Did you know that a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is the most common type of knee injury in dogs? It can also occur in cats. The cruciate ligaments stabilize the knee. Symptoms of an ACL injury include a sudden onset of severe lameness in one of the hind legs, followed by swelling. Some dogs may experience a partial tear of the ACL. They will have less severe but persistent lameness. The veterinarian makes the diagnosis by manipulating the joint and taking x-rays. The ruptured ACL is then repaired surgically. If it is not repaired, the knee will be unstable, and the cartilage and bone will wear and become damaged. This results in chronic pain, arthritis, lameness and permanent damage to the joint.
Our hospital offers two different types of ACL surgery, extracapsular repair which involves the placement of an artifical liagament, and TPLO (tibial plateau levelling osteotomy) which is usually performed by a specialist. You will be able to discuss which surgery is best for your pet with your veterinarian.
After surgery, your pet will be on pain control and exercise restrictions while their knee heals. Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed instructions on how to slowly reintroduce your pet to physical activity.