Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tears in Pets

If you watch sports, you probably cringe when you see an athlete fall and clutch their knee. As one of the important ligaments in charge of stabilizing the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is most likely what they tore.

Did you know that the same knee ligament can also be torn in a pet? Although the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is a different name for the same issue, it still exists.

What is a cranial cruciate ligament tear in pets?

Stabilizing the knee joint depends on the cranial cruciate ligament, which joins the thigh bone (the femur) to the shin bone (the tibia). The shin moves away from the femur as your pet walks when the CCL ruptures or tears, creating instability and pain.

How does the cranial cruciate ligament become damaged in pets?

A multitude of factors contribute to a CCL rupture or tear in pets, including:

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

In contrast to an acute injury to a healthy ligament, CCL rupture typically results from the ligament’s slow deterioration over months or years.

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

It can be difficult for pet owners to decide whether their pet needs veterinary care when they notice symptoms of a CCL tear, especially if the tear is partial. However, a CCL rupture necessitates medical attention, so you must make an appointment with our staff if your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Lameness on a hind leg
  • Difficulty standing after sitting
  • Difficulty during the process of sitting
  • Difficulty jumping into the car or on furniture
  • Decreased activity level
  • Muscle atrophy in the affected leg
  • Decreased range of motion in the knee

How can a torn cranial cruciate ligament be repaired?

Your pet’s size, age, level of knee instability, level of activity, and torn CCL will all affect how it is treated. The only way to permanently manage the instability is through surgery, which is typically the best option. This is because an osteotomy- or suture-based technique is required. But there’s also the possibility of using medical management.

Your pet may have torn their cranial cruciate ligament if they shuffle along on one back leg. Request an orthopedic examination by calling our staff.

Some issues cannot be prevented! In this situation, please call/make an appointment and we'll do our best to help.

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