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Cruciate Surgery

Eureka Vets Puppies 5Has this happened to you?  Your dog was running in the park and suddenly runs back holding up one of their hind legs.  You take your dog to the vet, it is the right thing to do.  The vet suspects your dog has ruptured the cruciate ligament in that knee.  Suddently you are told you need radiographs and potentially surgery.  You think, does my dog need this and what is a cruciate ligament rupture.

What is a cruciate rupture?

Cranial cruciate ligament insufficiency is one of the most common causes of hind leg lameness in dogs.  Rupture of the cruciate ligament can be caused entirely by trauma; however, in most dogs it is a consequence of progressive degeneration/fatigue of the cruciate ligament.  When the cruciate ligament ruptures, the subsequent instability of the knee joint invariably leads to the development pain, swelling and ultimately osteoarthritis. 

Are radiographs necessary?

Radiographs are recommended so that we can make sure there are no other injuries such as existing arthritis, bone chips, fractures, bone infections or worse bone cancers that can present the same as a cruciate rupture.  The radiographs need to be taken under anaesthesia as we need the dog to be still so we can get accurate radiographs.  Some dogs will have a partial cruciate ligament rupture.  Here they have the swelling and pain, but not the instability.  Examining the knee under anaesthesia enables us to have a really good feel of the amount of instability without causing further pain to your dog.  

What treatments are available?

If your dog has a partial rupture of the cruciate ligament, or if they are a small dog under 10kgs, we may try non surgical options.  These can include rest, physiotherapy, acupuncture, cartilage protective injections (cartrophen/synovan) and anti-inflammatory pain relief.  If these are not successful then surgery is then warranted.

TPLO CruciateFor dogs over 10kgs, surgery is almost always required to stabilise the knee and reduce the potiental for arthritis.  There are numerous techniques to stabilise the knee joint when a cruciate ligament fails.  The most common are the lateral suture (De Angilis) procedure and tibial osteotomy procedures (TPLO, TTA and TTO).  At the Eureka Veterinary Clinic, Ballarat, the tibial osteotomy performed is the Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO).  The TPLO procedure aims to alter the joint in such a way that it provides dynamic stability to the joint and is the preferred procedure for dogs over 25kgs.  Once a diagnosis has been reached, the vet will discuss with you which of these procedures is best suited to your pet.

If your dog has ruptured their cranial cruciate and needs a TPLO surgery, please fee free to contact the clinic for an appointment.

Cruciate Surgery
Cruciate Surgery

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