Cruciate ligament rupture dog

Ruptures of the anterior cruciate ligament are very common in dogs. Since it is often difficult for dog owners to judge which treatment method is the right one, we are happy to share our experiences here.

Hello, my name is veterinarian Susanne Arndt

I am the owner & medical director of doc4pets group

Cruciate ligament tear dog: Unlike in humans, where the cause is usually athletic, this is rarely the case in dogs. Since some dogs are prone to cruciate ligament tears due to their constitution and animals stand and walk differently than humans anyway, surgical techniques from human medicine should not simply be transferred to dogs. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that dogs with torn or ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments end up on the operating table. On this page we want to give you answers to questions like:

  • How bad is a cruciate ligament tear in a dog?
  • How much does cruciate ligament surgery cost in dogs?
  • How long does it take for dog to walk again after cruciate ligament rupture?
  • How do I recognize a cruciate ligament tear in my dog?
  • What should I do if my dog has a torn cruciate ligament?
  • Can a cruciate ligament tear in a dog heal on its own?



Here we explain the anatomy of the knee in dogs and how to recognize a cruciate ligament tear in your dog.



In this section, we will go over how a veterinarian can clearly diagnose canine cruciate ligament rupture.

Cruciate ligament rupture dog
Small Animal Center Arndt, Karlsruhe



In this section we explain all common cruciate ligament surgery methods (TPLO / TTA / ZLig / Meutstege etc.) in dogs with their advantages and disadvantages and for which breeds what seems suitable.



Just as important as the correct surgical technique is adequate aftercare in the form of physiotherapy and pain management.

These factors favor a degenerative cruciate ligament tear in dogs:

Higher age: The older the dog, the more unstable and less resistant the knee joint.

Increased body weight: Cruciate ligament tears occur more frequently the heavier the dog is.

✓ O verloading - If the knee joints are loaded unevenly or incorrectly due to too little, too much or the wrong movement, small cruciate ligament tears can gradually develop.

Pre-existing conditions: Inflammation of the knee joint or congenital dislocation of thepatella (patellar luxation) may increase the risk of cruciate ligament rupture in dogs.

However, there is also a ✓ hereditary component in cruciate ligament tears:
A steep position of the lower leg (tibial plateaus). In dogs with a very steep joint surface of the lower leg, the loads on the anterior cruciate ligament are significantly higher. This causes the lower leg to be pushed forward with each step and puts stress on the anterior cruciate ligament. This predisposition to a steep position of the lower leg is hereditary.

Cruciate ligament rupture dog
Cruciate ligament rupture in dog

Which dogs are particularly affected?

In principle, the phenomenon of cruciate ligament rupture dog can occur in any dog. However, there are some dog breeds that have a genetic predisposition to cruciate ligament tears and are therefore affected more often than other dogs. The dog breeds at risk include:

  • Rottweiler
  • Newfoundland
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Boxer
  • Staffordshire Terrier
  • West Highland Terrier
  • Dobermans

What happens if you do not have a cruciate ligament rupture dog surgery?

Without surgery, a torn cruciate ligament always carries the risk that the dog will no longer be able to perform and will prematurely develop a Osteoarthritis develops osteoarthritis. It cannot be healed and is associated with severe pain. For this reason, and because anatomically large forces act on the cruciate ligaments in dogs, most veterinarians advise against treating a cruciate ligament tear in dogs conservatively.

So there really is no alternative to surgery.

The healing time without surgery is difficult to define, because often there is no talk of healing, the knee remains permanently unstable and arthrosis develops later.

If it is only the cruciate ligament tornIf only the cruciate ligament is torn, it may be worthwhile to wait and not have the dog operated on yet. Small breeds and light dogs have the best chance of surviving a torn cruciate ligament without surgery. The goal of treatment is then to relieve the knee as much as possible through physiotherapy, rest and dietary changes and to allow the dog to live a pain-free life through medication.

With or without surgery it is important for the dog to to move regularly, as strong muscles stabilize and support the injured joint. A dog physiotherapist, who restores strength and mobility in equal measure with targeted training, can also help in this case. The dog owner should also make absolutely sure that the dog is not overweight - the less weight the damaged joint has to bear, the better.

Some successful cruciate ligament surgeries

Last year alone, we performed over 120 cruciate ligament surgeries on dogs due to diagnosis of cruciate ligament rupture dog:

A bilateral cruciate ligament surgery according to our Petlig-Method®.

8 days after surgery

Cruciate ligament surgery according to the TPLO method

7 days after surgery
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