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Show of hands (virtually): Who has had a dog with a cruciate injury? Who has known someone else who had a dog with a cruciate injury? My guess is that most hands are raised. Cruciate ligament rupture is among the most common of all canine health complications - orthopedic or not. It's a shame that all these happy, active dogs have to deal with the pain knee injuries. On the other hand, at least this is one health issue that can actually be managed.

After working for years in a specialty veterinary practice that included orthopedics, I'd guess that about 75% of the limping dogs I have seen out in the lobby had a busted cruciate. It's a shame, really. Why does it happen? Well, there could be a variety of reasons, but there is no surefire way to prevent it. However, chances are you're bound to encounter it yourself with one of your own dogs. So, better to educate yourself now. Get the lowdown on ruptured cruciate ligaments in dogs to prepare yourself for what you may face down the road (or what you may already be facing). Good news: it's treatable. Bad news: it can get pretty expensive. Have you dealt with cruciate problems in your dog? tell us about your experience.

Comments

January 25, 2010 at 8:03 am
(1) Kathleen Davidson says:

Truman, our 6 year old Labrador Retriever had both his ACL’s surgically repaired with TPLO surgery when he was 2 years old. He made a great recovery, and is a happy and active boy. One thing that I know is critical for a dog owner to do after healing is established, is to keep any extra pounds off of your dog. Not only will this help the newly repaired knee, but your dog will look and feel better and just be happier! I can also attest that your dog can resume all the activities he enjoyed with you before the injury. It is an expensive fix, but very worth it to know your dog is not in pain and headed for lameness.

January 25, 2010 at 10:34 am
(2) Donna R says:

I have a collie/golden mix who has had both crutiates repaired. One was a prosthetic ligament surgery when he was about 5, the other was a TPLO (more expensive but a much easier recovery) when he was about 6. He is now 15 years old and both repairs have held up beautifully. The trick is to try to limit their activity during the healing period — not an easy task when their pain is alleviated so quickly after surgery, but worth the extra trouble.

January 25, 2010 at 10:43 am
(3) Sean says:

Our dog has had to deal with 2 different cruciate problems, 1 in each knee. She was only 2-3 years old when they happened and caused her to limp around a lot. Eventually she needed surgery on both knees, with about an 8 week recovery for each surgery. She spent a total of 8 months in recovery and surgery to get her knees back and healthy. The cost was about $2k per surgery, but we are glad to have her back healthy running around on her “bionic legs” and no more limping!

January 26, 2010 at 10:14 am
(4) Carola says:

My beagle mix also had tplo surgery on both hind legs; first at age 2; second at age 4. I found the long recovery process painful (limiting activity) but did it by the book and included swim therapy. She was never back to 100%. Arthritis has set in both knees. She is 9 now . Been on glucosamine, chondroitin for over a year which seemed to help at first but is getting worse now. I am pretty sure getting arthritis is a given with knee surgery plus her age. My vet suggests Metacam for the pain but am not thrilled about long term usage. Can anyone recommend another type of supplement or therapy for knee arthritis?

January 28, 2010 at 10:29 am
(5) John & Judy Suplanski says:

We had to have both rear knee;s on our English Bull Dog Dudley DoRight, the first one a little over a year, and the next one a little over two years old, He was just three In December! Thank God he has only two more legs that have not been done!

January 28, 2010 at 11:05 am
(6) Sanford says:

My 14 year old, English Cocker has developed Arthritis…no shock. What do yuo-all suggest?
Thanks,
Sanford

January 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm
(7) carola says:

A vet tech friend recommends this supplement for arthritis pain. My dog is on Day 3:

http://www.doggonepain.com/

January 29, 2010 at 3:08 pm
(8) Mike says:

Interesting!

January 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm
(9) Joe says:

We had a pound puppy Roxy that blew one out – repaired it and then the other one went – when it was almost healed, the original one went again. Doing ok now, but I call her clicky heels every now and then.

