Can A Dog Retear ACL After Surgery? (9 Menacing Facts)

People often express interest in knowing whether it is possible for a dog to retear ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) after surgery. This article provides a comprehensive answer.

Can a dog retear ACL after surgery? Yes, there is a possibility of a dog retearing ACL after surgery. Failure to adhere to the post-surgery care instructions increases chances of complications, such as retearing.

Cases in which dogs retear the ACL after surgery are typically due to the dogs jumping or making other improper movements before they have had time to heal properly.

But there are also cases in which dogs retear the ACL after surgery due to the eventual natural degradation. That is on account of wear and tear.

In rare cases, if the repair surgery is not done properly, the dog may retear the ACL on that account.

You can greatly reduce the chances of a dog retearing ACL after surgery by minimizing its movement after the surgery. That is until it heals properly.

Can a dog retear acl after surgery
Can A Dog Retear ACL After Surgery?

It is also essential to ensure that the dog gets the physical therapy it needs, after the surgery.

Then going forward, it is important to try to keep the dog at a healthy weight. This minimizes chances of ACL retearing greatly.

But before going any further in answering the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question, we first need to know what the ACL in question is.

We will then go further to understand how dogs tear their ACL. That too is critical, in answering the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question.

Further still, in the course of answering the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question, we will seek to understand what the surgery entails.

 

What Is The ACL?

As noted earlier, for us to be able to answer the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question properly, we first need to know what the ACL in question is.

In this context, the initials ACL stand for Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Thus the ACL is a ligament, somewhere around the dog’s leg’s tibia and femur meeting point. It helps in stabilizing the knee.

A ligament itself is a connective tissue (of fibrous nature), which connects bones and stabilizes them.

Therefore in this case, the ACL is a fibrous connective tissue, at the point at which the dog’s tibia and femur bones meet. It connects these bones and stabilizes them, and the knee by extension.

 

How Does A Dog Tear His ACL?

Another thing we need to have insight into, before proceeding to answer the can a dog retear ACL after surgery, is how dogs tear their ACLs.

This can also be helpful in answering other questions like, can a dog tear his ACL twice, can a dog tear the same ACL twice and so on.

So, indeed, how does a dog tear his ACL?

There are several ways in which a dog tears his ACL.

Sometimes, a dog tears his ACL due to wear and tear. So you find that over time, the dog’s ACL degrades due to the normal movements that a dog makes on a day to day basis.

This is more common in older dogs. With time, the ACL degrades, due to wear and tear. This then makes the ACL prone to tearing.

If my dog tore his ACL, and he is an older dog, this is the most likely reason I would be thinking of.

There are other cases in which dogs tear their ACLs due to exercise that is too intense. Certain games, for instance, entail the dog making forceful movements on and off.  These can in the end tear the dogs’ ACLs.

In dogs whose weight is excess, the ACLs end up bearing very huge loads. This can lead to tearing of the ACLs. Sometimes, you may even find that a dog tore both ACLs due to this.

There are also cases in which the ACL gets directly injured, resulting in its tearing.

This background knowledge will come in handy later, when answering questions like can a dog tear his ACL after surgery, can a dog retear an ACL and can dog tear same ACL twice.

 

What Does ACL Repair Surgery Entail?

There is yet another question we need to explore, before addressing the can a dog retear ACL after surgery one. That is on what the ACL repair surgery entails.

Now in some cases, ACL repair surgery entails suturing the torn ACL – as in the case of the traditional extracapsular lateral suture.

In other cases, ACL repair entails the use of implants to create stability, as in the case of the Tightrope technique.

There are also cases in which ACL repair entails cutting the tibial and femur bones in certain ways, and changing their movement dynamics so that the ligaments are no longer essential.

The Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) and Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) methods revolve around that.

Once you understand what ACL repair surgery entails, it becomes easier to figure out the chances of a dog re-injuring a torn CCL after surgery.

It also becomes easier to answer questions like, can you retear an ACL after the surgery, can dog tear ACL twice, can a dog re-Injure an ACL surgical repair and so on.

