A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a common injury in dogs, especially in larger breeds. It typically occurs when the ligament that stabilizes the knee joint becomes damaged or completely ruptured.

The following are some symptoms commonly associated with a canine torn ACL:

  1. Lameness: Sudden onset lameness or difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg is one of the primary signs of an ACL injury. The lameness may vary in severity depending on the extent of the tear.
  2. Pain and Swelling: Dogs with a torn ACL often experience pain and swelling around the knee joint. The affected leg may appear swollen, and the dog may show signs of discomfort, such as limping or favoring the leg.
  3. Limited Range of Motion: Dogs with a torn ACL may have difficulty fully extending or flexing the affected leg. They may exhibit stiffness and reluctance to move or play as usual.
  4. “Hopping” or “Skipping” Movement: When a dog has a torn ACL, they may try to avoid putting weight on the affected leg. This can lead to a characteristic “hopping” or “skipping” movement, where the dog holds the affected leg up for shorter periods while moving.
  5. Audible “Pop” Sound: In some cases, a torn ACL may be accompanied by an audible “pop” sound at the time of the injury. However, this is not always noticeable or reported.

It’s important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to ACL injuries and can also be indicative of other conditions affecting the knee joint. If you suspect your dog has a torn ACL, it is best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.

If you suspect that your dog has a torn ACL, it’s essential to take them to a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. The veterinarian will typically perform a physical examination, possibly followed by X-rays or other imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the injury.

The treatment options for a torn ACL in dogs can vary depending on the size of the dog, the severity of the injury, and other factors. Here are a few common approaches:

  1. Conservative management: For smaller dogs or less severe cases, the vet may recommend conservative management, which includes rest, restricted activity, pain management, and rehabilitation exercises. This approach aims to allow the ligament to scar and stabilize the joint over time.
  2. Surgical repair: In many cases, surgical intervention is necessary, especially for larger dogs or more severe injuries. There are different surgical techniques available, such as extracapsular repair, tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), or tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA). The specific procedure recommended will depend on the dog’s individual circumstances and the surgeon’s expertise.

Following surgery, your dog will require a period of rest and restricted activity to allow for healing. Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises may also be prescribed to help regain strength and mobility.

It’s crucial to discuss all available options and their potential risks and benefits with your veterinarian. They will be able to provide specific guidance based on your dog’s condition.

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