Cruciate ligament injury is the most common cause of hind leg lameness in mature dogs. It is more common in larger breeds with tall, straight-legged conformation.
Cruciate rupture in dogs is different to the syndrome seen in humans, although the anatomy is remarkably similar. In humans, injury is often the result of an extreme force to the knee as is seen during sporting endeavors such as netball, football and skiing. In dogs, the rupture is often the end-result of a repetitive strain placed on the ligament due to poor conformation. Breeds such as the greyhound and the whippet have very robust knees, whilst the taller breeds with straight hind leg conformations such as the Labrador, Mastiff, Rottweiler and Retrievers are prone to injury.
There is much conflicting information on the internet available to pet owners when making a choice regarding a repair option. In general, in larger breeds, surgery is required for a good long term outcome. Not one procedure has been shown to be superior than another, however what is known is that the best outcome is achieved when the surgeon performing the surgery is familiar with that procedure. It makes sense that the more cruciate surgeries a surgeon performs, in general, the better the outcome.
Cruciate repair is the most commonly performed procedure at Advanced Vetcare. We repair in excess of 500 cruciate injuries per year. Our preferred procedure is the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy or TPLO. This procedure is a biomechanic alteration of the knee such that the joint no longer requires an intact cruciate ligament to be stable.
If your pet has a hind limb lameness, then assessment for cruciate ligament injury by a veterinarian is recommended.