Cranial Cruciate Ligament
One of the most common injuries to the knee of dogs is tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). This ligament is similar to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans. There are actually two cruciate ligaments inside the knee: the cranial cruciate ligament and caudal cruciate ligament. They are called “cruciate” because they “cross” over each other inside the middle of the knee. For more information on these ligaments and how they can become damaged, see “Cranial Ligament Rupture in Dogs.”
When the CCL is torn or injured, the shin bone (tibia) slides forward with respect to the thigh bone (femur), which is known as a positive drawer sign. Most dogs with this injury cannot walk normally and experience pain. The resulting instability damages the cartilage and surrounding bones and leads to osteoarthritis (OA).
What options are there for repairing my dog’s torn CCL?
When the cranial cruciate ligament is torn, surgical stabilization of the knee joint is often required, especially in larger or more active dogs. Surgery is generally recommended as quickly as possible to reduce permanent, irreversible joint damage and relieve pain.
“Surgery generally is recommended as quickly as possible to reduce permanent, irreversible joint damage and relieve pain.”
Several surgical techniques are currently used to correct CCL rupture. Each procedure has unique advantages and potential drawbacks. Your veterinarian will guide you through the decision-making process and advise you on the best surgical option for your pet.