CCL Injury or Chronic Conditions in Dogs

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in dogs is essentially the same as what is called an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in people. It is responsible for limiting movement such as over-extending and over-rotating the knee. When an injury or chronic condition leads to a tear, it is known as a CCL rupture (CCLR), which is the most common cause of lameness in the hind legs of dogs.

Though a traumatic injury is the most common reason for ACL tears in people, CCLR (ruptures or tears in the ligament) in dogs most often happens because of a chronic degenerative process and can result from normal daily activity.

Potential factors for CCL injuries in dogs may include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Obesity and poor fitness
  • Early neutering
  • Excessive slope of the tibia plateau (tibial plateau slope or TPS)
  • Immune-mediated disease
  • Bacteria within the joint

Large breed dogs are at the greatest risk for tearing their CCL, although, it is possible for any size, age, sex, and breed of dog to develop a CCLR  and just like in human ACL tears, acute traumatic ruptures can happen.

Changes that take place in the joint can lead to a loss of healthy cartilage early in a dog’s life, resulting in arthritis. For many dogs, if there is a degenerative condition of the CCL, it may eventually  lead to a partial or a complete tear.

Please call us or make an appointment if you have any questions or concerns regarding CCL injuries and conditions in your pet at Pets4Life Animal Hospital in Highland Park.

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