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Complete & Partial Cranial Cruciate Ligament Ruptures in Dogs

Cruciate ligament ruptures are a common orthopedic injury in dogs that may require surgery in order to repair. Here, our Murfreesboro vets discuss cruciate injuries in dogs and how surgery such as TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) can help to get them back on their feet and to feel good again.

What Happens When My Dog Sustains a Cruciate Ligament Rupture?

The CCL is a connective tissue that connects and stabilizes the lower leg to the upper leg in the knee. It connects the tibia to the femur above and, if torn, causes partial or complete joint instability, pain, and immobility.CCL ruptures are caused by a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in the stifle (knee) of a dog, which is equivalent to the ACL in humans.

What Are The Symptoms of a Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Dogs?

When it comes to cranial cruciate ligament tears in dogs, 80% of cases are chronic onset ruptures caused by degeneration and usually occur as a result of aging. This is most common in dogs aged five to seven.

Acute onset ruptures are most commonly seen in pups four years or younger. These tears are caused by injuries a dog will sustain just running around living their daily lives.

Symptoms of a cranial cruciate ligament rupture may include:

  • Crepitus (crackling noise of bones rubbing against each other)
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Hind leg extension while sitting
  • Pain when the joint is touched
  • Lack of motivation to exercise
  • Irritability
  • Restricted mobility
  • Stiffness after exercising
  • Swelling/Inflammation
  • Thick/firm feel of the joint
  • Weight shifted to one side of the body while standing
  • "Pop" sound when walking

If you notice any of the listed symptoms above, contact your vet and schedule an examination for your pup.

What is TTA Surgery and how does it work?

When a dog's cruciate ligament ruptures, the knee loses the necessary stability to function normally. This instability will cause the shin bone to move forward in such a way that your dog feels as if it will not lock in place, causing your dog to limp to avoid this.

When a dog undergoes TTA surgery it changes the shape of the knee allowing the muscles to help with the stabilization of the knee itself while in use. Your dog will then feel as though the knee has been stabilized even though the ligament itself is still technically damaged.

There is a risk of complication with a surgical procedure of this magnitude and as such it will only be performed when it is the best option for the cruciate injury that your dog has sustained.

Recovery After TTA Surgery For Cruciate Injuries in Dogs

Healing from TTA surgery is generally rapid.
  • 24 Hours Post Op: Approximately 50% of dogs that have undergone this surgical procedure will be walking by this time.
  • At 2 weeks: Most of the dogs will be able to bear moderate to complete amounts of weight on the leg.
  • By 10 weeks: The majority of the dogs will no longer be walking with a limp.
  • At 4 months: Most dogs will be playing as usual with the only limitations being high-stress activities.
  • Within 6 months: Most dogs will be back to enjoying most activities as they had been prior to injury and surgery.

Pain management and rehabilitation therapy will be critical throughout your dog's recovery. Your dog's veterinarian will collaborate with you to ensure that a comprehensive recovery care plan is in place for your dog prior to TTA surgery.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned that your dog may have experienced a cruciate injury? Contact our vets in Murfreesboro today to schedule a consultation.

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