CRUCIATE LIGAMENT ISSUES AND YOUR DOG

Stability within the stifle joint comes from the crossing over of cranial and caudal cruciate ligaments within the joint, ensuring that the bones have limited movement in relation to each another.

The dog’s knee or stifle joint is relatively unstable as none of the bones involved in the joint interlock; instead, the femur or thigh bone and the tibia of the shin are joined together with several ligaments.

If a dog tears one or both of the joint ligaments; and it is the cranial cruciate ligament that is more predisposed to injury, the affected joint becomes unstable. As such the bones of the joint move abnormally in relation to one another – leading to tissue damage, inflammation, pain and an inability to weight bear.

Cruciate ligament disease refers to the acute or progressive failure of the cruciate ligament, resulting anywhere between partial to complete instability of the dog’s stifle joint.

Cruciate ligament rupture refers to the partial or complete tearing of the ligament. When affecting the cranial cruciate ligament, it constitutes the most common cause of hind leg lameness as well as a major cause of the progressive and permanent deterioration of joint cartilage in the stifle joint. Ligament damage can also be caused by a degenerating ligament which tears during normal everyday activity.

In a significant proportion of animals, ligament rupture is as a result of long term degeneration of the ligaments fibres over time, general wear and tear, conformation issues or previous injury; all capable of triggering a number of issues that will result in pain and subsequent lameness; with osteoarthritis already present within the joint.

The use of myotherapy to support cruciate issues

On the whole the likely recommended treatment for cruciate ligament injury will be surgical repair; with prognosis after surgery considered to be good.

Galen Myotherapy© has an important role to play in any post-operative treatment plan; capable of addressing the correct rehabilitation of tissues as well as the needs of the dog’s entire body. An holistic approach ensures that possible compensatory issues or areas of referred pain prior to surgery do not impact on the dog’s future mobility.

Injured muscles can heal very slowly and often with incomplete functional recovery; however appropriate tissue therapy intervention can have a profound effect on the formation of health tissue following injury.  

Myotherapy for the post-operative patient focuses on reducing recovery time by speeding up the natural healing process.

  • Controlling pain
  • Reducing swelling
  • Enhancing both blood and lymph circulation

Treatment will also speed up the dog’s ability to weight bear of the affected limb by building up atrophied muscle around the joint, whilst maintain an effective range of joint motion. Any compensatory issues that have developed over time in response to the dog's altered gait can also be treated.

In surgical cases the optimal time to begin treatment is two to three weeks post-operatively, however this will always be subject to individual cases and the progress of tissue healing - your veterinary surgeon will obviously advise in all cases of soft tissue healing.

To talk to me about Galen Myotherapy© and how it might help your dog, prior or post-operatively or following an injury, contact me here or find more details of myotherapy’s role in post-operative recovery and injury here.