Your vet will examine the knee and do an x-ray to see how much damage there is or assess if there may be another reason for the symptoms. This may involve sedation so that the knee joint can be manipulated and checked, especially with larger dogs or those that tend to be snappy. Various breeds are more prone to CCL injuries as are obese dogs or those that are only strenuously exercised occasionally. A CCL injury in one leg often leads to an injury in the opposite leg as well (in close to 50% of cases). While lameness from minor injuries to the CCL may go away after a period of time, it can still cause internal damage that builds up over time. This can result in arthritis, pain, spur development and over time, a smaller range of motion. While this can be improved with surgery, by that stage it cannot be healed completely.
Non-surgical interventions are possible from small dogs (under 30 pounds). This consists of anti-inflammatories and rest for up to two months. For dogs that are overweight, a weight loss program may be recommended. For larger dogs, CCL surgery is the best option to treat CCL injuries. There are a number of different techniques that could be used to help provide stability to the joint. Depending on the amount of damage as well as the procedure used during surgery, the dog may have to be restricted from exercising or bearing weight on the injured limb for up to 3 weeks. For some pets this may require them being restricted to a crate for parts of the day when they cannot be supervised.