January 31, 2010 at 9:20 pm
(10) Charlene says:

I had a dachshund that suffered a cruciate injury and due to her age the vet preferred not to do surgery but told me to put her on Glyco-flex III and she would use the leg again. She did and never seem to ever have pain again. I order this from EntirelyPet.com in the chicken flavored chews. I have my 16 year old Dachshund on this and she runs around like a 2 year old. It is all natuaral and has green mussel which is an all natural pain killer (and it works). Try it on your dogs with arthritis, a re-injured cruciate and you will be amazed. All sporting dogs should be on this also.

February 1, 2010 at 9:41 am
(11) Troy says:

Our Beagle has had each of her knees done. The first ACL tore while she was just playing on ther carpet. She suddenly lifted her leg displayed no pain but we brought her in. The 2nd one tore over time. It was a partial tear that got worse so we opted for the surgery before a complete rupture. She healed up well but no more stairs for her. Total cost was about $3300 for both. She is our child so it was worth every penny.

April 28, 2010 at 9:46 pm
(12) Cecily says:

Our 8 year old lab/border collie mix ruptured her ccl a year ago. We opted for TPLO surgery. It worked well, though she has some stiffness in that joint. The surgery, plus associated expenses (x-rays before and after, post op apptmnts, etc… cost almost $4,000! She has just ruptured the other knee! We cannot afford another surgery and feel helpless. I read an article on re-habing w/o surgery but now am getting worried- what will we do if it doesn’t work? Will she really develop terrible arthritis if we can’t do the surgery? Just sick to my stomach that money is keeping me from taking proper care of my girl.

June 9, 2010 at 8:45 am
(13) barry raffel says:

Our black lab/shep mix was originally diagnosed as having hip dysplsia when he started having difficulty walking. Luckily a friend suggested we see an orthopedic vet surgeon before we allowed any surgery. This vet checked the original x-rays and felt this did not seem to be a hip problem. 2 days later, the dog was brought back limping badly and was diagnosed with a torn ligament. Recommendation was replacement of the ligament with an artificial ligament. We were advised that initially there would not appear to be too much difference in his movement but that it would improve over the next 10 weeks. Happily, he was completely recovered and racing across the yard in 5 weeks. Cost was realistic considering what the dog has meant to our family. I would recommend a specialist do the surgery rather than your regular vet. BTW, we stopped going to the first vet.

June 14, 2010 at 1:26 pm
(14) jane says:

Our 11 year old lab/chow is in vet now with both ACL rupture. Is she too old for surgery? It is so expensive. Any advice?

June 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm
(15) Val says:

My 2 year old rottie has the same injury. She ran after a deer and came back limping. We put her on metacam which works wonders but now that she is off it she is worse than before. My vet doesn’t do the surgery so he referred me to 3 places and when I called the quotes were between $3000-$4000 for an 80lb dog. Unfortunately we are in way financially able to spend that on our dog and there seems to be few options.

August 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm
(16) Michelle says:

Hi, I am in a dilemma – my 46kg mastiff x had a cruciate surgery done in March 2011 at $1500. Was told only 20% chance of it working in a dog her size. But she has healed really well only stiff when she comes out of her crate. Problem is her other back leg has just gone and she has been on rest for 10 days. At a push I can just afford the 2nd surgery but my concern is will her leg that has already been operated on go again… She will be 2 in september.
I look forward to any advice…
Cheers

January 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm
(17) Jenn says:

My Shepherd/Lab mix got cruciate surgery last year. At the time the vet told me that it’s likely that her other leg will go within the next few years. She healed up well from her surgery after months of hydrotherapy and on-leash walks. Her other leg just went before Christmas. Since she’s got one good leg and I can’t manage another surgery at this point, the vet suggested that we get her an orthopedic brace to help with the discomfort and mobility issues. Right now she’s on Deramax which seems to help as well as Tramadol for the pain. I’m hoping that the brace will give her stability in that leg.

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