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Cruciate Ligament Repair

Cruciate Ligament Repair at St. Norbert Animal Hospital

Lameness and knee pain in pets may occur over time as a result of degenerative ailments -- but when your pet appears to go lame all of a sudden, the cause may be a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament. Restoring function and relieving chronic pain in the joint generally means reconstructive orthopedic surgery. The good news is that these procedures are both well-understood and generally highly successful in most animals. Whether your pet fallen prey to a medical emergency (such as a traumatic accident) or his knee just finally "gave" after a long period of ever-worsening damage, you'll find the solutions he needs right here at St. Norbert Animal Hospital.

cruciate ligament repair

Understanding Ligament Ruptures

To see your dog or cat run, jump, and play, you'd never guess that his knee joints (also known as stifle joints) are among the most fragile in the body in terms of being vulnerable to injury. Much of this joint's stability comes from a small ligament called the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL)  at the front of the knee. When this ligament ruptures, the knee can no longer support your pet's weight properly under normal motion. This results in cartilage deterioration, severe knee pain, and lameness in the affected leg.

A ruptured CCL may occur alongside other elements of a veterinary emergency, such as fractures or other joint damage sustained in an accident. But a total rupture can also begin very subtly as a partial rupture, especially in senior pets whose ligaments have changed in structure over the years. Large breeds, obese animals, and sedentary pets are at elevated risk for CCL ruptures.

Surgical Options at Our Vet Clinic

Depending on your pet's size, age and weight, our vet clinic may recommend different types of surgeries to compensate for the ruptured ligament. The most common options are:

  • Extracapsular Repair - Smaller, lighter animals may benefit from the attachment of an artificial ligament. In these cases, we can place a ligature around the joint to restore the necessary stability.
  • Tibial Tuberosity Advancement - A tibial tuberosity advancement makes sense for larger, heavier breeds for whom an extracapsular repair would be inadequate. This surgery alters the shape of the joint by shifting the bone that anchors the patellar tendon slightly forward. By changing the way forces act on the joint, we can make a working CCL completely unnecessary.
  • Triple Plateau Leveling Osteotomy - A triple plateau leveling osteotomy works on the same principles as the tibial tuberosity repair -- it changes the joint structure to redirect forces on the joint so your pet no longer needs his CCL. The only difference is the part of the bone that is altered (in this case, the top of the tibia).

Schedule an Appointment with Your Veterinarian in Winnipeg

Your veterinarian in Winnipeg, Dr. Braha or Dr. Brar, can advise on which type of surgery is best for your pet. Call (204) 261-7376 for an appointment!