One of the most common maladies in Labrador health is a ruptured cruciate ligament (ACL). This occurs when the ligament is torn and the joint between becomes unstable. At this point, the femur and tibia can move back and forth across each other causing severe discomfort.
The ACL is commonly torn when your Labrador twists on one of its hind legs, putting too much tension on the ligament and causing it to rupture. This often occurs if your Labrador slips on a slick surface, makes a quick turn while running or is hit by an automobile.
Obesity is another common issue in Labrador health and can also put too much weight on the knee. Overweight Labradors tend to have more instances of ruptured cruciate ligaments than dogs with ideal weight numbers. It appears that in most Labradors with this problem, the ACL slowly degenerates and becomes weaker until it tears without any sudden injury.
If your Labrador ruptured their cruciate ligament, they will appear much less lively. They will usually hold the foot of the affected leg a few inches off the ground. Some may start to use the leg again, but the pain will return and your Labrador will repeat the symptoms. Labradors with a degenerating ACL may show the same signs of pain and there may be some swelling on or near the joint.
Diagnosis of a torn ACL is made through observing abnormal movement of the joint. If your Labrador is in a lot of pain or very nervous, the muscles near the knee may be so tense that they prevent the abnormal movement from occurring, causing your veterinarian trouble diagnosing. If your vet suspects a ruptured cruciate ligament in your Labrador but can not feel the bones moving, your pet may be sedated to relax the muscles and then re-examined.
If the ACL is completely torn, Labradors are generally treated with surgery. After the surgery, your Labrador should be strictly confined up to eight weeks to ensure Labrador health. After about ten days, most Labradors will start putting minimal weight on the injured leg. It is extremely important to be careful with your pet to prevent the surgical correction from tearing. The veterinarian’s instructions regarding the recovery period should be followed exactly.
More than likely, your Labrador will recover fully and be ready to romp and play within a few months. They will pain-free and enjoying life again!