It’s Nearly Summer! Be Aware of the CCL Tear…

CCL tear

Summer is approaching... Be weary of the CCL tear!

Summer is just around the corner and Colorado during the summertime is quite the place to be! Soon, Colorado citizens and tourists, along with their furry companions, alike will be racing to the mountains during the weekends to get their hiking and outdoors fix. However, with great weather comes a greater risk of injury for some. As the weather warms and people engage in more outdoor activities with their dogs, the chances of a dog injuring his or her leg via Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) tear dramatically increases. CCL’s are ligaments within a dog’s knee that provide stability; they function similarly to the human Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). A CCL tear is one of the most common injuries among dogs in the summer due to increased outside activity.


Who’s at risk? 

While cats can tear their CCL’s, dogs are significantly more prone to this injury. While dogs of all ages and breeds can be affected, certain dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers are more vulnerable to tearing their CCL’s than others.  


How can you prevent orthopedic injury? 

  • Maintain your pet’s body weight: Keeping your pet within a healthy weight range will reduce the amount of stress on his or her knees. 

  • Reduce jumping from heights: Disallowing them from jumping on/off bigger objects will reduce their chances of tearing their CCL’s.  

  • Avoid slippery surfaces: Running on wet grass or other slippery surfaces can be dangerous for dogs and increase their chances of injury. 

  • Warm up: Just like with humans, it is best to have your dog warm up with light movement or play before delving into more physically demanding activities. 


How do you know if your dog tore his/her CCL? 

  • Sudden and immediate yelp during physical activity. 

  • Your dog is unable to bear weight on his or her leg. 

  • There is swelling around his or her knee. 


What to do if you think your dog has a CCL tear. 

If you think your dog may have torn their CCL, the best thing you can do is consult a veterinarian specialist on whether a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) is necessary.  


How to care for a dog who had TPLO surgery. 

After having TPLO surgery, your dog’s activity should be restricted for eight full weeks unless informed otherwise. Jumping, rough play, and running should NOT be allowed. If you are unable to supervise your dog, he/she should be confined to a crate or small room. A sling should be used, if applicable, and wet/slippery surfaces must be avoided. Two weeks after the surgery, you may gradually increase your dog’s walks by 5 minutes each week, never surpassing 30 minutes by week 8. 



At Evolution Veterinary Specialists, we understand that pets are family and provide patients with superior veterinary care that you can rely on. Our veterinarians are incredibly experienced, and we can often perform TPLO surgeries to repair CCL’s same day.



34 Van Gordon St., Ste. 160  
Lakewood, CO 80228