Torn ACL in Dogs: What Should You Know About This Injury?

Dogs, like humans, are susceptible to tearing their anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs). CCL refers to the cranial cruciate ligament, a narrow band of connective tissue in dogs’ knees (CCL). Due to anatomical differences, the CCL in a dog is always bearing weight, making it more susceptible to wear and tear damage than the ACL in a human.

What is a torn ACL in dogs?

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL), the canine counterpart of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans, plays a crucial role in maintaining stability at the knee of the dog’s hind limb (referred to as a knee or stifle joint). Rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament can harm the meniscus, which plays a role in the joint’s ability to absorb stress, sense position, and carry weight.

Canine cruciate ligament ruptures are a common source of lameness, discomfort, and arthritis in the hind limbs. The painful likelihood of a cranial cruciate ligament exists in the vast majority of breeds, if not all of them, with some breeds having an increased chance.

Signs of Torn ACL in Dogs

An ACL injury hurts your dog just like it does with humans. Therefore, injured dogs avoid utilizing the affected limb. When a dog suffers an acute injury suddenly, the most noticeable symptom to the owner is a limp. Signs of a ruptured ACL in dogs go beyond discomfort and include the following.

Clicking Sound

Walking on an unsteady knee puts extra strain on the joint’s supporting tissues. Injuries to the shock-absorbing meniscus cartilage pad are expected when the knee moves unusually. It can cause a “clicking” sound to be heard from the knee as they walk.

Injuries to the meniscus cause a lot of pain; therefore, the affected joint will be noticeably limp and click. Do not disregard the clicking noise if you hear it. If not addressed, the injury could progress to a point where pet surgery from a dog orthopedic surgeon is required.


The weakening ligament can suddenly give way as the dog runs or plays, causing this condition. They may feel so uneasy at any given moment that they will not stand their ground. Sometimes a dog’s lameness will deteriorate over a few weeks or months, or it may be intermittent. They may appear to recover after some downtime, only to regress once they get moving again.

If you plan on leaving your dog in a pet boarding facility, it is in everyone’s best interest to have their ACL fixed first. Also, ensure the facility you pick can accommodate your pet’s specific requirements. For additional information about various facilities’ services, it is preferable to visit them. If you can’t, you can go to their website’s homepage.

What causes torn ACL in dogs?

Most ACL tears in humans result from trauma (usually suffered while skiing, playing football, or soccer). There have been isolated cases of a “traumatic” rupture in dogs. Aging of the ligament (degeneration), obesity, poor physical condition, poor conformation, and breed all play a role in developing CCL.

In other words, the damage to the ligament is the consequence of gradual deterioration over months or years rather than a single traumatic event. Veterinary surgery is your best option if your dog suffers an ACL tear. The reality is that for the knee to function, it must be stabilized by surgical procedures.


Tearing an ACL is a common canine injury, although most dogs fully recover. Your dog will make a full and speedy recovery if you take the initiative to educate yourself about the injury they sustained and how you may aid in their healing process.