Asked by: Dr. Jabari Williamson DDS
Score: 4.5/5 (54 votes)
If your dog tears their ACL, your veterinarian may recommend surgery – but then you may read a story online about a dog who recovered wonderfully from an ACL tear using only conservative treatments, for example, a knee brace. The truth is that when it comes to ACL injuries in dogs, there is incredible variability.
Can a dog live comfortably with a torn ACL?
Sure, it is possible to survive with a torn ACL. Sadly, it may be the only option if you absolutely cannot afford surgery. However, if you can afford surgery, it will dramatically improve your dog's (or cat's) quality of life.
Is ACL surgery for dogs necessary?
A torn ACL in dogs is one of the most common dog injuries. A torn ACL requires rest, immobilization, and sometimes surgery. It is entirely possible for a dog to recover from an ACL tear without surgery. Many dogs heal through surgery alternatives like orthopedic braces and supplements.
How successful is ACL surgery in dogs?
Currently the success rate of either surgery is between 85-90%. This means your pet should get back to normal or near normal activity over a 2-4 month period.
How much does dog ACL surgery cost?
In general pet owners can expect cat and dog TPLO surgery cost to average $3,500 to $5,000 and capsular suture stabilization to cost between $1,200 to $1,5004, which often includes the exam, surgery, anesthesia, operating room use, hospitalization, medications, checkups and physical therapy.
45 related questions found
How painful is a torn ACL for a dog?
At the moment when the ACL tears, a dog will experience sudden pain and often hold their leg up. Depending on the severity of the tear, they may then avoid putting any weight on the leg for a day or so, and when they do use it again will have a limp that often continues for several weeks.
How long is recovery from ACL surgery for a dog?
At our animal hospital, most dogs can return home the same day. Total recovery period is about 12 to 16 weeks. Here's how to help your dog heal after TPLO surgery. Limit physical activity for the first two weeks: Your pooch will have sutures during this time, so limit outdoor activities to potty breaks.
What can I expect after my dog's ACL surgery?
Avoid the Dog Park, aggressive play and strenuous exercise until 4 months post-surgery. Continue physiotherapy exercises and gradually increase activity until full function of the knee returns and your dog appears normal. We expect your dog to be back to normal function by 4-5 months following surgery.
How do they fix a dogs ACL?
Dog ACL surgery requires making a small cut at the top of the tibia bone, which includes the weight-bearing part of the tibia, the tibial plateau. This is called an osteotomy, with the entire procedure known as tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO).
What happens if ACL is not repaired?
If nothing is done, the ACL injury may turn into chronic ACL deficiency. Your knee may become more and more unstable and may give out more often. The abnormal sliding within the knee also can hurt cartilage. It can trap and damage the menisci in the knee and can also lead to early osteoarthritis.
Does my dog really need knee surgery?
When the cranial cruciate ligament is torn, surgical stabilization of the knee joint is often required, especially in larger or more active dogs. Surgery is generally recommended as quickly as possible to reduce permanent, irreversible joint damage and relieve pain.
What happens if you can't afford surgery for your dog?
Check for state-specific financial assistance programs for pet healthcare. If there's no fund designed for your specific situation, RedRover's Urgent Care Grants might help. RedRover provides almost 700 grants every year for pets whose owners can't afford treatment, with an average grant amount of $200.
How do you tell if a dog tore an ACL?
Signs of a Torn ACL in Dogs
- Limping in the hind legs.
- Joint stiffness that is most noticeable when resting after physical activity.
- Difficulty jumping or rising from the floor.
- Sitting with one hind leg stuck out to the side.
- Clicking sound when your dog walks.
How successful is knee surgery in dogs?
TPLO surgery decreases muscle atrophy, speeds up the healing of the bone, and reduces the risk of developing arthritis. Because it has been practiced for over 20 years, TPLO is one of the most researched surgical procedures in dogs. The success rate for TPLO surgery is very high—between 90% and 95%.
Can a dog walk right after ACL surgery?
Your dog's exercise should be restricted and supervised for around 8 to 12 weeks after surgery. This typically means short leash walks (the short here refers to the length of the leash not the time), limiting play with other animals, and confining the dog to a crate or small room when not supervised.
Is it normal for dog to cry after surgery?
The whining is due to the anesthetic drugs given for surgery, these drugs can cause your dog/cat to be confused and disoriented (dysphoric). We expect this behavior (as frustrating as it can be) for the next 12 to 24 hours as the anesthetic drugs wear off.
How can I help my dog poop after ACL surgery?
A: If your dog has not had a bowel movement by the 5th day following surgery, there are several at-home remedies you can try to help soften the stool and allow them to pass it: Canned pumpkin – Canned pumpkin is one of the most recommended treatments for canine constipation, due to its high fiber content.
When can a dog do stairs after TPLO surgery?
