2001-Sat Jan 20 16:18:40 EST 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
The pain of a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture is usually obvious — most dogs will dangle their rear limb in the air and put little or no weight on it.But owners feel the pain too. In 2003, dog owners in the United States spent $1.32 billion in surgical and medical management of this common knee condition.
For most dogs with CCL ruptures, surgery is the treatment of choice. But at the recent Western Veterinary Conference, Dr. Michael Conzemius, a professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota, revealed new study data that may change the way veterinarians approach CCL disease.
The CCL is a tough band of tissue that helps stabilize the knee joint by controlling the movement of the femur — thigh bone — where it meets the tibia — shin bone — in the knee.Like anterior cruciate ligament injuries common in human athletes, CCLs in dogs can rupture suddenly due to trauma. But most tear slowly over time, causing joint instability, which leads to inflammation, pain and arthritic changes.
Any dog (or cat, less commonly) can develop this condition. But CCL ruptures tend to occur more often in large-breed and overweight dogs.
While surgery is usually recommended to stabilize the knee joint, at the recent veterinary conference, Dr. Conzemius shared the surprising results of a recent University of Minnesota study that may point to other options.
The study focused on large-breed, overweight dogs with CCL disease. Half of the dogs were treated with medical management only, consisting of weight loss, pain medication and supervised physical therapy. The remaining dogs were treated with surgery (Tibeal Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, or TPLO), followed by the same medical management.
Researchers based treatment success on two factors: 1) owners reporting a 10 percent improvement in leg function and quality of life, and 2) force platform gait analysis (which provides an objective measurement of the amount of weight a dog places on a limb) demonstrating weight bearing within 85 percent of normal.
As might be expected, dogs that had surgery generally showed more improvement in both areas, but thosereceiving medical management alone weren’t far behind. At one year after the start of study, 75 percent of dogs treated with surgery and medical management were considered treatment successes; 63.6 percent of those dogsreceiving medical management alone were considered treatment successes.
Although surgery still offers the best prognosis, these findings suggest that for some dogs, especially those for which anesthesia may be risky, forgoing surgery may be an option. Weight control, pain medication and physical therapy may not lead to as much improvement as surgery, but for some owners the results may be acceptable.
Dr. Conzemius expects the study to be published in veterinary journals in the next few months.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.