ACL brace vs surgery–Take the right decision for your dog

An Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury can be a painful and debilitating experience for both humans and dogs. When it comes to treating this injury in dogs, two primary options are often considered: the use of an ACL brace or surgical intervention.


In this guide, we will talk about choosing the ACL brace versus opting for surgery as a treatment for your canine companion's ACL injury.


ACL Brace for Dogs

An ACL brace, also known as a knee brace or stifle brace, is a medical device designed to provide support and stability to a dog's knee joint, particularly when the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) or cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is injured. These braces are typically made of materials such as neoprene or nylon and are designed to be worn around the dog's affected hind leg.


Purpose of an ACL brace

The primary purpose of an ACL brace is to limit excessive movement and provide additional support to the knee joint, allowing the injured ligament to heal naturally. While they are not a replacement for surgery in severe cases, ACL braces can be a conservative treatment option for dogs with partial tears or mild ACL injuries. They are also commonly used as part of the post-operative care plan for dogs that undergo ACL surgery, helping to stabilize the joint during the recovery period.



  • Non-Invasive: One of the significant advantages of using an ACL brace is that it is a non-invasive treatment option. This means that there is no surgical procedure involved, reducing the risks associated with anesthesia and surgery itself.
  • Cost-Effective: ACL braces are generally more budget-friendly compared to surgical procedures. They offer a cost-effective way to manage your dog's ACL injury without breaking the bank.
  • Conservative Approach: For some dogs, especially those with less severe ACL injuries, a brace can provide adequate support and stability, allowing the ligament to heal naturally over time.


  • Limited Effectiveness: ACL braces are not suitable for all dogs or all types of ACL injuries. They may not be effective for dogs with severe tears or complete ruptures of the ligament.
  • Longer Recovery: The use of a brace typically requires a longer recovery period compared to surgery. It may take several weeks or even months for your dog to regain full mobility.

ACL Surgery for Dogs


  • Higher Success Rate: ACL surgery is often considered the gold standard for treating severe ACL injuries in dogs. It has a higher success rate in restoring the dog's normal limb function.
  • Faster Recovery: Surgical intervention typically offers a faster recovery timeline. With proper post-operative care, many dogs can regain mobility and return to their regular activities within a few months.


  • Invasive Procedure: ACL surgery is a surgical procedure that carries inherent risks, including those associated with anesthesia, infection, and surgical complications.
  • Higher Cost: Surgery tends to be more expensive than using an ACL brace. The cost includes the procedure itself, as well as post-operative care and rehabilitation.

Knee Brace After ACL Surgery

In some instances, a knee brace is used after ACL surgery. You can go for this option based on your dog’s condition and the vet’s recommendation.



  • Additional Support: A knee brace can provide added support to the affected leg after ACL surgery. It helps stabilize the joint during the healing process and reduces the risk of re-injury.
  • Improved Comfort: Some dogs may experience increased comfort and reduced pain when wearing a knee brace after ACL surgery.


  • Cost: Adding a knee brace to the treatment plan can increase the overall cost of ACL surgery.
  • Discomfort: Not all dogs tolerate knee braces well. Some may find them uncomfortable or may attempt to remove them. 


The choice between an ACL brace and surgery for your dog's ACL injury depends on various factors, including the severity of the injury, your budget, and your dog's individual needs. It's essential to consult with a veterinarian or orthopedic specialist to determine the most suitable treatment option for your furry friend. Whether you opt for a brace or surgery, the goal remains the same: to provide your dog with the best possible care and support for their ACL injury.

Azad Shaikh
Azad Shaikh

Father, Founder (of BreederSpot), Blogger, and Youtuber.