APBTs and ACL Tears

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PaigeJ
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APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby PaigeJ » Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:03 pm

I've just been really curious about this lately. Are APBTs really susceptible to ACL tears? It seems so around here because every post about a dog limping almost always ends up being diagnosed as an ACL tear. Why is this happening? Is it genetic? Does it have anything to do with the parents not being health tested?

Every time Maili jumps to catch her ball/bad cuz in the air during fetch I cringe. I try not to have her jump but she loves to catch balls in mid-air. I hate when she lands cause I don't want her to come back to me limping...Why does it seem to easy to tear their ACLs?

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:04 pm

Its actually more about the angulation of the knee than the excercise they do. Obese dogs can rupture an ACL just by walking from their bed to their food dish. Active dogs can rupture an ACL going on an average run. Unlike people, you don't have to have a major traumatic event to rupture the ligament... everyday wear and tear gradually frays the ligament, and they eventually rupture.

Sadly, its just part of being a large breed dog...

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby PaigeJ » Sat Jan 09, 2010 3:16 pm

That's very sad :(

Thanks for the information.

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby Amie » Sat Jan 09, 2010 4:18 pm

Misskiwi67 wrote:Unlike people, you don't have to have a major traumatic event to rupture the ligament... everyday wear and tear gradually frays the ligament, and they eventually rupture.


For the record, humans don't need major trauma either. (just ask the three different orthopedic surgeons who've studied my knees) ;) lol

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby FBODGRL » Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:45 pm

PaigeJ wrote:I've just been really curious about this lately. Are APBTs really susceptible to ACL tears? It seems so around here because every post about a dog limping almost always ends up being diagnosed as an ACL tear. Why is this happening? Is it genetic? Does it have anything to do with the parents not being health tested?

Every time Maili jumps to catch her ball/bad cuz in the air during fetch I cringe. I try not to have her jump but she loves to catch balls in mid-air. I hate when she lands cause I don't want her to come back to me limping...Why does it seem to easy to tear their ACLs?



Khan loves to jump and catch also.

To be honest I jsut throw it and hope for the best. I used to worry about it, but I am not willing to limit what he loves because something may or may not happen. He has a low grade luxating patella so he is already at a greater risk.

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby elegy » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:24 pm

Misskiwi67 wrote:Sadly, its just part of being a large breed dog...


except pit bulls aren't exactly large breed dogs. luce is only 45 pounds and she's torn both of hers. she's trim and fit. neither tear was acute.

personally i think there's some kind of genetic predisposition going on, though whether it's just angulation or angulation + balls to the walls personality, or something entirely different i don't know. pit bulls are certainly overrepresented when it comes to knee injuries in medium-sized dogs. at least in my experience.

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby maximusflys » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:52 pm

I agree with misskiwi, if you understand how the knee works and the ligaments attached to it than you would know its not a genetic predisposition. If your worried how intense your dog is with chasing a ball you could always have him retrieve a dead ball. Which is putting the dog in a stay, throwing the ball until it has stopped and than releasing the dog to retrieve the ball.

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby mtlu » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:06 pm

elegy wrote:personally i think there's some kind of genetic predisposition going on, though whether it's just angulation or angulation + balls to the walls personality, or something entirely different i don't know. pit bulls are certainly overrepresented when it comes to knee injuries in medium-sized dogs. at least in my experience.

This is pretty much what both orthopedic surgeons we saw said. Additionally, both also mentioned some sort of possible autoimmune-related issue as well – so basically no one really knows. They've both seen a lot of bullies come through needing CCL repairs.

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby Leslie H » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Misskiwi67 wrote:Its actually more about the angulation of the knee than the excercise they do. Obese dogs can rupture an ACL just by walking from their bed to their food dish. Active dogs can rupture an ACL going on an average run. Unlike people, you don't have to have a major traumatic event to rupture the ligament... everyday wear and tear gradually frays the ligament, and they eventually rupture.

Sadly, its just part of being a large breed dog...


Maximusflys, don't you see angulation as largely genetic?

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:25 pm

I've seen torn cruciates in 20 lb dogs... so again, its not just size, its angulation. Thats how TPLO's work... they cut the bone and change the angulation of the joint so the dog doesn't need a ligament anymore.. the surgery doesn't do anything to repair/replace the ligament itself. Its more physics than physiology.

Larger breed dogs have a TENDENCY towards longer legs and straighter knees, putting more tension on the CCL and causing long-term breakdown. Smaller dogs have more bend to their knees (in general) and are heavily predisposed to luxating patellas.

If its not one thing, its another... and sadly pit bulls are in that middle weight range where they seem to be stuck with both...

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby FBODGRL » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:26 pm

Does their intense hard play make matters worse?

Just wondering if the craziness and drive is a factor along with their size too.

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:44 pm

FBODGRL wrote:Does their intense hard play make matters worse?

Just wondering if the craziness and drive is a factor along with their size too.


I didn't read the exact study, so this is thirdhand information... but I have heard that extreme working dogs (field labradors, sled dogs etc) and obese dogs are the members of any individual breed that are more likely to rupture a ligament... so yes, heavy activity also increases the likelyhood of a ruptured ligament. That said, obesity is an even bigger problem, so moderate levels of activity and appropriate weight management are your best bet to prevent ligament rupture.

I'm not sure if anyone knows if its the high impact work that does it... or if there's just a limited number of steps before the ligament frays given any dogs individual tendon strength vs. joint angulation. Think of bending metal back and forth... how many times can you bend it before it breaks? An orthopedic specialist would be the best person to ask about the latest studies/theories.

Since most dogs with ligament ruptures do NOT come up acutely lame after tearing after a rabbit, playing frisbee etc... nobody knows for sure if these lifestyle activities make a difference or not. We still don't know everything there is to know about CCL rupture.

My personal opinion is that 7 years of playing frisbee and having a grand old time is worth the 6-10 weeks of crate rest required IF your pup is one of the unlucky enough to rupture a ligament.

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby Red » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:39 am

Just a couple of references to support the genetic predisposition:

Wilkie VL, Conzemius MG, Kinghorn BP, Macrossan PE, Weiguo C, Rothschild MF. Inheritance of rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament in Newfoundlands. J Amer Vet Med Assoc. 2006;228:61–64.

Wilkie VL, Ruhe A, Conzemius MG, Rothschild MF. Predisposition to rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament in the dog is genetically associated with chromosome 3 (abstract). World Vet Orthop Cong 2006:35.

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby PaigeJ » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:44 am

Thanks to everyone for contributing such informative replies. I'm really following this thread closely. Before I came on this forum I'd never known a single dog to tear their cruciate ligament much less it happening so often within one breed.

With a pit bull it seems there's a GREAT chance of your dog rupturing their ligament sooner or later vs. it not happening at all. That's just so strange to me...

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Re: APBTs and ACL Tears

Postby dan52 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:04 am

Our little girl Leila tore her acl and she was 55 lbs. maybe a little chubby but by no means obese. She LIVED to retrieve balls and would stop at nothing to do so. It started as a limp and grew progressively worse as time wore on. She tried to play it off as no big deal but we knew better and took her in and had our fears confirmed torn acl, so off to surgery she went and weeks later she was good as new! She lived another 1 1/2 years playing on her new knee before she was diagnosed with the big "C" an we had to put her down. No matter what the cost it was worth every penny to see our girl out playing ball!


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