What Is The Difference Between ACL And CCL In Dogs

Our (human) knees’ center is made up of a thin connective tissue called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in dogs is a connective tissue that joins the bone below the knee (the tibia) to the bone above the knee (femur). The CLL can be compared to a “dog ACL,” and you’d be correct.

When comparing the two, the most significant difference is that dogs’ CCLs are always load-bearing due to the fact that they never flex while standing. This “ACL in dogs” is therefore more susceptible to damage than the ordinary human’s ACL, and a dog’s CCL must naturally withstand more strain.

What are the differences between ACL injuries in people and CCL injuries in dogs?

Regular everyday use should not cause an ACL tear; instead, an acute trauma from a sudden movement, such as a jump or direction shift, causes ACL injuries. Dog CCL injuries typically develop over time, getting worse until they result in a tear.

Alright, I now understand what CCL injuries in dogs are, but how do I know if my dog has torn their CCL?

A dog with a torn CCL will normally exhibit stiffness, which is usually most obvious after resting after exercise, as well as difficulties getting up, jumping, and/or walking without a limp.

On a mildly wounded leg, carrying on with activities will make the injury worse and make the symptoms more obvious.

Dogs with a single torn CCL often start favoring the unharmed leg, which frequently results in the injury of a second knee. 60% of dogs who suffer only one CCL lesion will shortly suffer another injury to the other knee.

Ok, but can a dog live with a torn “dog ACL”?

A non-surgical approach for treating a dog’s ACL or, more precisely, CCL injury is the use of a knee brace. In certain dogs, this may assist to stabilize the knee joint. A knee brace’s support provides the ligament time to scar over and heal itself. When coupled with limited activity, using a knee brace to treat CCL injuries in dogs may be effective.

When should I consider “dog ACL” surgery?

Consult your veterinarian to determine whether surgery is appropriate for your dog. Depending on the breed, age, and size of the dog, different CLL mending operations have varying degrees of preference. For your dog’s particular requirements, your veterinarian can suggest the best “ACL” surgery.

Please take note that the information in this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice for animals. Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a precise diagnosis of your pet’s illness.

How do you tell if your dog’s CCL is torn?

An vital ligament in the stifle joint (knee) is torn, causing partial or total joint instability, discomfort, and lameness. This is known as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture. Ligaments that have been torn retract, do not mend, and cannot be fully restored. Degenerative joint degeneration and damage to connective tissues are frequent outcomes of untreated injuries.

The CCL connects to the tibia, crosses the stifle joint, and links to the femur (thigh bone) (shin bone). The CCL inhibits internal rotation and hyperextension and stabilizes the tibia. Between the femur and tibia, there is a piece of cartilage called the meniscus that serves as a gliding surface and serves to cushion impacts. When the knee is unstable due to a CCL rupture, the medial meniscus may tear.

The most frequent cause of degenerative joint disease in the stifle joint and one of the most frequent orthopedic traumas in dogs is CCL rupture. Although it can happen in dogs of all sizes, CCL rupture is most common in large and giant breeds. Cats are also susceptible to CCL rupture, albeit it happens less frequently.

In 80% of cases, deterioration and rupture with a chronic beginning (typically brought on by aging) affect dogs between the ages of 5 and 7. In dogs younger than 4 years old, acute onset (tear brought on by injury) is more prevalent. Chronic rupture happens when the ligament has aged-related degeneration. Degenerative joint disease manifests as the fibers deteriorate and partially tear, the joint becoming unstable. The CCL finally totally tears after a partial tear.

Crepitus, or the sound of bones rubbing against each other, decreased range of motion, the “sit sign,” or the extension of the back leg while sitting, pain when the stifle joint is touched, resistance to exercise, limited mobility or extension, stiffness after exercise, swelling, a thick or firm feeling in the joint, and a tendency to lean to one side of the body when standing are all signs of a ruptured CCL. The movement of the misaligned joint after the ligament has been torn causes more injury, inflammatory reactions, pain, and ultimately degenerative joint disease. A pop or snap may be audible when the animal walks if the meniscus is torn.

