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  • Writer's pictureCristina Macke

4 Signs of Knee Injury in Dogs

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

"Conservative management may help your dog avoid surgery, but even if your dog has surgery for their knee issue, physical therapy will give your pet the best chance of a full recovery and will help you avoid future injury to both knees."

Animal medicine is performing miracles in the lives of our four-legged friends. Cutting-edge surgeries, pre- and post-operative rehab, and conservative management have the power to take your pet along a path of recovery that can turn a debilitating injury into a minor speed bump. It is important for you to catch signs of injury early and seek proper care from a specialist when issues do arise. By doing this, you will ensure that common canine injuries are handled quickly and completely, instead of letting chronic issues fester. Below are a few tips to help you identify knee injuries in your dog.


1. Abnormal gait

If your dog has a knee injury, the most likely sign will be a limp or a gait abnormality. This may be the result of pain, instability, or both, and limping is your dog’s attempt to reduce these symptoms.

A limp can be as simple as a slight hop or the use of the inside leg when turning. On the other hand, it could be more serious, and your dog could be avoiding weight bearing altogether. In either case, gait abnormalities are evidence that something is amiss.

2. Difficulty jumping

Dog owners often notice injuries when their pets’ behavior changes. One telltale sign of a possible CCL injury is increased difficulty jumping onto the bed or into a vehicle. You may notice that your dog is trying to jump in a different way than normal. Perhaps they are using only their good leg or are trying to use their front limbs to boost themselves up. Maybe they can jump, but it looks different than normal.

If your dog has a knee injury, jumping and landing can make the injury worse, so don’t let them keep doing it. Consult a vet as soon as possible.

3. Clicking during walking

If you hear a clicking sound when your dog walks, there may something wrong with the knee, especially if the clicking appears out of the blue. Clicking can be the result of ligament movement or bone-on-bone contact, both of which should be medically evaluated.

4. Asymmetric sitting or movement

If your dog always sits using one leg or has one leg sticking out when sitting, this could be a sign of a knee injury. You may also notice asymmetry when your dog moves, sits, lays, or stands. Such asymmetries may result from your dog attempting to guard their unstable joint or to keep weight to a tolerable level.


How can physical therapy help your dog’s knee injury?

CANINE PHYSICAL THERAPY is a highly effective treatment option for many knee injuries, whether or not your dog has surgery. Conservative management may help you avoid surgery, but even if your dog has surgery for their knee issue, physical therapy will give your pet the best chance of a full recovery and will help you avoid further injury to both knees. Physical therapy following surgery will help you protect the investment you’ve made in your dog’s knee health, and it is the gold standard of care for your pet.

Even after injury and surgery, your dog can continue to live an active, healthy, pain-free life, and you can get back to doing what you love with your best friend.

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