Are Yellow Labs More Likely To Rupture Cruciate Ligament?

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An 8-year study conducted by the UW Veterinary Care Hospital at the University of Wisconsin – Madison was conducted to identify risk factors for the development of cruciate ligament rupture (CR) in Labrador Retrievers. The cranial cruciate ligaments (CCL) are found inside a dog’s knee or stifle joint, connecting the top of the tibia (the shin bone below the knee) to the bottom of the femur (or thigh bone). A rupture of these ligaments is very painful and causes the affected knee joint to be unstable. In fact, CR is one of the most common reasons for hind limb lameness, pain, and subsequent arthritis in all breeds of dogs. 

The study, published in the Journal of Veterinary and Comparative Orthopaedics and Traumatology included 412 purebred Labrador Retrievers (166 with CR and 246 control subjects that did not have CR). Because the majority of Labradors affected by CR are diagnosed before the age of 8, only dogs 8 years of age and older were included in the control group.

The study examined activity level, neuter status, sex, and body weight, but these were determined to not be risk factors for developing CR. Coat color and not sustaining optimal body condition (which is based on the amount of fat measurable on the dog’s ribs, waist, and hips) were found to be significant risk factors for CR.

As part of the study data collection, owners were also asked to report any orthopedic diseases besides CR. It is interesting to note that 56 of the CR dogs (34%) and 86 of the control group dogs (35%) had a variety of other orthopedic issues including osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, shoulder disease, disc disease, luxating patella, and metatarsal fractures. 

The study determined that black Labrador Retrievers were less likely to develop CR, chocolate coat color did not significantly influence CR, but yellow Labrador Retrievers are more likely to develop cruciate ligament rupture (CR) than those with black or brown coats. 

For breeds prone to CR or other joint and arthritic diseases, veterinarians and nutrition experts often recommend dietary supplements including glucosamine, chondroitin, green lipped mussels, and omega-3 essential fatty acids because they work to strengthen and protect the cartilage in the joint. Oftentimes, anti-inflammatory medications are also prescribed. 

If you have a dog that is at risk for developing CR due to age, breed, or other factors, or if your dog has already experienced a cranial cruciate ligament rupture, consider supplementing their diet with Technyflex® Canine Premium Joint Supplement.

Technyflex® is made from one superfood ingredient - 100% New Zealand Greenlipped Mussel which is naturally packed with anti-inflammatory joint and ligament nourishing nutrients like Omega-3 essential fatty acids ALA, DHA, EPA, and ETA, as well as glycosaminoglycans and mucopolysaccharides like chondroitin and glucosamine that help collagen and elastin in the joint stay strong and flexible. Click here to learn more about Technyflex®.


Contribution of Habitual Activity to Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Labrador Retrievers, Hannah M. Terhaar,1 Peter Muir,1 Lauren A. Baker,1 Emily E. Binversie,1 Jacqueline Chi,1 and Susannah J. Sample1

Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2020 Mar; 33(2): 82–88.



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