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Dr Harry

09 Jun 2020

Dr Harry: How to tell if your dog has torn its ACL

Much like athletes, dogs can damage their cruciate ligament too. In fact, according to WebMD, it’s one of the most common orthopaedic injuries found in canines after hip dysplasia. If you suspect your dog has injured their cruciate ligament, but aren’t too sure, here are a few of Dr Harry’s tell-tale signs to look out for.

“The most common problem we see today is the ACL. Footballers do it and our dogs seem to do it as well.  So, what is an ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament? It’s part of the dog’s knee joint and it’s something [an injury] that we see a lot.”

How do we know when a dog has injured its ACL?

“Normally speaking the dog will be running in a direction, will turn and often you’ll hear the dog cry out and the dog will present with a lame leg. The dog will hold the leg up, then sometimes just touch the toes on the ground, but that’s about all the weight the dog will put on the joint.”

How does the injury usually occur and when should it be treated?

“Dogs do it when they’re turning suddenly, or they stop very quickly. It’s something that you should get looked at very quickly because if you leave it, you’re going to get arthritic change. So…. number one you’ve got to fix it as soon as possible and the earlier you fix it the fewer problems you’re likely to have later on…. These days I think you can opt for your own vet to do it or you can opt for a special surgeon to do it.”

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Any general advice provided by Dr Harry Cooper in relation to Woolworths Pet Insurance is provided as an Authorised Representative of Hollard through an arrangement with Woolworths AR No. 1000933.

Woolworths Pet Insurance is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436 (Hollard), is promoted and distributed by Hollard’s Authorised Representative (AR) Woolworths Group Limited ABN 88 000 014 675, AR 245476 and is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS and Target Market Determination available at