A footballers injury for dogs…

There’s nothing quite like seeing your pooch enjoying himself. Swimming, running, chasing things, jumping; the sheer joy they show when allowed to have fun is fantastic to behold.

Footballers are regularly sidelined through injuries to their cruciate ligaments. One of the hazards of playing football, certainly in the rarified professional level.

It comes as no surprise then that dogs, who have cruciate ligaments in their knees, can suffer similar injuries. Some breeds appear more susceptible than others to this type of injury. Larger breeds such as St Bernard, Newfoundland through to Labradors, Rottweilers commonly suffer with cruciate damage. Of course, many other breeds do too.

Exercise is a factor but other considerations are excessive weight, older dogs ligaments can degenerate and weaken, arthritis and other abnormalities.

It is not unusual for a dog to tear a cruciate when simply walking, as happened to one of my dogs a few years ago. A common cause in active dogs is chasing a frisbee. The act of jumping, often twisting in the air, and landing puts excessive strain on the dog’s knees, often resulting in cruciate damage. This happened to my current dog, Ziggy.

A damaged cruciate ligament is an extremely painful condition for your dog. Occasionally, there may be some improvement over time with conservative treatment which consists of restricting your dogs’s activity. Usually, however, the only real course of action is surgery. This is expensive, ranging from £800 to £3000 and above.

Ziggy recovering from cruciate repair surgery

I, of course, am not suggesting you don’t allow your dog to exercise fully and to have fun. I do, however, suggest that you consider what type of dog you have and what is the appropriate level and types of exercise for them. Certainly, manage their weight and be aware of the factors that might predispose your dog to this very painful, debilitating and expensive injury.

I for one, will not be playing any frisbee with Ziggy again. No matter how much she enjoys it. It’s back to chasing balls and plenty of swimming.