Torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) in people get a great deal of attention in the media — especially if you keep up on the latest happenings in the sports world. This is because such an injury often occurs when an athlete’s knee moves in ways that aren’t expected such as when landing from a jump or during sudden changes in direction. In the case of dogs, however, a torn ACL is often the result of a degenerative injury that occurs in a ligament that is already abnormal. That is, though your dog might injure his ACL while doing a normal activity, such as running in the yard, it is likely that this ligament was torn because it was already compromised.
Signs that Your Dog Might Have a Torn ACL
As a dog owner, you might see your pet display several troublesome signs that could indicate that an ACL injury has occurred. Depending on how severe the injury is, symptoms of a torn ACL include swelling on the inside of a knee, lameness and the inability to bear weight on that leg.
When to Take Your Dog to the Vet
While the above signs could be an indication that your dog has suffered a minor injury that could right itself without further intervention, prolonged periods of swelling, lameness and/or a reluctance to put weight on a leg indicates that a visit to the veterinarian is in order.
What to Expect at the Veterinarian’s Office
Your vet will complete a comprehensive physical exam on your dog as well as take X-rays. These tools will help determine the extent of the damage and rule out other causes. The veterinarian will make a recommendation regarding tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery.
TPLO Surgery and Your Dog
The TPLO surgery is commonly performed on a dog in order to stabilize the stifle joint after an ACL tear. In most cases, your dog can start to bear weight on the affected leg immediately though it could take a day or two for them to begin to do so. The bone heals completely in about three months.
If your dog becomes injured during the nighttime hours or on the weekend, you don’t have to wait for high-quality veterinarian care. First Coast Veterinary Emergency provides emergency and critical care services for your pets. Contact them today to learn more about your pet’s health.