Cruciate ligament injuries in dogs are the most common causes of hind limb lameness. Just as football players suffer cruciate ligament injuries, so do dogs – the knee is one of the weakest joints in the body.
Cruciate ligament injuries in dogs can occur for several reasons:
- Degeneration and stretching of the cruciate ligament. This can be chronic or acute (sudden). Minor trauma to the ligament may be enough to cause complete tearing or rupture.
- Obesity or excessive weight is a risk factor for cruciate ligament injury. The ligament can become weakened due to chronic heavy loading on the joint – this causes it to tear easily. Obesity can slow recovery time and makes the other knee more prone to injury.
- Some breeds are more susceptible to degeneration of the cruciate ligament. It is most common in medium- to large-breed dogs, often over the age of four years.
Cruciate ligament injuries may lead to:
- knee pain.
- accumulation of fluid in the joint (effusion).
- in some cases the cartilage or meniscus inside the joint may also tear.