Craneal Cruciate Ligament Rupture

Rotura do ligamento cruzado anterior

It can happen to every athlete, dog or not dog !

Cranial (or anterior) cruciate ligament rupture is the most common articular injury in dogs. Many of these dogs suddenly start to limp without any obvious cause like a fall or other accident. This will give the owner an impression that it is the case of just a minor injury and many of these dogs do not seek Veterinary attention before weeks or months of dysfunction.
The causes for this disease are not totally understood. In the majority of the situations what happens is that a strain put on an already weakened ligament will cause it to break. 
In athletes, situations in which this ligament is on a higher strain are more frequent, as are certain body movements that favour the rupture like knee hyperextension and body rotation with the foot locked in the ground (what can happen to a football player when the boot's studs get stuck on the terrain). If to these types of movements we add some muscular weakness (for example: due to bad training or to diseases) the knee's stabilizing muscular forces cannot protect the ligament from failing.

What can I do to avoid this rupture in my dog ?
There are several things you can do:

- fight obesity and maintain a balanced diet. The extra load put on ligaments is very harmful. We have many dogs in this situation due to excess weight. The dog's diet should be balanced and calories adjusted to the frequency and types of exercise your dog does.

- Be rational managing the dog's physical condition.
If your dog is not used to intense and prolonged playing, like "catching the ball" for 1 hour, then his muscles and ligaments are not adapted to the sudden changes of direction, jumping and running it involves. It would be more rational to start with a play of 5-10 minutes and increase the duration and intensity over the weeks and months, until his physical condition is totally adapted.
It is common for a dog to have these types of injuries after long periods of inactivity, like for example the winter season, and that were "invited" to participate in too intense and prolonged exercise and play. And we all know that they do not refuse these invitations, ever.

- Look after the general health of your dog with your attending Veterinarian's help, detecting and treating any disease process that comes along. In Portugal this ligament rupture is sometimes associated with infectious diseases , Leishmaniasis being one of the most prevalent. Screening tests and routine veterinarian examinations are the only way to avoid these problems.

What is the solution for cranial cruciate ligament rupture?

Several surgical techniques are effective in reestablishing articular function and eliminating the pain associated with the injury.
The dog will thank us and will be able to play happily again. 




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