My Dog’s CCL Surgery

Today officially marks 1 year since my dog, Lily, had a CCL repair. I thought I’d share a little bit about our experience with a canine injury!

**I am not a vet and do not have any previous knowledge about CCL injuries or treatment. I am just sharing my experience. Please contact your vet for any concerns about your furry family member!**

The Injury

One day when we were walking the dogs, Lily kind of tripped walking up the steps and started limping after that. Sometimes she would put pressure on her leg and other times she would completely pick it up.


Something similar happened a few months earlier and we promptly took her to the vet, but they couldn’t find anything physically wrong with her and told us she just needed rest. We thought the same thing was going on this time so we treated the situation just as the previous.

After a week of no improvement, we decided to take her back to the vet.

Torn CCL

After a quick physical exam, our vet told me that Lily had torn her cranial cruciate ligament, which is similar to a human ACL. I didn’t even know a dog was capable of tearing their ligaments at the time so the diagnosis surprised me. I realized afterwards that is not rare in small dogs as they age, as I have since met *a lot* of people who have been through the same thing.


Deciding on Surgery

After discussing all of our options, we decided that we wanted Lily to have the surgery to repair her CCL. There was an option to not do surgery and see how she did (if I recall correctly, sometimes the scar tissue builds up in that area and supports the knee or something like that? I don’t completely remember). Unfortunately, she already had a pretty intense luxating patella that made her outlook without surgery look not so great.

The Procedure

Lily had her surgery on Halloween 2013. I took this picture of us right before we left for the vet:


She had her luxating patella repaired in addition to her CCL and the procedure went well.



My heart broke when I saw her for the first time after surgery. She seemed so confused and was making funny noises. She didn’t sleep at all that night and we kept her crated to make sure she was safe. I woke up several times that night and she was just sitting in the crate looking around like she had no idea what was going on Sad smile


The Recovery

The first week after surgery was rough. Lily hated wearing the cone on her head and had a hard time walking outside. She wasn’t used to a crate and hated being in there. She wasn’t sleeping through the night and her bathroom habits were completely off.


She had her bandages removed the day after surgery so she had exposed staples in her leg. I was worried Beamer would try to mess with them but he seemed to understand Lily wasn’t feeling well and left her alone. He would sometimes come and sit near her… what a sweet little brother Smile


We had to do little exercises with Lily’s leg, mostly bending and flexing it and forcing her to stand on her repaired knee. I *hated* doing these because I didn’t want her to be in pain, but of course I did them because I wanted her recovery to go well.

We kept her in a crate for the first 3 months after surgery and gradually increased her ‘freedom’ and physical activity as time went on. It took her about 6 months to get back to her old self.

1 Year Later

I can’t tell you how happy I am with Lily’s recovery. Maybe it was a combination of also fixing her patella issue or that we now give her Dasaquin daily, but she is like a completely different little dog. She is so much more physically active than she was before her CCL injury. She loves to run around the apartment and play now.


The vet cautioned us that she is very likely to tear her other CCL. I’m dreading when that day comes but I wouldn’t hesitate to do the surgery again. For the time being, we don’t let her jump on or off of furniture and we are more careful with steps to hopefully decrease the chances of another injury.

I also wanted to mention to anyone reading from the Charlotte area that we were very happy with the experience we had at our vet. I would be happy to recommend him to anyone in the area in a similar situation.

One thing that surprised me about having this procedure was all of the negative comments I got from people who couldn’t believe we would pay to have an operation for a pet. Lily is my Ride or Die B and I would do anything (within reason) for her if it meant she could continue to live a happy and healthy life <3

Sam & Lily

Have any of your pets ever had to have a surgery? How did it go??

Hope you have a great weekend! Happy Halloween!!

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