The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is an important ligament inside the knee (stifle) joints of dogs. In people it is referred to as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ligament plays an important role in stabilising the stifle during weight-bearing. It prevents the shin bone (tibia) moving forwards relative to the thigh bone (femur). From all the research and experience, a cruciate injury can occur in a wide range of dogs.
The most frequently seen are dogs who are:
Middle aged dogs
Overweight dogs (if you are unsure book in for check)
Medium to large in size
Have an exuberant personality
Some dogs who damage their cruciate ligament can see improvements. Others, unfortunately experience a decrease in functionality, loss of interest in activities and a decrease in lifestyle. The Emergency Vet Hospital offers a range of cruciate surgery options. Each having their unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Our veterinarians will guide you through the decision-making process based on your pets health, current situation and personality.
Cruciate Repair – Dogs
Dogs are susceptible to the rupture of the Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CrCL, CCL or ACL). Several surgical techniques are available with each having their unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Our veterinarians will guide you through the decision-making process. This is based on your pets health, current situation and personality.
The vet hospital offers:
Extra Capsular Surgery
Tibial Tuberosity Advancement Surgery (TTA)
Each surgery option is decided in consultation with your vet surgeon
The Extra Capsular technique is well suited for smaller dogs. It also has no invasion of the bone so historically it is quicker to heal and involves less time under anesthesia.
The TTA is more recommended for dogs who weigh more than 20 kilograms. This surgery technique delivers stability in the knee by changing the angle of the joint. This involves bringing the front of the knee forward and holding it there. The stability is delivered by the change in bio-mechanics and use of strong titanium metal.
The TTA technique uses titanium bone plate, titanium spacer and titanium screws. The strength of these products contribute to the durability and success of this type of surgery. The Ossability wedge used is also made out of titanium and has unique pin sized holes which over time encourages your dogs bone to grow.
Cruciate Repair – Common risks for dogs
Any cruciate repair involves a complex surgical procedure. The advantages are increased functionality and longevity for your dog. Like any medical procedure though, there are risks involved. While not designed to scare you, its important to familiarise yourself with the common risks associated with this surgery and discuss any concerns you have with your vet.
Once your dog has had the surgery the post operative care requires both attention from yourself and the ability to commit to an 8 week post operative care programme. Because of this, its not a decision to be made lightly. If you know this up front it enables you to find the appropriate time-frame in your annual calendar and schedule ahead.
There is always a very small risk with any anesthesia, which in rare cases can lead to premature death.
This is a long term risk post surgery, which requires ongoing management
A small percentage of dogs can damage the knee cartilage (menisci) and need further surgery
Cruciate Injury – to the other leg
A high percentage of dogs with cruciate disease can go on to tear the cruciate in their opposite knee
Occasionally the bone can weaken and break at the place where surgery occurred. This is because of overuse before it has had time to properly heal. If the after care is neglected this can occur and often further surgery is required
Any surgery presents a very small risk of infection. This is also because the cruciate repair involves surgery into the bone which is known to have slower healing times and because of the implants. In very rare cases this can be life threatening
In some very rare cases the wound will not heal well and the bone can be slow to gather full strength. This requires careful management and consultation
This is common after surgery and normally resolves. In some rare cases this has been known to persist longer and requires management through your vet hospital