Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear and Chiropractic
Updated: Sep 15
Cranial Cruciate Ligament (aka CCL) tears in dogs are similar to Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears in humans. They are usually caused by a serious injury. Sometimes degeneration can play a role. The tear tends to happen down the middle of the ligament, which makes the knee unstable. This can lead to swelling and fluid buildup along with bone spurs.
It's typical of larger dogs (especially if they are obese), such as boxers, golden retrievers and great danes, but sometimes it can happen to smaller dogs. Unfortunately, some breeding practices can lead to joints that strain ligaments, leading to CCL tears.
Signs to look for: Pain, limping, swelling and a grinding sound when the joint is moved. The knee joint may seem loose to you as well especially when compared to the other knee. Get your dog to the vet for a proper diagnosis. Veterinarians can also do x-rays that will show the degree of the tear.
A combination treatment is best. Depending on the extent of the tear, chiropractic, weight loss, home exercises, nutritional supplements, and pain medications may be enough to control it and reduce pain. In other cases, surgery is needed.
When your dog has a CCL tear in one knee, he starts to compensate for the pain which can lead to problems in his back, pelvis and even the other knee. In many cases, a CCL tear in one knee ends up leading to a tear in the other. Pre and even post surgery, chiropractic can help minimize the compensation issues in their spine and can reduce the chances of the other knee getting injured. The chiropractor can also give you some home exercises to strengthen certain muscles that will help stabilize the pelvis, back and supporting muscles.
This is a very condensed summary of CCL tears. For more information, contact me or talk to your veterinarian.
Thanks to www.pdsa.org.uk for the picture.