Has your dog suddenly become lame in a back leg? He/she might have jumped off the couch and landed wrongly, or been at the park chasing a ball when he/she yelped and started limping.

Or it could have been a slight limp noticed some time back that seems to be getting worse with time.

The dreaded cruciate ligament rupture may be causing the symptoms. It can be one of a dog owner’s most expensive nightmares. Commonly referred to as an ACL injury in human sports medicine, we vets are more likely to call this a “cruciate” for short.

What’s a cruciate?

It’s a ligament that is mechanically essential to maintaining knee stability, and its sudden rupture leads to the inability to bear weight on an unstable joint.
A gradual or “chronic” series of tearings of this ligament is a more insidious manifestation of the disease. Many owners don’t even realize it’s happening, as the dog may never even limp.

A common secondary injury that often accompanies a torn cruciate is a tear of the meniscal cartilage. This secondary injury can cause severe lameness, and is often the first time an owner notices severe limping, even in a dog who has had a chronic, progressively tearing cruciate.

A recent patient at Eltham Veterinary Practice is Jasper, a 6 yo  Golden Retriever from Mt Pleasant Rd, Eltham with a large frame, and a sudden limp after playing in the back yard.

Jasper came in to be examined by my partner, Dr Gus Braniff, and the diagnosis was easily obtained, particularly since he has already had the same issue on the other leg about 2 years earlier.

After thoroughly examining his Left hind leg, Dr Gus came to the diagnosis. He had a ruptured Cruciate in his Left knee.

Read my next post to see what happened to Jasper and for more information Click Here or ring the practice on 03 9439 8650.

Dr Steve Pryor BVSc MACVSc (Surgery)

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