Cruciate Ligament Surgery

At Normanhurst Vet Practice we perform a range of complex orthopaedic surgeries in house with our highly trained and skilled Veterinarians. Benefits for keeping such procedures in house include a more affordable service, you will be liaising with our veterinarians who are familiar faces and the convenience of not needing to be referred to a specialist hospital.

One such common condition we see is Cruciate Ligament rupture within the knee of a dog- which we correct with a procedure known as a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO).

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture occurs as a result of a combination of both environmental factors and genetic predisposition. The ligament sometimes will tear completely straight away- and in these cases your dog will be limping significantly. In other cases the ligament will slowly tear over a period of weeks to months- and these dogs will often have a subtle lameness that comes and goes.

Cruciate Ligament Rupture is diagnosed by your veterinarian examining your dog and observing knee pain and instability. X-rays will be taken to assess the integrity of the knee joint and the position of the bones relative to each other- these confirm the diagnosis.

If left untreated, Cruciate Ligament Rupture will lead to irreversible arthritis, long lasting pain and discomfort for your dog. This happens because the knee joint is unstable. Even if your dog is initially not limping that much from a partial tear, the joint will still be unstable, and this instability will result in the bones of the knee knocking and bumping which in turn will further worsen the existing arthritis and potentially damage the soft tissue in the knee. Pain killers can be used to alleviate the symptoms of lameness associated with the Ruptured Cruciate Ligament; however without surgery pain killers do not manage the instability of the joint and are insufficient to prevent arthritis and long lasting pain.

As mentioned above, the only way to prevent arthritis and long lasting pain from forming is to perform surgery on your dog. There have been many techniques that have been developed for treatment of Cruciate Ligament Rupture, however the MOST robust and reliable procedure developed has been the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO).

The TPLO aims at re-organising the geometry of the knee joint through precise measurements to ensure that it is stable without the need for an intact Cranial Cruciate Ligament.

Outcomes for a TPLO are excellent- and your dog will return to normal function after 3-4 months. With strict rest (no running, jumping, stairs or quick changes of direction) for the first 8 weeks then more lenient rest after this point- your dog will make a full recovery and able to enjoy life to the full again.

Your veterinarian will also prescribe strong pain killers as well as antibiotics during and after the procedure.

Case Study: Mason- a 9 year old Male Rottweiler.

Mason had a TPLO performed on his left knee to correct a Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture. He was limping considerably before the surgery and as little as 24 hours post surgery was already starting to feel better.

Below are the x-rays following the procedure.