COLUMBUS, Ga. — Statistics show as much as 85 percent of all orthopedic injuries in dogs involve the Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL.
Dogs who have ruptured their cruciate ligament will appear suddenly lame, and usually hold the foot of the affected leg off the ground. Other signs include awkward posture when standing or lying down, difficulty getting up from a resting position, especially in the mornings and swelling around the knee joint.
Dr. Wayne Waguespack is a veterinarian who specializes in orthopedic injuries in pets. He sees several dogs each week with ruptured ACLs.
“The young dogs, it’s like a football injury, they tear as they’re playing, jumping that kind of stuff. From a research standpoint we know that the cruciate ligament starts to degenerate with age and that can begin as early as two years of age but ranges anywhere from two to six years of age, so we see another group of dogs who are older and it basically starts to degenerate like a frayed piece of rope,” said Dr. Wayne Waguespack of Southeastern Veterinary Surgery Center in Columbus.
There are generally two types of surgeries for ruptured ACLs in dogs. They are the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy and the Extracapsular Suture.
Following the surgery, the dog is fitted with a cone around the neck to keep from chewing and licking at the wound site. The dog must be confined to a crate for 8 weeks but allowed out to for quick walks on a leash.