We recommend starting with very short walks to urinate/defecate only and then gradually increase the duration of those walks through the rehabilitation period. Access to stairs should be limited as much as possible, especially for the first 2-4 weeks after surgery.
How soon after ACL surgery can I walk?
Patients walk unassisted within 2-4 weeks, but for short periods. After 10-12 weeks, expect brisk walking, light jogging, and even plyometric exercise. Full recovery on ACL reconstruction is 6-12 months, or more with physical therapy.
How serious is a torn ACL in a dog?
Learn what a torn ACL means for your dog and how to treat it. A torn ACL is one of the most common orthopedic injuries in dogs. Just like a torn ACL in a person, these are fairly serious injuries that require time, rest, and immobilization to recover.
Can an xray show a torn ACL in a dog?
Pet owners regularly question why we take X-rays to diagnose an ACL tear. After all, an ACL is “soft tissue”, and you can't see it on X-rays. This is actually a very valid point.
How much does it cost to put a dog to sleep UK 2020?
When it's time to say goodbye to your dog, you will usually be charged between £30 and £50 to have them put to sleep at the vets. Some vets might do home visits, and this will set you back between £70 and £100.
How much does an MRI for a dog cost?
An MRI costs about $800. This is similar to, but cheaper than, the cost for a person." But where the government covers most human health care related expenses, there are no Medicare rebates for animals. Despite the intimidating bills, demand for specialist veterinary expertise keeps growing.
What happens if you cant afford vet bills UK?
You can contact the RSPCA or Blue Cross to see if they can offer help, or your local vet may be able to offer you an affordable payment plan. We would recommend getting insurance, as this can be a big help with unexpected veterinary bills.
Does my dog really need ACL surgery? ›
A torn ACL in dogs is one of the most common dog injuries. A torn ACL requires rest, immobilization, and sometimes surgery. It is entirely possible for a dog to recover from an ACL tear without surgery. Many dogs heal through surgery alternatives like orthopedic braces and supplements.What happens if I don't get my dog ACL surgery? ›
Without surgery, the body tries to stabilize the wobbly knee with scar tissue. Unfortunately, this is hardly ever strong enough to keep the knee stable. tissue limits range of motion. The more scar tissue, the stiffer the joint — the dog or cat cannot bend or extend the knee all the way.What is the success rate of ACL surgery in dogs? ›
The success rate with surgery is about 90% (meaning that most dogs return to good or excellent function following surgery and proper post-operative care).Can a dog be OK with a torn ACL? ›
Sometimes surgery isn't necessary and it's a much better option than leaving their leg to heal on its own. With the right care and treatment, your dog can live a happy, healthy life even after an ACL tear.How long can my dog go without ACL surgery? ›
Without surgery, the lameness caused by a partially torn or ruptured ACL will improve or go away completely in many dogs, especially small ones. You can expect this to happen within three to six weeks. That doesn't mean sit around and let your dog suffer for a month and a half. They still need special care from you.How long can you wait for dog ACL surgery? ›
The sooner surgery is performed after injury the better. Waiting only allows the progression of arthritis. I have seen owners wait six months after the injury before requesting surgery. Many dogs have recovered uneventfully.What is an alternative to ACL surgery? ›
The Trusted Alternative to ACL Surgery – the Perc-ACLR
The Perc-ACLR is a highly precise, x-ray guided injection of both bundles of the damaged ACL with the patient's own bone marrow concentrate.
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.What happens if my dog doesn't get TPLO surgery? ›
The anatomy of a dog's knee is much different than a human's, so much more damage can be done if TPLO surgery isn't performed on a dog. A severe case of osteoarthritis could develop, additional meniscal tearing could occur and other side effects may be present if TPLO surgery is avoided.What percentage of ACL surgeries fail? ›
Approximately 200,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures occur in the United States annually. Primary ACL reconstruction is recognized as a successful procedure, but failure has been shown to occur in approximately 10% of patients.
Is knee surgery worth it for dogs? ›
When the cranial cruciate ligament is torn, surgical stabilization of the knee joint is often required, especially in larger or more active dogs. Surgery is generally recommended as quickly as possible to reduce permanent, irreversible joint damage and relieve pain.Do dogs recover well from ACL surgery? ›
You may think that your dog's TPLO surgery is a tedious process and that recovery takes time. But there's no need for you to worry because a dog ACL injury is similar to what happens when humans get a knee injury. As long as they receive the proper care, they can recover and get back to their normal routine.What happens if you don't repair a torn ACL? ›
If nothing is done, the ACL injury may turn into chronic ACL deficiency. Your knee may become more and more unstable and may give out more often. The abnormal sliding within the knee also can hurt cartilage. It can trap and damage the menisci in the knee and can also lead to early osteoarthritis.How much pain is a dog in with a torn ACL? ›
At the moment when the ACL tears, a dog will experience sudden pain and often hold their leg up. Depending on the severity of the tear, they may then avoid putting any weight on the leg for a day or so, and when they do use it again will have a limp that often continues for several weeks.How can I help my dog's ACL without surgery? ›
- Physical therapy.
