How to diagnose cruciate ligament injuries in dogs?

When you are in a dog park on a busy day, you will surely see a dog or two who has cruciate ligament injuries. Most of the time, it is the lameness of the hind leg where the dog cannot walk or run normally.



It is very difficult to diagnose cruciate ligament injuries in dogs without surgery and other in-depth tests because various medical conditions like arthritis, bone cancer, joint strain, muscle strain, or hip dysplasia have similar symptoms.

What are cruciate ligament injuries?


As the name suggests, Cruciate ligament injuries are ligament injuries in the hind leg. This cruciate disease is more commonly explained as the progressive damage to the cruciate ligament that will result in partial or complete knee failure. It is also one of the biggest causes of knee arthritis.


Early signs of cruciate ligament injuries?

The patient's history reveals that the dog was running or walking and suddenly stopped because of excruciating pain. Most of the time, there is no fall or accident. The dog starts crying because of the unbearable pain that starts out of nowhere. As a result, the dog cannot put pressure on one leg, and only the toe touches the ground while walking.


How to diagnose cruciate ligament injuries?


1. Preliminary checkup

A vet will perform a specific movement test called the anterior or cranial drawer sign. The dog will feel immense pain from this movement test; that's why events administer complete sedation to keep the free form pain. The movement will reveal whether there is an issue with the cruciate ligament.


2. X-ray

An X-ray is not the ultimate answer and usually doesn't reveal the nature and presence of this issue. To diagnose cruciate ligament injuries, vets need to perform more routines. But the x-ray will reveal the effusion around the joint. The presence of fluid around the joint is called effusion, which means there has been an injury in this part.


3. MRI and open surgical test

The most authentic method to diagnose cruciate ligament injuries in dogs is MRI and open surgery. Vets usually like to perform an MRI scan of the dog to get an accurate picture of the injury and the situation. The MRI reveals the status, and vets come to know about the actual damage.


If there are some complications, the final method and ultimate procedure is open surgery. This way, vets can see the damage and identify the problem with the ultimate diagnosis. Most pet owners try to go for the open surgery method when they want the repair of the cruciate ligament along with the test.

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