Treatment for a Dog With Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament?


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My 9-year-old Lab/Chow mix dog recently sustained a tear in his anterior cruciate ligament in his right rear leg. Our vet recommended surgery, I have read articles that say in a dog his age, we should let it heal naturally. Has anyone in this group had this experience? He limps when walking, but doesn't seem in pain otherwise.


By Marcie from Prairie du Sac, WI

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October 13, 20100 found this helpful

Check this out, there's a fairly detailed description on the injury:

This is a tough call; if the ligament is only partially torn it may heal on its own if your guy is the inactive type; if he's overweight, which would put more stress on it, or active, which could worsen the tear, you could be looking at a permanent limp without surgery. It is comparable to a human with a knee injury, and painful. Though the dog may appear to be in minimal pain, it brings to mind something our vet once told us when we had a Golden who suddenly (we thought) began looking uncomfortable.


In our case, tests confirmed our dog had cancer, and had it for a while with no apparent symptoms. Our vet said it's not uncommon for a dog to basically put on the brave face and not make an issue of even intense physical pain; that's a survival instinct in them that throws back to pack life, when showing weakness could mean being left behind, or destroyed by the others.

In other words, when we see a dog showing physical discomfort, it's usually an indicator that there's significant pain going on. I think if it were my dog, I'd really ask the vet again for more info on the extent of the tear and if you're not satisfied with the answer, get a second opinion before you decide whether to schedule surgery or not.

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October 13, 20100 found this helpful

Hello, I have worked for a Veterinarian for over 27 years. The only treatment for an ACL is surgery. Your dog will be in pain until the surgery is done.


This is a very common problem in your dog's breed. Please have the surgery done so your baby can be pain free. Good luck.

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October 14, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, My Cocker Spaniel suffered a torn cruciate 3 years ago. We did not have surgery. We put her on very limited activity for 4 weeks (no jumping or going up/down stairs). We also started her on Joint max triple strength soft chews we ordered from She is like a new dog, she does limp on rare occasions, and when that happens, we put her on limited activity until she feels better. It has been over 3 years and she is an active, happy dog.

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Pets Dogs HealthOctober 11, 2010
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