Chances are if you have been a pet owner for any length of time, you have experienced a pet with an ACL injury. Tearing the ACL in dogs is, unfortunately, one of the most common injuries a dog will experience today. Like us humans, ACL tears happen and sometimes unexpectedly during routine activities.
There are a number reasons why a dog may rupture their ACL. Repetitive stress is the most common culprit. Many pet owners love throwing a tennis ball for their dog to chase because retrieving is a natural instinct in many canine breeds. However, this repetitive motion and abrupt changes in direction, can lead to injuries in the stifle joint over time.
Furthermore, the strain a dog puts on their muscles and joints throughout their lifetime may lead to wear and tear that causes the ligament to give out over time. Many dogs, often your weekend warriors (that aren’t properly conditioned), will have a higher injury rate.
There are several common causes and many of them are preventable.
Not Enough Exercise
Getting plenty of exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent a torn ACL in dogs. A lack of regular activity can cause your dog to develop loose or weak joints, muscles and ligaments. Consistent and varied exercise is one of the best ways to prevent ACL tears in dogs.
A Few Extra Pounds
As in people, every extra pound puts four pounds of pressure on our knees. Extra weight makes dogs more susceptible to ACL injuries, leading to more wear and tear on joints and surrounding tissues.
Our busy and active lifestyle here in Colorado can also contribute. We lead busy lives, especially during the week. General inactivity during the week, followed by intense activity on weekends may cause a pet to overdo it and increase the risk for injury.