Torn cartilage

Inside the knee are two ‘C’ shaped discs of cartilage called menisci. These structures help absorb the forces across the joint and act to equally distribute load inside the knee. Although they have no nerve supply themselves, they are attached to the joint lining which is highly innervated. Dogs experience significant pain when they tear this structure as it becomes jammed between the ends of the two bones (femur and tibia) and is pulled away from its capsular attachment. Human patients describe a ‘locking’ sensation and sharp, localized pain.

It is important to understand that most meniscal tears in dogs knees involve the inner section with no blood supply. These tears do not heal and will not do well if left alone. Only the outer third has a blood supply. Once torn the best thing to do is removed the damaged portion surgically.

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