Cruciate Ligament injury in Dogs

When your dog starts lifting one of their back legs continuously, there’s a very good chance your dog has a cruciate ligament injury. Our products at Quincysdogs products were designed to assist with the recovery.

So you may wonder - what exactly is a cruciate ligament injury in dogs?

There are ligaments in both the back legs that hold the knees together. As dogs are very active, they could have been running and done a sudden sharp turn… this may have caused them to accidently tripped and twist their knee.  This may well have damaged the ligament and how the injury could have first occurred. You will also notice that the dog is very reluctant to bear weight on one specific leg and chances are that it will be very painful for the dog if they did. Overweight dogs are also very susceptible to cruciate injuries.

If you do notice your dog limping, the first thing we recommend is that you urgently seek professional advice and speak to a veterinary practice straight away.  You will not necessarily need to have surgery as a cruciate ligament can be treated without surgery, depending on how severe it is.  This is normally where your vet will advise you.

Here are some of the classic signs to look out for:


  • Limping on one of the back legs

  • Stiffness getting up when laying down

  • Swelling near the knee area

  • Dog seems to be in pain in back legs

When a cruciate ligament occurs, there can be either a small tear to the ligament or it can be a complete rupture. The dog at this stage, will avoid using the injured leg and the weight is borne only on the good leg.   This will very quickly cause muscle atrophy (muscle wastage) to occur in the damaged leg and normally what happens next is that the good leg will suffer from bearing the extra weight. In a majority of cases, the good leg will end up with a cruciate ligament injury within a year.

Your vet will help you decide what’s the best options: surgery or no surgery.

Where surgery is not necessary, its important to build muscles around the affected area but just as important to keep the strain off the cruciate ligament injury leg. This is extremely difficult as it is recommended that walks are kept small and that strict rest with little to no walking is the main priority.

Sounds very confusing and it is! This is where our products come into their own, be it the Spero, GenX harness or the Belly slings. The GenX is definitely the most popular product here and secondly the belly slings. By using the handles at the rear of the GenX harness or placing a belly sling around the tummy area, you take some of the weight off the rear, assisting your dog when going for walks. This allows them to walk a bit further and allows the recovery process to take place. Have a look at the videos on our website to see how they can help.

There is great video on our home page showing a Newfoundland being handled by an elderly owner. You will notice that the owner uses very little effort; however when she lets go of the handles, the dog instantly collapses. Another important point here is that the dog is a giant breed dog whereas the handler is an elderly female and yet, even she is able to walk this dog.

Once the dog starts to recover and the walks get longer, it’s still very import to remember that they were previously injured and therefore, it is recommend avoiding strenuous exercises which causes them to skid, such as ball chasing where they may make sharp turns. It’s also advisable to keep the dog at a good weight to avoid the extra strain on their joints.

We hope this small bit of information has given you an insight to what a canine cruciate injury is. If you see your dog limping, please immediately seek advice from a professional veterinary centre. It may be nothing but its best to be safe.