Let’s get straight to the point: can a dog walk with a torn ACL? Yes, they can! However, walking on an injured ACL without any means of supporting their leg can be dangerous for your dog. Putting extra weight and strain on any unsupported injury comes with risk of hurting your pup even more! Here’s why.
Firstly, a dog doesn’t have an ACL, strictly speaking. They actually have a CCL (cranial cruciate ligament) which connects their tibia to their femur (upper and lower leg bones). A CCL is extremely similar to a human’s ACL, which is why it’s commonly called an ACL. For the sake of colloquialism, this blog is going to do the same.
So what’s a ligament? Ligaments are stretchy bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. They work like rubber bands to hold the knee bones in the joint together when your dog moves. If it is partially or completely torn, it becomes very painful for your dog to use their leg. Unfortunately, such an injury is extremely common, especially in some breeds and overweight pups.
If your dog does hurt their ACL, whether it’s a strain, a partial tear, or a complete tear, consider using a brace to help support their leg.
How Doggy Brace Helps Prevent More Injuries
Do you know why an athlete wears a knee brace? It helps prevent excessive movement and rotation while supporting the athlete’s knee and reducing the risk of injury.
Animal experts drew inspiration from athletes and developed a brace that can help prevent ACL injuries in for all canines. A brace discourages your pet from making too tight or too quick movements, which are two of the most common ways they injure their legs. It also helps prevent torn ACLs in dogs.
Some dogs are more prone to leg injuries too! Their age, weight, and breed all play a factor in their chances of injuring their ACLs. Studies have shown that St. Bernards, Labradors, Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, and Akitas are more predisposed to ACL injuries. Older dogs and those that are overweight have a higher chance of injury too. Doggy Brace significantly reduces the risk of a sprained ACL (or worse) because of the added support.
A Brace Can Help An Injured Dog Too
Doggy Brace is not designed as an alternative for surgery if that is what your vet recommends. However, it can be used as conservative therapy and preventative care.
If your dog has a sprained ACL, they will avoid putting weight on their injury. It’s like if you hurt your ankle — you’ll put more weight on your good leg to keep it off your bad one. This is actually extremely risky behavior for a dog as they tend to overcompensate. The added weight on their good leg drastically increases their risk of injuring it during normal activity, such as walking, running, or jumping. A brace allows your pup to comfortably put more weight on their hurt leg so they’re not dramatically shifting their weight onto one side.
When it comes to conservative treatment, a brace is an essential piece of hardware. A non-rigid brace, such as one offered by Doggy Brace, stabilizes and supports the knee joint. It discourages quick movements that can strain your dog’s ACL during recovery. It encourages your dog to get up and move around, without putting too much pressure on their injured leg.
Doggy Brace uses a soft neoprene to provide comfortable compression and support for your dog’s rear legs. It also has two ways to wear it: with or without a back strap. Some dogs do not like the decreased mobility of a back strap, so Doggy Brace designed it to be removable. All you need to do is cut it off at the seam. Removing it will not impact the level of support either!
Why Use An ACL Dog Brace?
A brace is affordable, removable, and supportive. Even if your dog doesn’t seem to be in pain when they’re walking around, you should consider using a brace as a preventative measure. There is always a risk of something happening to their injured leg and furthering the damage, or them overcompensating their weight and hurting their good leg.
Even if your dog isn’t injured, consider using a hind leg brace if they are older, prone to hip or leg problems, or overweight. The general rule is that the larger your dog is, the more prone they are to hip and leg problems. A brace can help relieve arthritis symptoms, can help stabilize hips and legs, support a puppy through large growth spurts, and provide weight-relief if your dog is on a diet (or is a little chunky).
The bottom line is, yes, a dog can walk with a torn ACL. However, they should never walk on it if it’s unsupported, even if it’s just a sprain. If you want to learn more, visit Doggy Brace today.