CCL Tear in Dogs: How Much is CCL Surgery for Dogs?

Are you looking for information about ACL vs CCL in dogs and confused about whether they are the same conditions or not? If so, then this article will clear up your confusion.

ACL and CCL in dogs

Are CCL and ACL the same in dogs?

Just as humans have an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in their knees, so do dogs. However, most people don’t know that the term ACL is not correct when referring to a dog’s knee injury.

Instead, veterinarians call it a CCL. So what does CCL stand for in dogs? Technically speaking, a dog’s ACL is called the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL).

So where does the confusion come from? Well, in one sense, CCL and ACL are the same things. Namely, they both refer to the same ligament within a knee joint. However, in another sense, they are different because they refer to two distinct species: human versus canine.

How much does it cost to repair a torn CCL in dogs?

The cost of a simple CCL surgery is $1000, and right up to $6000 or more for the most complex cases.

The cost of surgery for a torn CCL in dogs varies depending on the size of the dog, the location of the veterinarian, and the complexity of your dog’s injury.

In addition to surgery, there will be several follow-up appointments to check on how your pet is healing. The cost for these appointments will vary from $50 – $100 per visit.

Recovery time is usually between 6-8 weeks (depending on your pet). Your surgeon will let you know when they expect your dog to be back to normal activity levels.

How do you know if your dog has a torn CCL?

If your dog has a torn CCL, you should notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Limping
  • Reluctance to stand or walk on the affected leg
  • Pain
  • Swelling in the knee joint
  • Decreased range of motion in the knee joint
  • Muscle atrophy (or loss) in the leg

The most obvious sign of a torn CCL is lameness. In the early stages of a CCL tear, you may notice that your dog favors the leg in question. At this point, he may be very reluctant to run or play and will probably be hesitant to jump up on furniture or go upstairs.

In the later stages of a torn CCL, dogs will often hold up their injured leg and bear no weight at all on that limb. However, some dogs with severe tears will bear weight on the injured leg but shift their stance to relieve pressure on the injured joint.

If you notice any lameness or pain, then it’s important to get your pet checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible. A veterinarian can determine whether or not your dog has a torn CCL using a physical examination. If there is still some doubt after these tests, then other tests such as an MRI may be necessary.

Can a dog’s CCL heal without surgery?

The answer is no. The cruciate ligament cannot heal itself.

A ruptured CCL can be treated with or without surgery. With conservative management, such as rest and anti-inflammatories, your pet will not experience any pain or lameness, however, their joint will inevitably start to develop arthritis. This can happen within weeks or months of the injury. If left untreated they will continue to deteriorate until they are unable to walk normally or experience any pain or discomfort.

If you choose to surgically repair the ruptured ligament, your pet will be back on their feet within weeks of surgery with little risk of developing arthritis in the future.

How do you fix a dog’s CCL?

Traditionally, we have treated CCL tears with a surgical procedure known as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) repair. In this procedure, the damaged ligament is removed and replaced with a section of the tendon from another area of the dog’s body. The recovery period for this surgery can be up to eight weeks, and there is an approximately 10-20 percent chance of re-injury of the repaired leg. However, it does offer the best chance for a return to full function.

However, in recent years minimally invasive techniques that don’t require complete replacement of the CCL have been developed. The most common minimally invasive technique is called tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA). The tibia is the larger bone in your dog’s lower leg. In TTA surgery, this bone is cut at the top and moved forward a predetermined amount based on your dog’s size and age. This movement helps change the angle of the femur relative to the tibia so that when your dog puts weight on his or her leg, they no longer feel pain from a stretched or torn CCL.

The dog’s recovery after surgery is a long process. The first 3 weeks are the most crucial for healing to occur in your dog’s knee. Your dog will need to be restricted from running, jumping or playing during this period. A brace or sling may also be necessary to stop your dog from using his leg too much while it heals.

Physical therapy can be extremely helpful for healing CCL tears, strengthening muscles, and preventing future injury. Ask your vet for a referral to a veterinary rehabilitation specialist who can design a customized treatment plan for your dog’s specific needs.

Can a dog live comfortably with a torn ACL?

No, not without treatment. The knee joint is a complex joint that carries huge amounts of weight, but it’s also very vulnerable. If your dog has injured his knee, you’ll know about it from his behavior; he may be limping or even unable to put any weight on the injured leg.

The cruciate ligament in dogs is a band of tissue that crosses the knee joint and supports the bones of the upper leg and lower leg. When this ligament is torn or ruptured, the result is severe pain, swelling, and lameness in the affected leg. The injury is commonly referred to as a torn ACL in dogs because it’s similar to an anterior cruciate ligament injury in humans.

Can a dog run with a torn CCL?

The answer is no. Most dogs with a torn CCL are still able to walk, but they will favor the affected leg. They may also have difficulty rising to a standing position after lying down.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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