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Diagnosing a CCL tear in Dogs

We get asked this question a lot, and wanted to see if we can answer some questions on diagnosing a CCL tear.  Is it necessary to have a diagnosis before purchasing a brace?  Answer:  Yes!  There are many other things, like sprains, hip joint pain, spinal issues, tumors, and nerve issues like DM that can cause hind lime lameness other than a ruptured CCL.

At your appointment with the veterinarian, they will most likely want to do what is called a drawer test.  Please note:  this could worsen the injury if not done properly, or with sedation, and is very painful.  Some patients will let out a yelp, or limp much worse after the examination.

Your veterinarian may also want to do some radiographs during the initial examination.  These can show gaps, space, swelling, and rule out tumors in older patients.  I do recommend radiographs for any patient over 8 years old.

MRI is the absolute best way to diagnose, however, this can cost upwards of $1,000, and may be hard to find someone to do this.

Find a veterinarian that is gentle, and will do a thorough exam ruling out the other injuries.  This is the best method, and least painful for your pup.  Also, try taking the last appointment of the afternoon when possible, or the first in the morning, as this is when most veterinarians are less likely to be in a “rush.”  Right before lunch break, or in the late morning/afternoon can be rushed due to their surgical load that day, or if they have other patients that have been dropped off to be seen.

We leave the diagnosis up to our clients, it is not required, however, I do recommend at least finding a holistic minded veterinarian to help you!

Nikki, Posh Lead Veterinary Technician


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