Further, understanding what the surgery entails is helpful in figuring out the pros and cons of dog ACL surgery.

At yet another level, once you know what the surgery entails, you are better placed to answer the question on which ACL surgery is best for dogs.

But now we have the necessary background info. We can thus proceed to answer the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question.

 

Can A Dog Retear ACL After Surgery?

Sometimes, you may notice that your dog is still limping after ACL repair surgery.

That then gets you wondering, why is my dog still limping after ACL surgery? Or why is the dog limping again after ACL repair surgery? Is it that the dog ACL surgery didn t work?

Or why exactly is the dog limping after ACL surgery?

And that in turn is what leads to questions like, can a dog retear ACL after surgery? Can you retear your ACL after surgery?

All these questions are understandable.

But what is the true position? Can a dog retear ACL after surgery?

The simple answer is ‘yes’. It is theoretically possible for a dog to retear ACL after surgery.

If, for instance, the dog jumped on couch after ACL surgery, that sort of movement may cause retearing.

Much depends on the specific method via which the ACL surgery was done.

For some methods, such as the traditional extracapsular lateral suture and the tightrope technique, literal retearing is possible.

For other techniques, such as TPLO and TTA (in which the torn ACL is removed), literal retearing may not be possible.

Nonetheless, if the dog makes certain movements before there is complete healing, it can incur injuries that almost wholly reverse the benefits of the surgery.

Then again, not every case of dog limping after ACL repair is a sign of retearing.

For instance, it is quite normal to find the dog limping 2 weeks after ACL surgery. This is due to the surgery itself.

Even a case of a dog limping 6 weeks after ACL surgery may be understandable, if the limp is slight.

But if, for instance, you find a dog limping 1 year after TTA surgery, then that may be worrisome.

 

Can A Dog Retear ACL After TPLO Surgery?

Sometimes, the people who pose the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question turn out to be folks whose dogs have undergone the TPLO procedure.

Thus in answering the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question, we have to focus on TPLO specifically.

Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery entails first removing the torn ACL. Then it entails making certain cuts in the bones, so that there is stability and proper movement without need for ligament support.

Since the torn ACL tissue is removed, there is really no risk of literal retearing.

But if the dog makes certain improper movements before healing, there can be other bad injuries. Those can almost wholly reverse the gains from the surgery.

For instance, if the dog jumped after TPLO surgery, that can happen.

You may then find the dog limping 1 year after TPLO surgery.

So that may be the reason for dog TPLO limping again.

It can even happen 5 weeks after the surgery.

Then it gets you worried dog is re-injured five weeks after TPLO surgery.

Thus if you had the is it likely to re-injury the same ACL after TPLO Surgery, now you know it is a possibility.

For sure, the reinjury after TPLO Surgery may not be in the form of tearing again.

But what happens if a dog jumps after TPLO surgery may be another trauma. That may almost reverse the gains from the surgery.

You can also get the same outcome if the dog ran after TPLO surgery (before complete healing).

Thus while the torn ACL tissue (which was removed) isn’t there for retearing, another injury is possible.

Can a dog retear acl after surgery
Can A Dog Retear ACL After Surgery?

 

Can A Dog Retear ACL After TTA Surgery?

Some of the people who pose the can a dog retear ACL after surgery turn out to be folks whose dogs underwent TTA surgery.

Therefore in answering the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question, we have to focus on TTA too.

Just like TPLO, TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) starts with removal of the torn ligaments.

Since the torn ligaments have been removed, they aren’t available for tearing again.

Nonetheless, if a dog that has undergone TTA makes certain movements in the recovery period, it may suffer major trauma. That may almost fully reverse the gains from the surgery.

You then, for instance, end up with the dog still limping months after ACL surgery.

This is why it is important to make enquiries (from the vet) on how long for dog to recover from ACL surgeries.

Then for that entire period, ensure that the dog doesn’t take part in any of the prohibited activities.

Also ensure that the dog doesn’t make any of the wrong movements.

You may also need to ask the vet, how long will my dog limp after ACL surgery? That is in order to tell normal limping due to surgery from abnormal limping.

 

Is It Easy To Retear ACL After Surgery?

