Unveiling Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tears in Pets

When you witness a sports event, it’s likely that you cringe when you see an athlete collapsing and grabbing their knee. You’re aware that they’ve probably suffered an injury to their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of the crucial ligaments responsible for providing stability to the knee.

But did you know that your beloved pet can experience a similar knee ligament tear? Although it goes by a different name, known as the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), the issue remains the same.

What exactly is a cranial cruciate ligament tear in pets? The cranial cruciate ligament, which connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia), plays a vital role in stabilizing the knee joint. When the CCL ruptures or tears, the shin bone moves forward away from the femur while your pet walks, leading to instability and discomfort.

How does the cranial cruciate ligament become damaged in pets? Various factors contribute to a CCL rupture or tear in pets, including ligament degeneration, obesity, poor physical condition, genetics, skeletal shape, and breed. In general, CCL ruptures occur due to gradual degeneration over months or years, rather than a sudden injury to a healthy ligament.

What are the signs of a cranial cruciate ligament tear in pets? A CCL tear, especially a partial tear, can exhibit signs that vary in severity, making it challenging for pet owners to determine whether their pet requires veterinary care. However, a CCL rupture necessitates medical attention, and you should schedule an appointment with our team if your pet displays any of these signs:

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

How can a torn cranial cruciate ligament be treated? The treatment for a torn CCL depends on your pet’s activity level, size, age, and the degree of knee instability. Surgery is typically the preferred option since an osteotomy- or suture-based technique is the only way to permanently address the instability. However, medical management may also be considered.

If your pet is limping on a hind leg, there’s a possibility they have torn their cranial cruciate ligament. Give our team a call to schedule an orthopedic examination.