Animal Care Clinic Tips

Nov 23, 2009 5:46 PM by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP

Cruciate Disease

The most common orthopedic procedure performed on dogs in the United States is the cruciate repair.

The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is found in the knee and its job is to prevent the tibia (lower knee bone) from flying forward. In people this is called the anterior cruciate and its rupture (ACL rupture) is a common sports injury.

CCL rupture is most common in Labradors, Rottweilers and other large dogs, but it can occur in any breed and also in cats. CCL rupture can occur as a sudden injury or can come on slowly - almost like the fraying of a rope. Dogs with CCL disease tend to stand with the leg held up a bit, the toe touching the ground and often sit with the bad knee sticking outwards. It is quite common for dogs with one CCL rupture to develop the same problem in the opposite knee within two years.

Diagnosis is usually based on physical exam and x-rays, but occasionally requires CT scan or arthroscopy.

Most CCL ruptures require surgery for adequate pain control and to prevent further damage to the knee. There are several procedures performed, but by far the most common is called a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy or TPLO. This involves cutting bone and repositioning it so that forces on the knee and ligament are changed. A bone plate is applied as shown here.

Animal Care Clinic is proud to have a veterinary surgical specialist visit our hospital when advanced orthopedic procedures such as TPLO are required. We are available M-F 7:30-6, Sat 9-3 and Mondays until 8 p.m.

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