Cranial cruciate ligament deficiency in the dog is the most common orthopedic lameness seen at AVDH. Many reasons are reported to be at cause, including genetic conformational abnormalities, obesity (either genetic or overfeeding), excessive athleticism, and chronic degenerative joint disease. Large breed dogs seem to be over-represented when compared with small breed dogs and cats.
There are two cruciate ligaments in the dog’s knee, termed cranial and caudal. The caudal cruciate ligament rarely tears, but when it does, it is usually concurrently torn with the cranial cruciate ligament.
The most common physical reason the cranial cruciate ligament tears is thought to be a result of excessive internal rotation with the knee in slight extension. Your pet will usually “yelp” when this happens, and will limp either slightly or very severely afterward. To some degree, they appear to get better in the next few days or so, only to become chronically lame over the next few weeks.
During this time, your pet will shift its weight to the good rear leg, increasing the strain on it. Tearing results in instability of the knee, termed “cranial tibial thrust”. Think of the top part of the knee (the femur) as being a car, and the bottom part of the knee (the tibia) as being a hill. The cranial cruciate ligament is the parking brake. When it breaks, the car rolls down the hill. This is cranial tibial thrust.
How do we treat Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury?
There are numerous documented techniques for repairing these injuries, however, only a few of these techniques have become widely accepted as the “most successful”.
We offer 2 of them: The Securos extracapsular technique and the Tibial Tuberosity Advancement or TTA. The extracapsular method involves using synthetic nylon to replace the forces endured by the damaged ligament. It is a popular correction for smaller dogs and cats.
The TTA is a newer plating method designed to redirect forces in the knee, allowing the patellar tendon to stabilize the knee. It is used commonly with our mid to large breed dogs and is very successful.
Why is our Cranial Cruciate repair exceptional?
Our veterinarians have taken courses in the Securos extracapsular and TTA techniques to ensure that they are being performed in accordance to their developed standards. We also are very experienced with the techniques given the number of Cranial Cruciate repairs that AVDH performs. We use Velocity bone putty to decrease the time it takes for bones to heal with TTA procedures. Our knee surgeries all receive Adequan post-surgery to help combat inflammation and future arthritis, as well as numerous follow-up examinations to ensure that your animal is recovering according to schedule.