The ACL is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament, often called the Cranial Cruciate Ligament, or CCL, in veterinary medicine. A tear of this ligament is by far the most common orthopedic injury in dogs. Although this is relatively easy to fix with the correct diagnosis and therapy, the best way to deal with a torn ACL is prevention.
There are many different causes of ACL tears in dogs. Obesity happens to be a rampant medical issue which adds a lot of stress to the joints. Dogs also experience constant flex on their knees as they are always bent. This causes the ACL to bear a constant load. Another possible underlying cause of an ACL tear is genetics. There are several breeds that are prone to orthopedic issues, especially when larger breeds experience hip dysplasia and they must compensate for pain by placing the weight elsewhere.
However, one of the most intriguing causes of ACL is known as “weekend warrior syndrome”. The theory is this: If you consider your dog’s daily level of exercise, or lack thereof, and then consider a beautiful day for a hike where you load them into the car and stay out for five hours at a time, it’s easy to see why a tear could occur. A lack of proper stretching and conditioning can make for a real weekend warrior situation that ends with a trip to the emergency vet. With, it is crucial to get daily exercise with your dog and to know his or her limits.
Consistency is key. Much like humans, dogs must build up a proper endurance to prevent injuries!