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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28934
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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How do you know if a dog's ACL is torn?

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

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.

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 8 months ago.
I'm thoroughly confused ��

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 8 months ago.
Do you, personally, treat it with surgery?

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

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I would you treat it? I'm asking because my boxer tore hers on Monday night.

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

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
How is the surgery performed? What does it entail?

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:

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
How long is the surgery?

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

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Should I jump right into surgery or wait it out for a bit?

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

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