How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24396
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
55012488
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Michael Salkin is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How do you know if a dog's ACL is torn?

Customer Question

How do you know if a dog's ACL is torn?
Submitted: 12 days ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 days ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 days ago.

It can be tricky. Generally there's a history of peracute (sudden) trauma such as stepping off a curb awkwardly or stepping into a hole in the ground. You might see swelling of the joint to the point that it looks markedly different than the normal knee. Palpation of the knee and finding a positive anterior draw or tibial thrust sign and X-rays revealing the popliteal sesamoid bone displaced distally if tibial compression is done, joint effusion (excessive joint fluid), and misalignment of the femur in relationship to the tibia are all indications of an ACL.

Are you glad I'm such a pedant?!

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I'm thoroughly confused ��
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 days ago.

Why are you confused? You'll see lameness and possibly swelling of the knee. I'll find instability in that joint when I play with it and X-rays will show changes in the joint and surrounding bones.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Do you, personally, treat it with surgery?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 days ago.

No, I'm a medicine guy. I have a surgeon perform that surgery. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I mean...how would you treat it? I'm asking because my boxer tore hers on Monday night.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 days ago.

Yes, it's treated surgically. Conservative therapy results in a badly osteoarthritic dog. The joint must be stabilized surgically.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
How is the surgery performed? What does it entail?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 days ago.

There are quite a few techniques to choose from. The surgeon will evaluate the conformity of Molly's bones and joint and decide if the bones need to be remodeled or a synthetic ligament alone will suffice. Here's a good lay review for you: http://www.petful.com/pet-health/dog-acl-injuries/

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
How long is the surgery?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 days ago.

A board specialist surgeon can perform the most complicated of the surgeries in a hour. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Should I jump right into surgery or wait it out for a bit?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 5 days ago.

The longer you wait, the quicker the unstable joint will become osteoarthritic. These don't get better in time.