Cruciate Ligament Disease

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QLD 4740

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Better Pet Vets Northern Beaches
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QLD 4740

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My Dog's Got a sore leg, and I've been told its a Cruciate Ligament Problem.... Does it need Surgery? What Options do I have?
Cruciate Ligament Disease is a really common "sporting" injury in both People and Dogs.  Your dog may not play Touch Football or Basketball on Thursday Nights, but they do scamper around helter skelter chasing balls, birds and the post man; and they love to leap off the couch and meet you at the door when you come home..... so sometimes they do the same injuries we do when we're out running around and getting "healthy"!
The cruciate ligament provides stability for the knee joint while your dog is weight bearing on the hind leg.  For this reason, you will often see that they can partially weight bear or "hop" on the leg after this injury - they can put some weight on the leg, but full weight causes instability and pain.  
For some dogs this is a truly short term rupture as you would expect from a sporting injury - they just stretched the ligament too far when they were running or jumping, and the ligament tore.  For most dogs, though, the ligament has had a longer term degenerative changes occurring (like an old cracked rubber band that you stretch and it just tears) and yesterday's run in the park was just "the straw that broke the camels back".  If it hadn't happened yesterday, it would have happened next week or next month, the next time they went for a run, or jumped, or landed awkwardly.
There are many different surgical options for this disease, and they do not all provide the same return of function, especially in larger or more active pets.  The most common surgical technique provided is the "DeAngelis" or Lateral Suture Technique.  It is also has many other names: Figure 8 suture, an Extra Capsular Repair, Tightrope Procedure, IsoToggle or FabelloTibial Suture.  We rarely advise this technique as the best option for your dog, as there are other surgeries which provide a much better return to pain free and athletic function.  It is an excellent surgical option for Cats, however, as their knee stabilisation needs are quite different to that of a dog.
The other surgeries we recommend include:
TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveliing Osteotomy);
TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement);
and the
TTO (Triple Tibial Osteotomy) - which is a combination of the other two techniques.
We regularly perform TTO and TTA surgeries for dogs with Cruciate Ligament Disease.  The best technique or procedure for your pet depends on a number of factors:
Age
Activity Level
Size or Weight
Bone Structure and Anatomy of the Knee Joint
Other Knee Issues - such as Kneecap Instability (Patella Luxation)
The health of the opposite knee
The health of the hip Joints.
By assessing all of these variables, we can ensure that your pet is given the surgical solution which best suits their needs and lifestyle, and takes account of any other orthopaedic considerations.  One size does not fit all, and the DeAngelis technique is very rarely the best choice.