Alongside the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question is likely to come this one: on whether it is easy to retear ACL after surgery.

So this is really a question on how easy is it to retear ACL after surgery?

Now how easy it is to retear ACL after surgery depends on which procedure was done.

For procedures like traditional extracapsular lateral suture and the tightrope technique, retearing is quite easy.

For other procedures such as TPLO and TTA, literal retearing may not be a possibility. That is because these procedures normally start with removal of the torn ligaments.

Once the torn ligaments are removed, they are no longer there for retearing.

Nonetheless, dogs that undergo these may suffer other injuries which almost wholly reverse the gains from the surgery.

Ultimately, if you research on what are the chances of retearing your ACL, you see that they are pretty high.

But chances of reinjuring ACL after surgery go down drastically if one follows the after surgery care rules well.

So that is what you do, to lower the chances of tearing ACL twice. Just follow the after surgery care rules well.

Here someone may ask, can a dog’s ACL repair itself if it gets retorn after surgery? And the answer is ‘yes’, though the healing may be slow and difficult.

 

How Do You Know Your Dog Has Retorn ACL After Surgery?

Right after the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question is likely to come this one: on how you can tell if your dog has retorn ACL after surgery.

One possible sign that your dog has retorn ACL after surgery is swelling at the site.

Another possible sign that your dog has retorn ACL after surgery is limping (long after the surgery).

The dog may also show signs of being in pain.

What you need to know are the normal things to expect, after the surgery.

Then if you see any abnormal thing after the surgery, you may take it as a possible sign of retearing or another complication.

 

What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Retorn ACL After Surgery?

Another question that may come up, right after the can a dog retear ACL after surgery one, is on what you should do if your dog retears ACL after surgery.

If you are sure (or you strongly) suspect that your dog has retorn ACL after surgery, what you need to do is take the dog to the vet right away.

The vet will examine the dog, and perhaps carry out some tests, to ascertain whether indeed there is retearing.

Then the vet will perform the right procedure, to rectify the situation before it worsens further.

 

How Can You Prevent A Dog Retearing ACL After Surgery?

After answering the can a dog retear ACL after surgery question, we have to touch a bit on how to prevent second ACL tear in dogs.

In that regard, the key thing is to ensure that you strictly adhere to the after surgery care rules.

That may entail keeping the dog on a leash throughout.

It may also entail ensuring that the dog doesn’t move about for some time, after the surgery.

And it may be a matter of seeing to it that the dog gets the right physical therapy, after surgery.

If the dog seems to have torn the ACL due to being overweight in the first place, you may need to work towards weight loss.

Sometimes, you actually find that a dog tore both ACLs at the same time due to weight issues.

In that case, you urgently need to work towards weight loss, to prevent recurrence.

Don’t get the dog walking or otherwise exercising too soon after the surgery.

From the surgeon, get clear answers to questions like that on how long after ACL surgery can a dog walk.

Generally, get clear info on how long for dog to recover from ACL surgery.

Then ensure that you don’t allow the dog to engage in improper activities before full recovery.

 

Final Verdict – Can A Dog Retear ACL After Surgery

It is possible for a dog to retear ACL after surgery.

In some cases, the retearing may happen in the period right after the ACL surgery.

But there are also cases in which the retearing may happen long after the ACL surgery.

ACL surgery procedures in which literal retearing is possible include the traditional extracapsular lateral suture and the tightrope technique.

Can a dog retear acl after surgery
Can A Dog Retear ACL After Surgery?

Other procedures like TPLO and TTA start with the removal of the torn ligament. Therefore in those procedures literal retearing may not be possible, as the torn ligament has already been removed.

Nonetheless dogs that undergo those are still prone to certain injuries, post-surgery, which can almost wholly reverse the gains from the operations.

To reduce chances of a dog retearing ACL after surgery, you need to carefully follow the after surgery care rules.

It is especially necessary to ensure that the dog doesn’t start playing games or making improper movements too soon after the surgery, before there is proper recovery.

As a pet lover, make sure to learn about pet more and give your pet dog a good and comfortable life!

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