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Cruciate ligament injuries in dogs are the most common causes of hind limb lameness. Just as football players suffer cruciate ligament injuries, so do dogs – the knee is one of the weakest joints in the body.


Cruciate ligament injuries in dogs can occur for several reasons:

  • Degeneration and stretching of the cruciate ligament. This can be chronic or acute (sudden). Minor trauma to the ligament may be enough to cause complete tearing or rupture.
  • Obesity or excessive weight is a risk factor for cruciate ligament injury. The ligament can become weakened due to chronic heavy loading on the joint – this causes it to tear easily. Obesity can slow recovery time and makes the other knee more prone to injury.
  • Some breeds are more susceptible to degeneration of the cruciate ligament. It is most common in medium- to large-breed dogs, often over the age of four years.



Cruciate ligament injuries may lead to:

  • knee pain.
  • inflammation.
  • accumulation of fluid in the joint (effusion).
  • arthritis.
  • in some cases the cartilage or meniscus inside the joint may also tear.