One of the most common injuries for an old or obese dog is a tear or rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament, or the CCL. This important ligament provides the majority of support for a dog’s knee, and therefore takes on a lot of stress throughout the day, especially in dogs who are on the older or heavier side. Knowing how this ligament is affected by age, weight and activity level is crucial to keeping an eye out for your pup’s health and avoiding weeks or even months of painful walking for your pooch.  What is the CCL? The CCL is, on a basic level, the dog’s version of the human anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. Anyone who follows sports knows that this ligament will more often than not be the cause of a season-ending injury for an athlete, and it is quite important in stabilizing the body. However, this structure is far more complex in dogs than it is in humans, and because of this, damage can be harder to spot, especially since there are varying degrees of injury to the CCL.  High-Risk Dogs Because of the importance of the CCL in stabilizing your dog, partial tears often develop over time, meaning that older dogs and dogs who have more than a few extra pounds on them are more likely to exhibit signs of a CCL tear, either partial or complete. Additionally, certain dog breeds are more susceptible to CCL tearing than others, these breeds include: Rottweiler Newfoundland Mastiff St. Bernard Labrador Retriever Signs of a Rupture Typical signs that your dog has suffered a tear in the CCL are that the dog is slow to get up or does not sit comfortably, but rather off to one side. If a partial CCL tear is present on both knees, this condition can be much harder to spot because it will likely be even on both legs. If any of these symptoms appear, or if you think that your dog might be having difficulty moving around, jumping or playing, be sure to consult a veterinarian quickly, as this issue can only get worse over time.  As common an ailment as a CCL tear can be, it can still be quite difficult to spot and take seriously from a dog owner’s perspective. Signs which are often attributed simply to “old age” can have a serious adverse affect on your dog’s health and wellness. Keeping on eye on your dog’s mobility, especially if he or she is at a higher risk for CCL damage, can mean saving your dog from weeks of painful motion and a very long recovery time once...

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