Cruciate Ligament Damage

Joint stability in the stifle (or true knee) is maintained via 4 ligaments which criss cross over to give the knee support, flexibility and movement.

Cruciate Ligament damage occurs when there is a full rupture (complete break – severed from its point of attachment to the bone) or tearing of one of the cruciate ligaments. This can result in four types of sprain; from a minor tear to a complete tear of the ligament. It is a painful condition and a vet would need to identify the level of damage that has occurred. It leads to lameness, instability and an inability to weight bear on the affected leg.

It can be caused by:

• Obesity
• Injury
• Slipping
• Sudden twisting of stifle
• Past injury
• Poor muscle tone
• Genetics

Initial treatment for this condition would be TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery. Following surgery massage may then be used to assist with recovery and muscular health. It is important that the dog is encouraged to start using both legs as they will be inclined to fully weight bear on the good leg meaning the added pressure could be prone to cruciate damage and often tear or rupture within 12 months following surgery.

Symptoms include:

• Inflammation around area
• Crying, yelping
• Fluid retention around area
• Lameness
• Muscle wastage
• Reluctance to exercise
• Reluctance to straighten leg

Benefits of massage include:
• Reducing pain
• Releasing tightness from overcompensation
• Strengthening affected leg muscles
• Reducing swelling
• Helps the dog to become mobile again
• Speeds recovery time
• Encourages normal weight distribution
• Increases natural range of movement

Recuperation Time
• 2-3 weeks of complete rest
• Then 6 weeks of lead exercise
• Then 6 weeks of limited exercise
• Careful diet
• Sensible exercise afterwards i.e.: no stick or ball chasing under any circumstances!
• Put down runners or rugs over laminate or wooden floor to give your dog grip
• Prevent them from jumping on/off sofa
• Prevent them from jumping in/out of car
• Regular massage therapy
• Swimming