ACL Tear in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment for ALC Injury

January 18, 2011 | Healthy Dog | Leave a Comment |

What is the ACL?

  • It is a vital in proper movement for dogs
  • Injuries are going to range from
  • The ACL can be torn when the knee is bent too much or when it receives direct impact when the leg is in a normal position.
  • ACL injuries may be acute or degenerating (chronic)

ACL Tear In Dogs Symptoms

  • Sudden lameness – The lameness may seem to go away, but it can return.
  • Holding the affected limb off the ground or not putting any pressure on the leg with the ruptured ACL
  • Swelling of the affected knee
  • Pain


  • Physical Exam – Done by palpating the affected knee
  • Medical History
  • Looking for the ‘Drawer Sign’ on palpation, this is the abnormal movement of the bones on the knee
  • Imaging studies – Done to diagnose the condition properly

Treatment of ACL tear in Dogs

Surgery is the main treatment recourse for dogs that have ACL tears.

There are generally two methods used to treat the condition, these are:

  • Tibial Plateau Leveling Advancement (TPLA)
  • Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA)

Choosing the type of surgery to use is going to depend on the surgeon and on the circumstances of the tear. TPLA has been around for some time and TTA is the newer procedure.

After surgery the dog will have to be on:

  • Cage rest
  • Fluid therapy
  • Antibacterial treatments, when applicable
  • Pain medication

Mobility on the leg is going to be controlled until the repair has healed properly.

Prognosis of ACL Rupture

  • Prognosis depends on the severity of the rupture
  • Dogs with the proper exercise regiment and the right body weight have good prognosis
  • Overweight dogs are going to have better prognosis when they return to normal weight

The recovery time is going to depend on the severity of the condition.

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