Dog Torn ACL Symptoms: When Your Dog is Injured - Doggy Brace

Dog Torn ACL Symptoms: When Your Dog is Injured

It can be difficult to tell if your dog tore their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), also called CCL (cranial cruciate ligament). Similar to any other day in the park you are throwing the ball and playing fetch with your furry friend. This time, they come back to you limping. You aren’t sure if it is a small sprain or possible a tear. The best thing you can do for your dog to double check this is take him/her to the vet. Your vet can tell you to look out for dog torn ACL symptoms.

Sadly, ACL tears do not heal on their own. These injuries are painful and expensive for your dog – they can cost up to nearly $1,500 – $4,000. Your dog will need several months of physical therapy and you will need to spend time with your dog to be sure their activity is monitored. During the recovery period, you need to watch closely that your dog does not put too much pressure on the other knee with potential of tearing it. You can help support you them with a dog ACL brace.

So, maybe you are questioning what the ACL even is in your dog’s legs. No different than a human it is the anterior cruciate ligament that connect bones together. This is one of four ligaments in the knee that are most commonly injured in athletic dogs. Tearing an ACL is often more serious than tearing or stretching tendons due to the fact that ACL tears stay stretched out without surgery to put them back in place. This may involve several surgeries to be sure your dog has a strong ACL.

Dog Torn ACL Symptoms

Depending on the severity of your dog’s ACL tear you may not know they have torn their ACL. While you may think if the ACL is only partially torn it can heal on its own you’re wrong. Over time untreated ACL injuries worsen and lead to complications and arthritis in dogs.

Dog Torn ACL Symptoms

  • Swelling
  • Limping
  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Unwillingness to run or jump
  • Atrophy of muscles

Look to see if your dog is avoiding using a certain leg and putting pressure on the other legs instead. If this is the case you want to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. While some of these symptoms are similar to a sprain you want to be certain it is not a tear. Some of these dog torn ACL symptoms also depend on the severity of the tear in your dog’s leg.

Once you have taken your dog to the vet they will likely perform a physical exam along with x-rays. If you don’t do anything the state of your dog’s leg is likely to not get better. Those who tear their ACL are usually rather physically active dogs to begin with, so by not taking care and being sure they have minimal exercise it is likely to get worse.

Dogs Affected

More often than not dogs that are affected most by ACL tears are in good shape. They are often running around and jumping when they injure themselves. All dogs are at risk of tearing their ACL, especially older dogs or highly active dogs. Dogs that are overweight and have the occasional exercise are also likely to tear their ACL. There are certain breeds that may also be more prone to tearing their ACL such as Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundland’s, Rottweilers, St. Bernard’s, and other active and large dogs.

Most dogs affected by ACL injuries are dogs that you least expect to be affected. They are often in good shape and are able to run around, but this is usually when they become injured. You must be certain when looking to see if your dog has any torn ACL symptoms that your dog rests and does not put too much pressure on the other leg. Often times your dog will strain their other ACL due to the injury because of the increase in weight and pressure put on the uninjured leg.


When checking to see if your dog has any torn ACL symptoms be gentle and careful not to hurt your dog in the process. If you suspect that your dog has torn their ACL take them to your vet for a confirmation. Your vet will provide you with the next steps that are required to heal your dog’s ACL. This may require surgery and lots of rest. To be sure your dog’s ACL injury heals properly order a brace from us! Everyone loves their furry friend and never wants to see them in pain, so be sure to keep a close eye if your dog starts to have any torn ACL symptoms.


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