- Chiropractic adjustments.
- Use of a leg brace.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Anti-inflammatory supplements.
When your dog comes home after their ACL surgery, restrict their activity according to your vet's recommendations. Your vet will likely suggest no running, jumping, or stair-climbing for several weeks. Usually, the veterinarian will recommend strict crate rest for the first 10-14 days for incision healing.Can I wait 3 months for ACL surgery? ›
Other researchers who have looked at this issue have concluded from their studies that reconstruction should take place between three and 12 months after the injury.Should or should not get ACL surgery? ›
If your knee is unstable, surgery is usually recommended. If your knee is stable, nonsurgical options may suffice. Other determining factors include: Return to activities: If you must return to sports or other activities that require pivoting or sharp movements, ACL reconstruction surgery is usually recommended.Is it worth getting ACL surgery? ›
ACL reconstruction is generally recommended if: You're an athlete and want to continue in your sport, especially if the sport involves jumping, cutting or pivoting. More than one ligament is injured. You have a torn meniscus that requires repair.Is ACL surgery high risk? ›
Because ACL reconstruction is a surgical procedure, it carries certain risks, including: bleeding and blood clots. continued knee pain. disease transmission if the graft comes from a cadaver.
Can dogs use stairs with torn ACL? ›
Even something as small as running to the front door to greet visitors can cause more damage to their ACL. The only activity they should have is leashed trips outside to go to the bathroom. Don't let your dog climb stairs or jump on any furniture during their recovery period. They are on strict bed rest.How urgent is TPLO surgery? ›
Surgery is not urgent. However, the longer surgery is delayed, the longer your dog is in pain (remember, limping = pain), the worse arthritis gets etc. As time goes by, the ACL of the opposite leg can tear, and then you have a much bigger problem on your hands.Does my dog really need TPLO surgery? ›
Why Is a TPLO Necessary? Because the TPLO procedure is a major orthopedic surgery, surgeons recommend it for dogs where not having the surgery will be worse for the pet's health than having the surgery. In general, the TPLO has an excellent success rate.Is there an alternative to TPLO surgery? ›
Alternatives to TPLO: TTA and other techniques
Alternative surgical approaches to CCL rupture include tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA), extracapsular repair, and the Tightrope® method.
And while modern, minimally invasive surgical repairs of the ACL do a good job restoring control of these movements, the risk of re-tear remains higher than we would like, Dr. Gardner explains. In research studies, the risk of re-tear ranges from about 2% to 20%, depending on the patients studied.Is it easy to retear ACL after surgery? ›
Every surgically reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament can retear. The risk ranges from one or two percent to more than 20 percent. The replacement ligament (graft) chosen for your surgery can significantly increase or decrease your chance of a retear.Is life normal after ACL surgery? ›
Life immediately after an ACL tear can be uncomfortable. But, with proper treatment, dedication to recovery, and time, you should be able to return to your normal activities and resume your life mostly as it was before your injury.Will walking on a torn ACL make it worse? ›
Your knee is less stable with a torn ACL, and it will affect your gait as well as how your knee moves and bears the weight of your body. Walking on a torn ACL can cause additional damage to your knee, such as tears to the cartilage of the knee and worsening the ACL tear.How long can I delay ACL surgery? ›
Various authors suggest that ACLR be performed at least 3 weeks after injury in order to avoid arthrofibrosis. More important than time alone, objective criteria including perioperative swelling, edema, hyperthermia, and ROM are important indicators of when surgery should be performed.Can you ignore torn ACL? ›
When you experience an ACL tear, you may be tempted to skip the doctor as long as you aren't in too much pain. However, an ACL tear that is left untreated can cause future injuries. The ACL stabilizes the knee. It plays a crucial role in our movements like changing direction, jumping, pivoting, or making sudden stops.
How can I help my dogs ACL heal without surgery? ›
- Physical therapy.
- Chiropractic adjustments.
- Use of a leg brace.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Anti-inflammatory supplements.
Leaving your dog alone after surgery can be hard on you, however, you may not know that giving them space will allow them to rest easier. You don't need to feel bad about leaving them alone, as long as otherwise stated by your vet, leaving them alone is perfectly okay.What happens if you don't do TPLO surgery? ›
The anatomy of a dog's knee is much different than a human's, so much more damage can be done if TPLO surgery isn't performed on a dog. A severe case of osteoarthritis could develop, additional meniscal tearing could occur and other side effects may be present if TPLO surgery is avoided.What are the disadvantages of ACL surgery? ›
knee pain – affects some people who have ACL surgery and is more likely to occur when the patellar tendon is used as graft tissue; you may have pain behind your kneecap or when kneeling down or crouching. knee weakness and stiffness – some people experience long-term weakness or stiffness in their knee.