That’s torn it

Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) disease is a common degenerative joint problem in dogs.

Wedge implantIt usually affects middle age and older dogs but is occasionally seen in dogs as young as two years old. Large and giant are commonly affected.

Owners usually notice intermittent limping in a back leg over a period of six to 12 months that seems to get worse. These dogs are presented to the clinic and often go home on anti-inflammatories and exercise restriction. They do come right but relapses are common.  This is because the thick cruciate ligament is wearing and is being damaged by ongoing normal activity during exercise. Gradually accumulated damage to the ligament results in it giving way during normal exercise and the dog is then non-weight bearing lame.

Surgery is usually the best option for a good long-term quality of life and an active happy dog.  The goal is to allow the dog to use the leg and weight bear as normally as possible soon after surgery so a physical therapy and rehabilitation plan can begin.

Recently we have treated a CCL case with a tibial tuberosity advancement technique.

This advanced technique allows patients to walk better more quickly after surgery. Rehabilitation exercises can begin virtually straight away improving your dogs’ return to function as strength, proprioception and mobility are all enhanced by early use.

The operation requires an osteotomy (surgical cut through the bone) at the top of the shin bone (tibia) where the knee cap(patella) tendon inserts. This allows us to push the patella tendon insertion forward relative to the leg, this is maintained with a porous titanium wedge and plate. This change alters the mechanics of the knee during weightbearing transferring forces away from the broken cruciate ligament. When the dog plants its foot the leg is stable and comfortable and so the dog is comfortable to use the leg.

Healing takes about eight weeks, with off leash exercise from 12 weeks post op. Patients are checked periodically during this period for progress.

Because of the great results seen with this technique we prefer it for any athletic active dog, and those over 30kg.


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