ACL Injury

ACL Injury

More than a million dogs every year are having torn cruciate ligament injuries! The numbers are staggering and we need to understand how come they are only getting higher. Breeders need to ask if it is from over-breeding, in-line breeding, and if there is a genetic component to this crisis. The amount of dogs ungoing surgery each year is on the up-rise and more and more people are looking to alternative remedies such as conservative management. Nobody wants unnecessary surgery on their canine companion.

The most common prescription is surgery when we are dealing with a torn dog acl. Surgery does not always work with every patient and age and health conditions are a determining factor. Conservative management is an alternative but not a cure all. This is an approach which can require as much time and dedication as if the dog had surgery, and can cost the same in money and time. Conservative management is the use of nonsurgical treatment of injuries and can include any or all of the following:

  • physical therapy
  • chiropractic adjustments
  • acupuncture treatments
  • massage
  • nutrition
  • braces
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • medicinal herbs
  • prlotherapy

If ligament injuries are not treated immediately, they will improve slightly but the knee will remain swollen and painful, causing abnormal wear between the bones and meniscal cartilage which will result in osteophytes (bone spurs), chronic pain and loss of motion. The bone spurs can begin within three weeks of injuring the knee. The normal procedure which rules out the possibility of bone cancer is the drawer test. This determines if the cruciate ligament has been torn or ruptured and is visible by the tibia being moved forward like a drawer upon manipulation of the knee.Download the Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs

A complete rupture is always a surgical case. The knee cannot function like a hinge joint and there is no way around it. If the tear is partial, give yourself eight weeks of physical rehabilitation, and if the condition improves, nonsurgical recovery is an option. If the symptoms don’t improve during the time of conservative management, the physical work done will help in the pre and post surgical recovery. I have gained much knowledge and experience from rehabilitating my dogs with torn cruciate ligaments. I go into lots of detail in Chapter four of my e-book and provide a whole program which I utilized to bring my companions back to a total recovery.


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3 Responses to ACL Injury

  • Pingback: Stretching Exercises | Rehab treatments | Post ACL surgery | Health For Dogs

  • Lisa says:

    Why do you believe “A complete rupture is always a surgical case” when there are many examples and medical articles showing that many dogs, especially small ones (mine is 14 pounds), have had a successful recovery even from a full rupture?

  • helga says:

    Hi Lisa
    I don’t feel every dog is a candidate for surgery. Most dogs who completely rupture their CCL have also damaged their meniscus. That can be very painful. Also, many large breed dogs are potentially going to injure themselves further if their owner does not have complete control over their activities and is diligent in making sure they do not jump up on things and run and play. In saying that, I know of large dogs who did the conservative route and never needed surgery. There are braces that are custom fit to help rehab a dog from such an injury. These work great if you have the right candidate and the owner who can dedicate the time into their recovery and not let an accident happen. Small dogs can recover without surgery if they are tended to carefully. I myself attempted to rehabilitate a large dog of mine without surgery, but she was too exuberant and would have done herself in, and so after six months I opted for surgery to prevent a partial tear from turning into a full tear. I am glad you realize there is a choice in treatments, as most people don’t know. Good for you doing your research!

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