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A tear of the cranial cruciate ligament is the most common knee injury in the dog. There are two fibrous tissue bands that cross to hold the tibia (lower leg bone) in place; these are known as the cranial and caudal cruciate ligaments. A tear of either of these ligaments allows the tibia to slide out of the normal position. When this occurs, it leads to other problems such as pinching, stretching, or tearing of other structures in or around the knee joint.
There are two ways for this injury to occur. The first is an acute injury which is similar to an athletic ACL injury in a human. In humans, the injury is caused when quickly changing directions at a fast speed. In the dog, this often occurs while running or jumping. In both humans and dogs this is a shearing injury and is painful. Most dogs will cry out and then no longer use the leg or will only toe-touch.
The second, and most common, is from chronic degeneration of the ligament. Some breeds seem to be predisposed; however, obesity and lack of exercise play a large role in this injury. Overweight dogs may rupture their ligament doing something as trivial as tripping over a toy.
Cruciate ligament rupture generally requires surgery to stabilize the joint.
After diagnosis, our doctors will discuss which of the following surgical procedures is the best option for you and your pet.
Here at Northridge, we offer the TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) and the TTA (tibial tuberosity advancement).