The cranial cruciate ligament in dogs is the same as the “anterior” cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans.
It is a band of tough fibrous tissue that attaches the (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone), preventing the tibia from shifting forward relative to the femur. It also helps to prevent the stifle (knee) joint from over-extending or rotating.
Cruciate ligament disease is extremely common in the vast majority of dogs, the cranial cruciate ligament ruptures as a result of long-term degeneration, whereby the fibres within the ligament weaken over time especially within larger active breeds and there are certain breeds that are predisposed, Other factors such as obesity may also play a role.
Many owners will notice a sudden lameness, which is present constantly or intermittent this often occurs when sufficient damage to the cruciate ligament prevents it from doing its job correctly. It can be painful and inflammation will be presented. There are different options to treat cruciate disease some people opt for conservative management if the patient is at risk from general anaesthetic due to age, obesity severe heart disease and other factors. A multi module approach is often needed such as physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, K laser therapy and medication like anti-inflammatory painkillers but usually takes some months for improvement.