Pet Talk: Understanding the ACL Injury in Dogs

Dogs, like humans, are vulnerable to tearing their anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs). CCL refers to the cranial cruciate ligament, a narrow band of connective tissue in dogs’ knees (CCL). Due to anatomical differences, the CCL in a dog is constantly bearing weight, making it much more prone to wear and tear damage than the ACL in a human.

What is a torn ACL in dogs?

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), the canine counterpart of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans, plays a crucial function in keeping stability at the knee of the dog’s back limb (referred to as a knee or stifle joint). Tears of the cranial cruciate ligament can hurt the meniscus, contributing to the joint’s ability to absorb stress, sense position, and carry weight.

Canine cruciate ligament ruptures are a common source of lameness, discomfort, and arthritis in the hind limbs. The painful chance of a cranial cruciate ligament exists in the vast majority of breeds, if not all of them, with some breeds having increased odds.

Signs of Torn ACL in Dogs

An ACL injury injures your dog much as it does with humans. As a result, injured dogs avoid utilizing the affected limb. When a dog experiences an intense injury unexpectedly, the most recognizable sign and symptom to the owner is a limp. Indicators of a torn ACL in dogs surpass discomfort and include the following.

Clicking Sound

Walking on an unstable knee adds extra strain to the joint’s supporting tissues. Injuries to the shock-absorbing meniscus cartilage pad are expected when the knee moves abnormally. It can create a “clicking” sound from the knee as they walk.

Injuries to the meniscus trigger a lot of pain; consequently, the impaired joint will be visibly limp and click. Do not disregard the clicking sound if you hear it. If not addressed, the injury could proceed to a point where pet surgery is needed. However, this can be avoided with routine veterinary checkups. Click here if you need to find a reliable veterinarian.


The weakening ligament can unexpectedly give way as the dog runs or plays, leading to this condition. They might feel so uneasy at any given moment that they will not stand their ground. Sometimes, a dog’s lameness will weaken over a few weeks or months, or it might be intermittent. They might appear to recover after some downtime, only to regress once they get moving again.

If you intend on leaving your dog in a pet medical boarding, it is in everyone’s best interest to have their ACL fixed first. Additionally, ensure the facility you choose can suit your pet’s particular requirements. For more information about numerous facilities’ services, it is preferable to check them out.

What causes torn ACL in dogs?

Many ACL tears in humans arise from trauma (usually suffered while skiing, playing football, or soccer). There have been isolated situations of a “traumatic” rupture in dogs. Aging of the ligament (degeneration), weight problems, bad physical problems, lousy conformation, and breed all contribute to developing CCL.

Simply put, the damage to the ligament is the repercussion of regular wear and tear over months or years instead of a single traumatic event. Pet surgery is your best option if your dog suffers an ACL tear. The truth is that for the knee to perform, it should be stabilized by surgical procedures.


Although many dogs fully recover, tearing an ACL is a usual canine injury. Your dog will make a complete and fast recovery if you take the initiative to educate yourself regarding the injury they received and how you may aid in their healing process.

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