Dog Knee ligaments and bones

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture

General Information

A ligament consists of tough, fibrous tissue connecting two bones. In the knee, rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament allows the femur (thigh bone) to slide back and forth over the tibia (shinbone). The rupture first causes pain, then abnormal wear and tear of the joint, leading to arthritis. This sequence of events occurs most frequently in overweight, middle-aged to old dogs. Depending on the severity of the rupture, treatment may consist of limited exercise and rest or surgical repair of the torn ligament. Important Points in Treatment

  1. Activity: Restrict your pet’s activity for “See your Vet” days. Do not let your pet run unrestrained. On-leash walking is the only activity permitted outside the home. Prevent jumping whenever possible. Begin increasing exercise gradually after “See your Vet” days/weeks.
  2. Diet: Ordinarily no special diet is required for healing. If your pet is overweight, weight reduction can speed recovery and possibly prevent further injury. The doctor will discuss weight control with you if necessary.
  3. Care of the splint/bandage: Certain surgical corrections require use of a splint or bandage for 1 to 6 weeks after surgery. If your pet has a splint or bandage, extra care is needed to protect it. Do not let the apparatus become wet. In damp weather, place a plastic bag over it when you walk your pet. Do not allow unrestrained exercise. Your pet will be evaluated for bandage removal in “See your Vet” days.
  4. Incision: Check the incision daily and report abnormalities to the doctor. Your pet will be evaluated for suture removal in “See your Vet” days.

Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur

  • Your pet seems to be in pain or is uncomfortable.
  • Your pet chews or damages the splint/bandage or stitches.
  • Your pet’s health changes.