Canine Cruciate Ligament Disease

By Collen Lum, LVT

Also Known As, Bolt-Yelp-Three Leg Syndrome

Jake going over cavaletti poles. This exercise improves range of motion and balance after surgery.

Jake the Whippet is improving his range of motion and balance by walking over cavaletti poles after his surgery.

It’s a nice, crisp, fall morning and you’re looking out through your window drinking a hot cup of coffee and your Labrador is beside you begging to go outside, so you open the door. He bolts out, jumping the decks steps towards an invading critter (i.e. squirrel, rabbit, unicorn, etc.)  and you hear a yelp. Sure enough he comes trotting back holding up one of his hind limbs. Sound familiar? More than likely, he injured his cranial cruciate ligament; possibly one of the most common stifle (knee) injuries in the dog.

The cranial cruciate ligament is one of the most important stabilizers of the knee joint in dogs, connecting the largest two bones in the hind limb together, and when it is injured can cause a lot of instability and pain. When it is torn, it is usually a result of slow degeneration (aging) that has been taking place over a few months or even years rather than the result of sudden trauma to a healthy ligament.