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Dr. Lajos
Dr. Lajos, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 857
Experience:  DVM for 10 years, Emergency Medicine Experience, Veterinary Pathologist
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How do I know my dog has a torn ACL

Resolved Question:

How do I know my dog has a torn ACL?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Lajos replied 8 years ago.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer

There are a two classic signs/tests of a torn anterior cruciate ligament (AC) that can be determined on physical examination. The first is the positive cranial drawer sign/test, and the second is the positive tibial compression test. The positive cranial drawer sign/test is done by bending the dog's knee slightly with pressure applied to check for instability in the joint. The bones will move back and forward like a drawer in and out of a chest. The other test is the positive tibial compression test. It assesses the stability of the knee joint as well. If both of these tests are positive, i.e., instability is discovered, then it is considered diagnostic for a torn or ruptured ACL. It the test is done on a very large or heavily muscled dog, or a dog with a long standing rupture it may be difficult to get a positive test. Large dogs may have to be sedated to get a good test due to the amount of muscle and long standing injury often develops a lot of fibrous connective tissue (the bodies attempt at providing stability). If your dog is limping on one particular side, and or seems to carry one hind leg up all the time avoiding weight bearing it might be a torn/rupture ACL. If it is a recent injury there will likely be swelling at the joint/point of injury. You can try ice packing it with an ice pack wrapped in a towel A good physical examination by your vet can confirm the diagnosis.

I've attached a few links with additional information.

I hope this helps.

I am available for clarification if you have any further questions
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Would an NSAID help (like 81mg ASA) She is 23#
Expert:  Dr. Lajos replied 8 years ago.
Yes aspirin can be given, however there is the potential for significant side effects, such a gastrointestinal ulceration, bleeding and anorexia. 81mgs of buffered aspirin would not be too much and could be given up to 3 times a day. If a dog is on aspirin and develop signs of gastrointestinal bleeding (black, tarry feces; anorexia; or vomiting, especially coffee ground looking vomit), a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. There are much safer NSAIDs now available specially developed for dogs. Restricted activity for up to 8 weeks would also be advised with a mild injury.
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