Dog knees are very similar to that of a human but The canine cruciate ligament is the dog equivalent to the ACL in humans. The CCL (canine cruciate ligament) is responsible for keeping the tibia in place beneath the femur and stabilizing the knee joint. The knee joint is under constant strain from your dog's daily activities and so CCL injuries are extremely common.
Canine Cruciate Rupture
CCL tears or ruptures and an extremely common injury in active dogs. This injury can start as a sprain and progress into a more severe tear though daily or it can be caused by a singular trauma. One indicator of a torn CCL in dogs is the presence of the "drawer sign." This means that when the veterinarian holds the dog’s femur in place, the tibia can be pulled forward in a manner similar to a drawer sliding open. However, the lack of the drawer sign does not mean there is not damage to the CCL.
A luxating patella is when your dogs kneecap dislocates or moves out of place. The movement of the kneecap can start to grind on the hinge joint that is the knee which can lead to cartilage erosion. Patellar Luxation is a very common orthopedic injury mostly seen in smaller dogs.
Arthritis is a condition that results in the inflammation of the joints, causing pain and limiting mobility. Just like in people, arthritis is an extremely common diagnosis and affects 1 in 5 dogs. Arthitis is most commonly seen in older, senior pets. Typically, if your dog is 7 years or older there is a very high chance he/she could be suffering from dog arthritis. The more wear and tear a joint in under the higher the chances of developing arthritis. To find out more about arthritis in dogs you can read this blog post!
- Limping or Lameness
- Unwillingness to get up from laying down
- Swelling around the knee
- Reluctance to go for walks or join in play
Helping a Dog With Knee Issues
The best thing for a knee injury is rest and rehab so anything you can do to take the weight off of the joint and take the stain away will help! Crate rest is always the first line of defense for joint injuries and giving some support with a rear lifting harness or a wheelchair will dramatically help your dog's quality of life while they heal!