SURGERY – ORTHOPEDIC
It’s extremely common for dogs—especially older and overweight dogs—to rupture their cranial cruciate ligaments (CCL). This ligament is found in the knee and its human equivalent is the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. When a dog ruptures this ligament, their knee joint becomes unstable and they will limp on the affected limb. Because CCL tears cause such significant mobility issues for pets, it’s important to get these injuries treated as quickly as possible.
At Lifetime Pet Wellness, our surgeons perform orthopedic surgeries like cranial cruciate ligament repairs. We recommend a procedure called a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy or TPLO for dogs weighing more than 40 pounds. For smaller dogs and cats, we treat the torn CCL using a technique called extracapsular repair or lateral suture. Our surgeons have experience in both procedures and will consult with you about the preferred method for your pet. The best surgical option for your dog will generally depend on the size and age of your dog.
Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO)
A torn CCL results in painful instability of the knee joint. The Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) method of treating a torn CCL alters the geometry of the knee joint to make the joint stable. It involves making a cut in the tibia or shin bone and plating the bone in place. Once the bone is healed, the repair is permanent. Most dogs return to weight-bearing on the affected leg soon after surgery, but their activity needs to be partially restricted for six to eight weeks while the bone heals in place. It is a highly effective procedure and is the preferred procedure for most dogs weighing over 40 pounds.
Extracapsular (Lateral Suture) Repair
Extracapsular, or lateral suture, refers to a repair that is performed alongside the knee joint. After the knee joint has been inspected and damaged tissue cleaned up, a strong suture is placed on the outside of the joint that runs in the same direction as the original CCL. This suture provides stability in a very similar way to the CCL before it was torn. Although this method of repair can be performed on any dog, it tends to be best for dogs under 40 pounds. A period of restricted activity is required after this surgery. To schedule a consultation for cranial cruciate ligament repair with one of our veterinarians, call us at 614-888-2100.
Do you think your pet might be experiencing issues that require Orthopedic Surgery? These are some symptoms to keep an eye out for in your pet::
- Difficulty jumping, running or climbing stairs
- Swaying gait, limping, and clear difficulty to walk
- The space between your pet’s legs may look wider than normal
- One of your pet’s legs may look shorter than the other
- Decreased movement and range of motion
- Yelping or whimpering from pain
- Licking or biting at knee or legs
- Unable to bear weight on the leg
- Sitting abnormally
- Stiffness in legs and joints
- Thickening and swelling of the knee joint
- Audible popping or clicking noises with movement