WHY DO DOGS NEED KNEE SURGERY? Dogs are susceptible to knee problems, mainly due to degeneration and tears, not necessarily acute injuries. Over 1 million ligament repairs are done in dogs every year, at a cost of over $1 billion dollars to U.S. dog owners. This surgery is often performed on both hind limbs of a dog at the same time. The surgery is not intended for small dogs because the leg bones must be strong enough to endure the drilling required for the surgery. Newfoundlands, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers are among the breeds that most often require this surgery.
THE HUMAN EQUIVALENT: A healthy knee bends easily, absorbs stress and glides smoothly so that we can walk, squat, or turn without pain. When the knee is damaged, it is less able to handle stress, causing pain and swelling. Injuries to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) are the most common. Often there is a loud "pop" -- the sound of the ligament tearing --followed by pain and immediate swelling. After those symptoms subside, the patient may still experience episodes of instability, often likened to walking on roller skates. The knee may feel loose. In serious cases, surgical repair may be required.