What are Pet Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tears?

Seeing an athlete fall to the ground while clutching their knee while watching a sporting event probably makes you cringe. You are aware that one of the important ligaments in charge of stabilizing the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), was likely torn.

The same knee ligament can be torn in your pet, did you know that? The issue exists, even though it goes by the name of cranial cruciate ligament (CCL).

What does it mean for a pet’s cranial cruciate ligament to tear?

The cranial cruciate ligament, which joins the femur (the thigh bone) and the tibia (the shin bone), is crucial for maintaining the stability of the knee joint. Walking causes instability and discomfort for your pet when the CCL ruptures or tears because the shin moves away from the femur.

How can pets sustain damage to their cranial cruciate ligament?

In pets, a CCL rupture or tear is caused by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Ligament degeneration
  • Obesity
  • Poor physical condition
  • Genetics
  • Skeletal shape and configuration
  • Breed

Instead of an acute injury to a healthy ligament, CCL rupture typically results from the ligament slowly deteriorating over months or years.

What symptoms do pets with torn cranial cruciate ligaments exhibit?

It can be difficult for pet owners to decide whether their animal needs veterinary care because a CCL tear, especially a partial tear, can result in symptoms of varying severity. But if your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms of a CCL rupture, you must make an appointment with our staff right away:

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

How can a torn cranial cruciate ligament be repaired?

The degree of knee instability, size, age, and level of activity of your pet’s knee will all affect how the torn CCL is treated. As an osteotomy- or suture-based technique is the only way to permanently manage the instability, surgery is typically the best option. Medical management, however, might also be an option.

Your pet may have torn their cranial cruciate ligament if they limp on one of their hind legs. Call our staff to arrange an orthopedic examination.