A clinical examination and medical history are part of the diagnosis (information about lameness and injury). The joint’s range of motion is examined by the veterinarian. The diagnosis of CCL rupture is unmistakable with the cranial drawer sign. Because of the potential for extreme pain from a ruptured CCL and the possibility of muscle tension limiting joint motion, anesthesia may be required to move the limb to the required amount. Radiography (x-ray) may indicate a partial tear or a complete rupture, but it cannot confirm either.

The goal of treating CCL rupture is to reduce discomfort and improve function and mobility. Surgery is frequently accompanied with conservative therapy (weight management, rest, medication), but it is also an option for dogs and cats who weigh less than 25 pounds. However, lameness can persist until surgical correction, and a quicker development of arthritis is anticipated.

For dogs over 25 pounds, surgery is the recommended course of action. Even while it might not fully restore function, if done soon after the injury, it yields positive outcomes. Degenerative joint condition will not completely disappear after surgery (arthritis). There are several effective surgical treatments available. The surgical method utilized to restore the damaged ligament’s function depends on the surgeon’s experience as well as the breed and size of the dog.

In the extracapsular imbrication procedure, the CCL is replaced by a thick nylon suture that is passed through the joint from the outside of the femur to the tibial crest. Scar tissue develops in the days and weeks following surgery, adding to the stability of the joint.

The tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) modifies the biomechanics of the stifle joint so that the CCL is no longer required for joint stability. The femur cannot slide off of the tibia without surgically altering the angle of the tibial plateau. Most dogs recover quickly, and most can move the limb within a week. According to reports, dogs over 35 pounds fare well with this difficult procedure.

Following surgery, the animal must be kept inside with its activities carefully restricted for a period of time. In order to avoid weight gain, the diet should be changed. At first, the pet is just let outside to relieve itself. After a 6-week follow-up, you can progressively increase your subsequent exercise. Usually, 2-3 months following surgery, normal exercise is resumed.

Up to 15% of individuals need further surgery to fix meniscus injury. Within 18 months of surgery, up to 40% of dogs rupture the CCL in the other rear limb. Surgery is delayed until the repaired joint has fully recovered if the CCL in the other stifle joint is ruptured. In more than half of the cases, full function is restored, making the prognosis good to excellent. The long-term prognosis is significantly impacted by the occurrence of degenerative joint disease.

After rigorous exercise, pets may still feel stiff and lame, especially if they have advanced degenerative joint condition.

The American College of Veterinary Surgeons website has further information about Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture as well as other frequent surgical conditions in dogs and cats.

Does a dog who has a torn CCL survive?

This article was submitted to by Kelly Serfas, a certified veterinary technician in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The anterior cruciate ligament: What is it? In the knee, the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a crucial ligament. In dogs, ACL tears are the most frequent surgical issues. ACL tears have a number of negative effects.

1. Patients who have joint issues, such as an ACL tear or a dislocated kneecap, typically experience pain. Of course, painkillers frequently assist and may even stop limping, but they cannot repair a rip. Even though discomfort may lessen somewhat over time, especially once arthritis develops, it still aches.

3. The body attempts to use scar tissue to fix the unstable knee without surgery. Sadly, this rarely has enough strength to keep the knee stable.

4. The range of motion is limited by the scar tissue. The stiffer the joint, the less fully the dog or cat can bend or extend the knee.

5. Traditionally, not utilizing the leg results in varying degrees of muscle loss (muscle atrophy).

6. Running around with a sore knee is difficult, whether you’re a professional dog, a family pet, or a couch potato. As a result, exercise intolerance develops as the aforementioned problems intensify.

7. Weight shifting and other variables may cause an ACL tear in the opposite leg when the ACL in one knee ruptures. For a tiny breed dog like a Yorkie or a miniature poodle, this might be tolerable, but for a large breed dog like a Labrador or a Rottweiler, it becomes a much bigger problem.

8. The meniscus, a crucial portion of cartilage in the knee, is torn in up to half of dogs with an ACL tear. More discomfort and the aforementioned effects are brought on by that tear.

9. Many of the aforementioned modifications result in less activity, which often results in weight increase.

10. The variations in posture and gait might have an impact on the spine as well as the other three limbs.

Even when there are already ten negative effects from an untreated ACL tear, things become worse. After the ACL rips, several vicious cycles start. For instance, discomfort can cause lameness, which can result in improper use of the leg and muscular atrophy. Inactivity causes weight growth, which increases the strain on the joints and causes pain.

