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Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Surgery in Dogs

Leg and knee injuries are very common in dogs, including injury or tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament injuries. Our Pflugerville vets go over the symptoms of CCL injuries in dogs, the treatment options available, and the recovery period.

What is the CCL on a dog?

The connective tissue of a dog's knee is called the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) and it connects the dog's tibia (bone below the knee) to the femur (bone above the knee).

The CCL is always load-bearing because the dog's knee is always bent when standing. In dogs, CCL injuries tend to come on gradually, becoming progressively worse with activity until a tear occurs. 

Symptoms of CCL Injuries in Dogs

Here are some of the most common signs of CCL injury in dogs:

  • Stiffness (typically most noticeable after rest, following exercise).
  • Difficulty rising and jumping.
  • Hind leg lameness and limping.

Continued activity on a mildly injured CCL will cause the injury to worsen and symptoms to become more pronounced.

Treating CCL Injuries in Dogs

If your dog has been diagnosed with a CCL injury, there are a number of treatment options available from knee braces to surgery. When determining the best treatment for your dog's CCL injury, your vet will take your dog's age, size, and weight into consideration as well as your dog's energy level and lifestyle.  

Treatment Options

Below are the most common treatment options given to dogs with a torn or injured CCL.

Knee Brace

Treating a CCL injury with a knee brace is a non-surgical option that may help to stabilize the knee joint, and give the ligament time to scar over and repair itself. Treating CCL injuries through the use a knee brace may be successful in some dogs when combined with reduced levels of activity. 

Extracapsular Repair - Lateral Suture

This surgery involves replacing the torn ligament with an artificial ligament on the outside of the joint. This ACL surgery is typically recommended for small to medium sized dogs weighing less than 50lbs. 

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy - TPLO

With this surgical technique, the need for the CCL ligament is eliminated by cutting and flattening the tibial plateau, then stabilizing it in a new position with a plate and screws.

Tibial Tuberosity Advancement - TTA

TTA surgery also eliminates the need for the CCL ligament by cutting the top of the tibia, moving it forward, and then stabilizing it in its new position with a stainless steel metal plate.

Recovery from ACL Surgery

Every dog is unique, and not all dogs recover at the same speed. Follow your vet's advice during their recovery period and never force your dog to exercise if they resist.

Recovery from ACL surgery takes time! Expect your dog to require 16 weeks or longer to have complete healing and return to normal function.

If your dog is showing signs of a torn CCL, contact our Pflugerville vets right away to book an examination.

New Patients Welcome

Pfennig Lane Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pflugerville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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