Cruciate ligament injuries and hydrotherapy

One of the most common injuries we see here at Barkers K9 Hydrotherapy are cruciate ligament injuries. These are often cuased by a dog running, jumping or twisting and causing the ligament to tear or rupture.

The cranial cruciate ligament originates on the outside of the femur and crosses the knee joint at to attach at the front, inside of the tibia. This job of this ligament is to prevent the forward movement of the tibia, and hyperextension of the knee. This type of injury results in instability of the knee and over time will progress to arthritis or degenerative joint disease due to the instability of the joint.

Many dogs with this condition undergo some form of surgical repair and hydrotherapy is now recognised as an ideal form of recuperative therapy for these dogs, although they are unable to excercise fully on land the water allows for minimal or no weight bearing on the limb whilst allowing them to extend their legs fully in the water and build up muscle around the joint . It is important that your vet has assessed the dog post operatively and is happy that they are ready to commence hydrotherapy as too much excercise too early is not advisable.

Regardless of whether your dog has surgery or whether the injury is conservativly managed, one of the most important things long term is to ensure joint stability which requires good muscle tone around the joint. Hydrotherapy is perfectly placed to help improve muscle tone without undue stress on the injured joint and has the added bonus of benefitting the cardiovascular system and helping with optimum weight control which can be ticky when a dog is unable to excercise fully on land.

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