Yes, it is possible to live with an ACL tear. Sadly, it can be your only choice if you can’t afford surgery at all. Surgery will, however, significantly enhance your dog’s (or cat’s) quality of life if you can afford it.

Your veterinarian is your finest resource for ensuring the health and wellbeing of your pets, therefore you should always visit or contact them if you have any questions or concerns.

Can a dog heal without surgery after an ACL tear?

One of the most typical dog ailments is a torn ACL. Rest, immobilization, and possibly surgery are needed for an ACL tear. A dog with an ACL injury may fully recover without medical intervention. Alternatives to surgery, such as orthopedic braces and vitamins, help many dogs rehabilitate. To find out whether your dog needs surgery or if there are other options available, you must speak with a qualified veterinarian.

After a vet determines that your dog has an ACL tear, the next step is to weigh all of your alternatives for supporting your pup’s health.

About Torn ACLs

If you’re a sports enthusiast, you’ve probably heard about ACL injuries in football, soccer, and basketball players. The thin band of connective tissue in the centre of the knee that we name the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans is really referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in dogs. Therefore, we are speaking of a CCL tear while discussing this knee injury in dogs.

Does a dog with a torn CCL feel pain?

Another possible cause of a CCL injury is patellar luxation, a small-dog-prevalent congenital knee disorder. Whatever the reason, a torn CCL is painful and, if left untreated, can result in permanent lameness.

What is the price of canine CCL surgery?

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) of dogs is comparable to the human ACL. The ligament that stabilizes the knee joint runs from the back of a dog’s femur (the bone above the knee) around to the front of the tibia (the bone below the knee). A dog’s mobility may be permanently hampered by a CCL rupture because of its crucial role.

There are several surgical procedures available to repair a damaged CCL. The type of surgery required, where you reside, the clinic where your veterinarian or surgeon practices, and other factors affect the precise cost. Dog CCL surgery typically costs between $1,000 and $5,000 per knee.

The most common type of dog ACL surgery, the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) operation, was advised by Millie’s physician, Chad E. Spah, DVM, DACVS, of BluePearl Pet Hospital in Des Moines since Millie had ripped the CCL in both of her rear legs. For the TPLO operation on one knee, we were told to budget between $3,000 and $4,000, or between $5,500 and $6,500 for both knees. We chose to have the surgery on both knees at once after Spah explained the possible results and surgical concerns to us.

When we dropped Millie down for surgery, we were required to pay $6,000 in advance. We were aware that the total cost would increase by up to $500 depending on the level of care she required while she was a guest, but it wouldn’t go over the amount we were provided. Unfortunately, we did have to pay $500 when we picked her up from the hospital following surgery, making the total cost of the bilateral TPLO $6,500.

medical images of a torn CCl before and after surgery, as well as how they appear under normal circumstances

When should a dog with a torn CCL be put to sleep?

It might be hard to decide whether to put a dog with an ACL tear to sleep. Examine your dog’s behavior and quality of life before deciding whether to put an ACL-torn dog to sleep.

Remember that canines don’t always express pain in the same ways that people do. Their bodily symptoms, which have an impact on their attitude and conduct, make their agony obvious.

  • Does your dog have the ability to eat and drink normally without your help?
  • Can your dog stand up on his own after lying down without your assistance?
  • Can your dog run, stroll, and stand up without feeling any pain?
  • Does your dog snooze all night long? Or does he occasionally awaken from pain?
  • ACL surgery is expensive. The ACL surgery will cost how much? If so, will you be paying out of pocket or are you covered by insurance?

After giving these inquiries some thought, share your observation with your veterinarian. They can best assist you in finding the answers to these questions.

Additionally, you should inquire about the following with the vet:

What is the recovery rate for your dog after an ACL tear surgery?

A dog with an ACL tear can be a candidate for euthanasia if your veterinarian informs you that there is a poor success rate after surgery. A dog’s quality of life will also be reduced if they are unable to eat, drink, sleep, stand up, or walk regularly.

When ACL surgery did not go as planned, euthanasia was sometimes the last remaining alternative.

It breaks our hearts to watch our dog endure such an agonizing existence. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on whether you ought to think about euthanizing your dog with an ACL tear. Before deciding to euthanize your dog, it’s crucial to speak with your veterinarian.