Rupture of anterior cruciate ligament. Physiotherapy and tips during the recovery?


Four ligaments that form the dog knee, rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most common pathologies and the most common cause of secondary degenerative arthritis in the knee joint. The functions of the cranial cruciate ligament are limiting the internal rotation of the tibia and the cranial displacement of the tibia with respect to the femur and prevent hyperextension of the knee.


If your dog appears with an acute lameness, does not want to rest the leg on the floor, or it seems that supports it takes some steps and shrink it, and ignites the knee, is possible to his anterior cruciate ligament this affected. 


There is bias in certain dogs to suffer this injury. On the one hand we find the dogs (race or not) of small to medium size with short legs and usually overweight, and by the other, large and giant breeds that tend to suffer by their morphologyinjuries to the ligaments. These last include the Labrador, Rottweiler, Neapolitan Mastiff, Boxer, etc.  Anyway this is not a rule, and any dog can have throughout his life a ligament injury.


Apart from the aforementioned races there are other factors such as being overweight, sedentary, endocrine conditions, sport dogs that don't make good warm-ups, stairs, sudden rises to the sofa or car, or, activities that subject to the ligaments to micro trauma and that finally end up damaging them with partial damage or total break.


There are two types of treatment, the conservative and the surgical, whether is the chosen one or the other, the animal should be a proper recovery of the knee to get him back to be functional and thus avoid appearing recurrence.


The recovery objectives are decrease pain, inflammation, and the lameness, regain full mobility, strength and muscle mass and control over the joint.


Physical therapyIt varies in function of the animal and the type of treatment, conservative or surgical and, in the case of surgery, the type of intervention. There are surgeries that require more rest and stabilization than others. It occurs terminate the recovery process when the animal is fit to perform daily activities and his knee is capable of receiving loads and movement without the risk of relesion.


It is important that your pet receives treatment of rehabilitation by trained professionals who will choose the best techniques to make for a quick and effective recovery. The therapies used to treat a problem of Crusaders include: massages, mobilizations, therapy with currents, ultrasound, laser, aquatic therapy, therapy of balance and coordination training.


During the recovery period, it is important that:

-Carry your pet tied during walks and avoid sudden exits towards other dogs and the changes of pace, especially at the beginning of the recovery. Your veterinarian or therapist will modify you the intensityactivity to measure that go through the recovery period.

-We can use the knee protectorIt is a knee Pad Neoprene that gives stability to the knee of the dog making this feel more secure and maintaining a suitable temperature to improve wound healing and proper compression to prevent inflammation and edema.

-Keep the dog out of slippery floors. A common cause is the recurrence of the ligament accompanied by internal meniscus injury break. If the dog has ease of sliding due to lack of proprioception or home soil is especially slippery can use the protective rubberthey are on the feet to avoid slipping.

-Avoid ramps and stairs at the beginning of the treatment in operated animals and animals that make conservative treatment. Rehabilitated once can be used help to climb the sofa and car rampsSince, it is advisable not to do it alone, could be hurt.

-It is recommended that they rest on a soft, clean surface, but they are firm enough to help the incorporation of animal special dog mattress

-Keep the skin clean and dry.

-Diet and weight control. Overweight harms the joints and generate more pain for the animal.

During the recovery, or in those animals that may arise an instability in the knee using a hinged knee brace You can benefit you and prevent you from a recurrence or complications.

The knee brace can be used in those chaos thatthe surgery is not possible or there is any impediment to it. These splints, designed exclusively for the problems in the knees, allow you to gradually increase the degree of flexion-extension at the same time limiting undesirable movements providing stability during any recovery.


Marta Subirats

Dogs therapist diploma from the University of Tennessee

Technical canine orthopedic physiotherapist


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