s crucial to seek veterinary care if you notice the following indications in your pet: pain, stiffness, lameness on a hind leg, difficulty standing or sitting, trouble jumping or decreased activity level, muscle atrophy in the affected leg, and reduced range of motion in the knee.

When it comes to repairing a torn cranial cruciate ligament, the appropriate treatment will depend on your pet’s factors like activity level, size, age, and the extent of knee instability. Generally, surgery is the preferred option, as it offers a permanent solution through techniques such as osteotomy or suturing. However, in some cases, medical management may be considered.

If you suspect that your pet has torn their cranial cruciate ligament and they are limping on a hind leg, we encourage you to contact our team and schedule an orthopedic exam.

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