ACL Tears in Dogs

CCL in Dogs

Imagine, your dog is running about, and suddenly yelps. You rush over to see your dog limping and looking scared. What if your dog has suffered a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament, or CCL? Dr. Peterson at Pawsitive Strides Veterinary Rehabilitation & Therapy can help guide you as you make the necessary decisions to care for your beloved pet.

What Causes a Dog's CCL to tear?

There are several causes of a CCL rupture(or tear) in a dog’s knee. For example, when a young active dog is moving quickly and suddenly changes direction taking a bad step, this could result in an injury to the knee such as a CCL tear. For older dogs and/or dogs who are overweight, they may have weakened ligaments increasing the likelihood for injuries like a CCL tear. 

It is important to know that a CCL tear is not the only injury that can happen to a dog’s knee. Other injuries must be ruled out, and our veterinarian can guide you towards the appropriate diagnostics. Additionally, other knee injuries such as luxating patellas or arthritis add stress to the knee joint and could contribute to a CCL tear.

Can this injury heal on its own?

No, a CCL tear will not heal on its own. If a CCL tear or rupture has happened in your dog, they may be in pain and unable to use the leg at first, then slowly will appear to recover, however swelling can often be observed, your pet will continue to experience pain, and arthritis will quickly set in.

How Is CCL Diagnosed?

If you suspect your dog has injured their knee, a visit to your vet is in order. CCL ruptures are a painful medical event and you will want to see a veterinarian right away. A veterinarian at your primary care or urgent care animal hospital will examine your pet. Exams and X-rays are very helpful diagnostic tools for these types of injuries, and will likely be recommended. Sedation may be necessary to ensure a pain free experience for your pet.

About CCL Surgery Aftercare

Surgery is a very common recommendation to treat a CCL Rupture. After surgery your dog will need rest and limited exercise for several weeks. Veterinary rehab therapy such as laser therapy, prescribed exercises and underwater treadmill therapy can help give dogs a safe way to physically and mentally exercise during a rest period that can be difficult, particularly for younger dogs with boundless energy. Dogs can also benefit from a series of acupuncture sessions to help lessen pain and promote relaxation. Many pets respond to acupuncture therapy by relaxing, even napping during the treatment.

Still Have Questions?

If your dog has suffered a CCL rupture and you live in the Des Moines, IA area, contact Pawsitive Strides Veterinary Rehabilitation & Therapy at (515) 575-9655 to make an appointment today. Our Rehab Veterinarian, Dr. Peterson, will work closely with your primary care veterinarian or surgeon to promote the best possible outcome for your beloved pet.

Contact us today at (515) 575-9655 to schedule an appointment.

Contact Us

Send us an email


Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

2911 Ingersoll Ave. Des Moines, IA,50312


8:00 am-5:30 pm


8:00 am-5:30 pm


8:00 am-5:30 pm


12:00 pm-5:30 pm


8:00 am-5:30 pm