Dog ACL Injury


What is It?

A dog acl injury can occur when your dog twists on her hind leg.

A twisting motion causes stress on the ligament. If too much tension is applied, it tears. It can happen when your dog makes a sudden turn while running or when slipping on a slick surface.

An acl (anterior cruciate ligament) crisscrosses the knee joint towards the front of the leg. Its opposite is the posterior cruciate ligament. These ligaments work together to prevent the legs of bone (femur and tibia) from moving back and forth across each other.

The knee is comprised of a hinge joint. When a dog acl is torn or stretched, there will be a sliding or slipping motion in the leg just below the knee. Instead of a hinging motion, a torn acl will result in the knee, or stifle joint, sliding forward or backward. This movement is typical after an acl injury has occurred.

Bone altering surgery that decreases the TPA is thought to make joint stability less important for proper mobility. Short term results appear favorable as the dog is more likely to put weight on the leg after recovery from the surgery. But the long term effects are questionable at best.

Dog ACL Surgery

ACL surgery does not actually repair the torn ligament. Instead, an artificial ligament is inserted into the knee joint. This new ligament takes over the function of the torn acl. After a few weeks of confinement and controlled activity, fibrous connective tissue builds up to stabilize joint.


There is an alternative surgery that may be recommended called Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. This bone altering surgery is normally recommended for large breed acl dog injuries. TPLO surgery is invasive and very expensive, and the risks do not appear to outweigh the benefits.

Conservative Management

Many people have experienced success without surgery in severely limiting activity and allowing the fibrous scar tissue to build up on its own. Talk with your holistic vet to see if this can be considered an option.

Risk for Arthritis?

Both dogs who recover with Conservative Management and those who have had surgery are at equal risk for arthritic problems in the future. Be sure to properly restrict your dog's activity during recovery and avoid weight problems.

Nurture your dog with good nutrition and Nutri-Vet Hip & Joint Plus supplements to minimize the chance for arthritis.



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The information and products recommended by german-shepherd-lore.com are not intended to take the place of expert veterinarian care. Please consult with your vet and ask about using a natural and alternative approach for the healthcare and treatment of your pet. Find a holistic vet.

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