Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Cruciate Ligament Injury

The cruciate ligaments are important, crossing ligaments between the femur and tibia within the stifle. They keep the bones from moving front to back with respect to one another. In many cases, injuries that cause cruciate ligament tears or strains also injure other structures in the stifle.

Stifle cruciate ligament injuries are relatively rare in horses. They usually cause very severe lameness visible at the walk, sometimes with little sign of swelling in the limb. The diagnosis is sometimes surprisingly difficult.

Generally, cruciate ligament injuries cause severe osteoarthritis of the stifle, and a poor prognosis for return to athletic function.

Arthroscopic exploration of the joint may be required to definitively diagnose this condition.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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