home / pet health + safety / healthy bytes / fetch! blog / petplan explains cranial cruciate ligament injuries
Default image

petplan explains cranial cruciate ligament injuries

  • Dr. Nina
  • Posted by Dr. Nina Mantione on
    Staff Veterinarian and Underwriting Support of Petplan

Playing ball in the backyard? Catching Frisbees in the fields? Chasing a puck in the pasture? (Enough alliteration yet?)

Regular exercise for you and your pet is a must, but be aware that your canine quarterback can suffer from sports-related injuries in much the same ways as human athletes. In fact, the most common orthopedic injury in our dogs is directly analogous to one of the most well-known professional sports injuries – the dreaded ACL tear. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the supportive ligaments in the knee joint. Complete or partial tears of the ACL cause pain, swelling and often instability of the joint. In animals, because of a difference in anatomical terminology, we tend to use the term cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) more commonly, but the two terms are often used interchangeably.


So, how do these injuries occur in pets? Well, it usually takes a severe twisting or jarring motion to cause the CCL ligament to rupture, but studies suggest that around 75% of pets that suffer CCL tears have a degree of predisposition due to genetics, obesity, age or concurrent disease. Additionally, when one knee has suffered an injury, there’s a much increased chance of the other knee also suffering a tear within the next 12-28 months.


Fortunately, medical advances and better post-operative care mean that there’s never been a better chance of getting your superstar back on all four feet in record time. However, advanced surgical techniques like tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) and then after-care like hydrotherapy can come with a hefty price tag – surgery alone can top $5,000. When you consider that Americans spend over $1.2 billion dollars per year on CCL repairs alone, you can see why more pet owners are looking to pet insurance to help manage the financial trauma.


So, as head coach for your pooch:

  • Make sure they spend as little time on the bench as possible, make sure your pets stay lean and fit.

  • Look out for anyone that needs to go on the injury report; keep a keen watch out for any limping after exercise and contact your vet immediately.

  • Preparation before any big game is key; get a Petplan pet insurance policy in place BEFORE your pet runs into a problem. 
Add a comment here
  • *indicates required field

  • read more »
Email sent Close

Thanks for leaving a comment on this page. It will now be sent to our administrator for approval and should be added to this site shortly.

Posted by JJ Neimann
on February 20 2013 12:00

I sure wish I had pet insurance when my dog tore his ACL. The surgery was very expensive and with him being on the older side, I was nervous it was going to be too hard on him (and on my wallet). I opted for a brace from WoundWear as part of a conservative management regime. It's been great, but lesson learned; I now carry pet insurance--I have two other dogs and never want to be put in that situation again.

Posted by patricia bellows
on October 14 2011 17:17

my pet has had a CCL tear within the last 12 months on her right knee. Will coverage be excluded on her left knee as well as a pre-existing condition even though she has had no issues with the left knee. She has had surgery (TPLO) to repair her right knee.

policies by AGCS Marine Insurance Company, an Allianz company

our bloggers
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
  • Meet the panel
Dr. Ernie Ward, Jr.Veterinary Advisory Board of Petplan
vet tip of the week

Visit your vet at least once a year to keep your pet protected from preventable diseases.