There are a few reasons why some dogs develop CCL injuries, and the worry when they have torn one cruciate ligament, either partially or completely, is that they are at risk for tearing the other.
A major reason for this is that the good leg has to bear more weight when they are limping and gets placed under extra stress.
Studies have shown that anywhere between 50 and 80% of dogs with a cruciate injury in one leg will injure the other in less than two years.
How’s your dog’s overall health and diet?
Overweight and obese animals are particularly at risk for CCL ruptures and needing to have a TPLO surgery.
This often to occurs due to excess weight on the knees, which causes more thrusting of the lower limb, causing the CCL to degenerate and potentially tear.
Is your dog a weekend warrior?
Another class of dogs that tend to be prone to CCL tears are known as “weekend warriors,” especially those of the breeds mentioned previously.
These dogs tend to undergo occasional heavy exercise, such as spending their days going on short leash walks during the week but hiking or playing fetch heavily on the weekend while the family is home from work and school.
Is your dog spayed or neutered?
Some studies have linked cruciate injuries to the age at which dogs are spayed or neutered. Roughly 5% of males neutered before they turn 12 months old and 8% of females may develop a cruciate injury.
Especially in a large dog, this should be kept in consideration with other factors, such as when the dog will come into heat, to help you decide when he or she should be neutered.
How often do you check your dog for lame or sore limbs?
With many of these dogs, gradual damage can occur to the cruciate ligament, with your dog showing no outward signs of problems for a long period of time.
Eventually, the ligament degenerates until it tears partially or completely, which can occur with as little as one misstep.