What to Know About Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tears in Pets

Seeing an athlete fall to the ground while clutching their knee while watching a sporting event probably makes you cringe. You are aware that one of the important ligaments in charge of stabilizing the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), was likely torn.

The same knee ligament can be torn in your pet, did you know that? The issue exists, even though it goes by the name of cranial cruciate ligament (CCL).


What exactly is a pet’s cranial cruciate ligament tear?

Stabilizing the knee joint depends on the cranial cruciate ligament, which joins the thigh bone (the femur) to the shin bone (the tibia). The shin moves away from the femur as your pet walks when the CCL ruptures or tears, creating instability and pain.

How does the cranial cruciate ligament become damaged in pets?

A multitude of factors contribute to a CCL rupture or tear in pets, including:

  • Ligament degeneration
  • Obesity
  • Poor physical condition
  • Genetics
  • Skeletal shape and configuration
  • Breed

In general, CCL rupture occurs because the ligament slowly degenerates over months or years, rather than an acute injury to a healthy ligament.

What are signs of a cranial cruciate ligament tear in pets?

It can be difficult for pet owners to decide whether their animal needs veterinary care because a CCL tear, especially a partial tear, can result in symptoms of varying severity. But if your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms of a CCL rupture, you must make an appointment with our staff right away:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Lameness on a hind leg
  • Difficulty standing after sitting
  • Difficulty during the process of sitting
  • Difficulty jumping into the car or on furniture
  • Decreased activity level
  • Muscle atrophy in the affected leg
  • Decreased range of motion in the knee

How can a torn cranial cruciate ligament be repaired?

Your pet’s activity level, size, age, and degree of knee instability will all affect how they are treated for a torn CCL. Surgery is frequently the best option because there is no other way to permanently manage the instability than with an osteotomy- or suture-based technique. But another choice might be medical management.

A torn cranial cruciate ligament may be the cause of your pet’s hind leg limp. To arrange an orthopedic examination, give our staff a call.