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Just like people, dogs can rupture their cranial cruciate ligament. When injured, it can be very painful & will likely require ...
surgery. If you notice your dog limping on a hind leg, you should bring it to the attention of your veterinarian. He or she can determine if it is a cruciate injury and the best treatment option available.
To learn more, we will listen to Dr. Brian Beale, a board certified veterinary surgeon.
Person 1: Hello! I’m Doctor Mike. Just like people, dogs can rupture their crucial ligament. This ligament plays a very important role in stabilizing the knee. When injured, it can be very painful and will likely require surgical correction. To learn more, we’ll listen to Doctor Brian Beale, a board-certified veterinary surgeon. Person 2: Well, a crucial ligament is really the, probably the most important stabilizer of the dog knee. It really is what keeps the knee stable. Every time the dog walks on his leg, this crucial ligament is holding the two bones in their proper alignment. So if it starts to tear, basically what happens is the dog’s knee is starting to shift. And every time the dog takes a step, the knee shifts in an inappropriate direction. And this can lead to arthritis down the line, and a lot of pain. The dog ligament tends to wear out over time. So essentially, the ligament is, has a partial tear to begin with. And then it slowly tears over time until it eventually completely ruptures. Now what is the cause? Well it’s probably multifactorial but it’s actually a degenerative process that occurs. Different types of things that can cause a cruciate rupture on the dog, part of it has to do with breed. The confirmation of the dog, in other words, do they have very straight legs or do they have more bent leg posture? Part of it has to do with just genetics, and then also a lot that has to do with the actual anatomy. And if you look at the top of the dog’s bone, how do we call it the shin bone or the tibia, if it has a very slope top to it, these dogs are probably going to have much more stress on their cruciate ligament. And this may contribute to them tearing their ligament. There’s other factors that can also contribute. You know, certainly, if the dog is a real hard charging dog and running around on real hard, they may increase the force on their ligament. Another way to increase force to their ligament is it they’re carrying too much weight. So if they’re overweight, that’s going to increase the likelihood that they can tear their ligament. Other things, if they have other metabolic problems, you know. There is a disease called Cushing’s disease or diabetes. Those types of problems will also weaken that ligament to make it more likely to tear. There is actually different types of cruciate tears. There are dogs that have partial cruciate tears. And these are the tough ones. These are the dogs that we’ll really want to diagnose because if we can catch it early, we can prevent a lot of the arthritis that we see. The other type of tear that we see is a complete cruciate tear, and again, a lot of dogs that have complete cruciate tears already have arthritis. So the goal is just to diagnose it early because then our treatment is going to be much more effective. The clinical signs of cruciate disease can vary. It can vary from something as mild as not wanting to jump into the car and kind of sitting off to the side to being obviously lame in carrying the leg. And as an owner, what you should notice is a difference in what your dogs are willing to do. You know, again, are they willing to go out and play or do they seem like getting old and just kind of sitting around?You know, all of these things can actually be clinical signs of a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. If you suspect your dog has critical science of a tear of the cruciate ligament, the first step is to contact your veterinarian, because they’re going to be the ones who can look at your pet and diagnose it very quickly and it really is a fairly easy diagnosis to make. They’re probably going to want to do just to a simple physical examination and then it might want to take a radiograph to make the diagnosis. So once a cruciate ligament is diagnosed, then we have to look at the different options for treatment. And you know there is medical options and there’s surgical options. Now, as far as the medical options, what we want to try to do is to treat for pain and so we can do that with different medications. Then, we also want to try to keep the joint healthy as possible. And there is a lot of different supplements that we can use to help treat the joint and keep it healthy. Lastly, what we want to try to do if we’re not going to do surgery is try to keep the muscles as strong as possible because that can help protect the knee as well. And so this would involve different physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises. Surgical treatment of cranial crucial ligament disease is the optimal away to treat the patient. And the reason is, is that the knee is unstable. And any medicine that we give is not going to stabilize the knee. What we would like to do is actually, get the knee to be stable so every time the dog takes a step, the knee is no longer shifting in appropriate way. Person 1: Cruciate rupture in the dog is a very common injury. If you notice your dog limping out on a hind leg, you should bring it to the attention of you veterinarian. Here, she can determine if it is a cruciate injury and the best treatment options available. I hope that this video is helpful and thanks for watching.