My dog has a CCL injury, what are my options?

Posted by Maryna Matthew on

The CCL is the ligament in your dog’s knee that attaches the tibia (shin bone) to the femur (thigh bone) and prevents hyperextension and rotation of your dog’s knee. The most common orthopaedic injury in dogs is injury to the CCL or Cranial Crucial Ligament. CCL injury is also the most common cause of degenerative disease (arthritis) in your dog’s knee joint. Unfortunately, it is also common for the opposing knee to suffer a CCL injury within 1-2 years, regardless of the cause of the initial injury.

CCL injury may be acute (due to injury) or chronic (due to aging, genetic or immune mediated responses) and presents as either acute lameness, reluctance to exercise, your dog shifting weight to the unaffected side, decreased range of motion in the leg/knee, knee joint swelling, stiffness, painful to touch or difficulty in rising to a standing position. It is advisable to seek immediate veterinary care, to confirm a diagnosis and discuss appropriate treatment.

Treatment aims are to alleviate pain, stabilize the knee joint and restore mobility (range of motion).

Treatment options are generally separated into two categories, namely surgical or conservative (non-surgical). Occasionally both surgical and conservative treatments are appropriate and requires careful consideration to identify the most appropriate, cost-effective and effective option(s).

There are a number of surgical treatment options, ranging in price from $2500 - $8000 for the surgery alone. TPLO and TTA are the most commonly performed surgeries for CCL:

  • Extra-capsular stabilizing suture (The suture mimics the function of the CCL)
  • TPLO (Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy, the top of the tibia is flattened to prevent the femur sliding backwards)
  • TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement, the segment of bone where the knee ligament attaches, is cut, moved and pinned)

Conservative treatment options are varied in terms of efficacy, cost and how readily they are available in Australia. Orthotics such as knee braces, have been used extensively in humans with great success and this is an exciting recent advancement in veterinary care. Orthotists and Physiotherapists are transferring their human healthcare experience and success to more holistically care for our animals.

Orthotics offer a wonderful alternate to surgery or complement surgical interventions. A number of different types of dog braces are available , so it can be confusing to make an appropriate decision, given that not all braces or animals are the same. Hopefully this comparison will help you choose the most appropriate brace for your pet’s needs:

Product Characteristics

Caerus Animal Rehab

“Ready-to-fit Braces”

Caerus Animal Rehab

“Custom Braces”

Other brands’

Ready-to-fit braces


XS, S, M, L

Custom fit

XXS, XS, S, M, L

Suitable for acute injuries

Yes Yes Yes

Suitable Pre-operative

Yes Yes Yes

Suitable Post-operative

Yes Yes Yes

Suitable for chronic conditions

Yes Yes Yes

Treats knuckling

Yes Yes

Not specified

Treatment areas

Rear legs

All limbs

Rear legs

Treatment time

6-18 months


Not specified

Activity level, a key treatment goal

Medium – high


Not specified

Level of support, to stabilize the knee joint, a key treatment goal

Medium - high



Availability in Australia/NZ

In stock

Made to order in the USA

Varies by brand





Supports mobility/range of motion, a key treatment goal

Yes Yes

Rigid braces, offer no range of motion

Braces the leg along the femur, knee and tibia

Yes Yes







The key differentiators of Caerus Animal Rehab’s “Ready-to-fit Braces” are:

  • Offers comparable support and treatment outcomes to custom braces, which are considered the ‘gold standard’
  • Around half the price of custom braces and available to fit immediately
  • Now available in Australia and New Zealand, no prolonged waiting time to have a custom brace made and shipped
  • Uniquely, the Performance Dog Knee Brace is the only ready-to-fit knee brace that offers both medium-high support and range of motion, both of which are key treatment goals for CCL Injury


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