A dog with a catheter in its paw is lying on the operating table in a veterinary clinic. A Cocker Spaniel dog is awaiting surgery. A veterinarian is administering an anesthetized dog.

What You Need to Know About ACL Surgery for Your Dog

Dog cruciate surgery, also known as ACL surgery, is the most commonly performed orthopedic surgery for dogs every year. The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament found in a dog’s hind leg, is an important ligament that connects the rear of the femur to the front of the tibia and keeps the joint stable. When the ACL is torn, the joint becomes unstable and cause a dog to walk with a limp. There are a number of reasons as to why dogs tear their ACL, but the main cause is repetitive strain on the ligament. A visit to the veterinarian in Bend is your first priority after your dog tears its ACL. Here’s what you need to know about ACL surgery for your dog.

What is ACL Surgery for Dogs?

When a dog tears its ACL, it destabilizes the affected joint in the leg and causes your dog to limp and favor the leg. ACL surgery for dogs involves suturing the damaged portion of the tendon back together so it can heal properly. A torn ACL is unlikely to heal on its own due to the overall action and strain put on the joint as a dog moves it. The best way to help your dog heal after tearing its ACL is to bring them to the veterinarian in Bend for an evaluation and set up an appointment for surgery.

There are three common types of surgery performed on the ACL. They include:

  • Extracapsular or lateral suture technique
  • Tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO)
  • Tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA)

The type of surgery the veterinarian in Bend applies to your dog’s ACL depends on the presentation of the tear. Each type of surgery approaches the tear in a different fashion, and the dog vet in Bend will use the type of surgery that’s going to have the best outcome. The goal of surgery is to get the tear to heal and re-stabilize the joint so your dog can return to living its best life.

What to Expect After ACL Surgery

Most dogs recover nicely after surgery and go on to live normal lives, acting as if nothing ever happened. However, you should listen closely to what the dog vet in Bend has to say about your dog’s prognosis after the surgery has been done. It takes four to six weeks for your dog to heal, and the healing process involves limiting your dog’s activity during this time. Keeping your dog quiet is crucial to proper healing of the surgical site and restoring stability to the joint.

Your dog will most likely be quiet and uninterested in food during the first 24-36 hours after surgery. However, you should keep your dog crated to minimize their movement and prevent them from tearing their stitches open. You’ll also have to keep an eye on the wound site and stitches and keep them clean to prevent infection and encourage healing of the site. The only time your dog should be walked is when they need to go outside for toileting. You may see your dog limp for some time after surgery, but this is normal and expected as healing progresses. Make sure to follow the surgical aftercare instructions provided to you by your dog vet in Bend and come in for follow-up appointments as scheduled to track healing progress.