Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury

Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Injury is the most common cause of rear limb lameness in dogs.  Similar to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in people, a CCL injury results in instability of the stifle (knee) and often requires surgical stabilization to return your pet to a normal pain free activity level.

Several techniques exist to stabilize CCL deficient stifles in dogs.  While no one technique can be labeled superior to the others, certain factors can be considered to provide the “best” procedure for you and your pet.   The surgeons at VVS will evaluate factors such as age, breed, weight, concurrent medical conditions, activity level, lifestyle, and anatomic variations of your pet’s knee in order to prescribe a surgical and rehabilitative protocol specific for your pet to afford the best possible outcome.  The Surgeons at VVS have performed thousands of cruciate ligament stabilization procedures and have a high level of experience and confidence in the various techniques; including Tibial Plateau leveling Osteotomy (TPLO); Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA); extracapsular stabilization; and the tight rope procedure.

Post-Operative Recovery and Prognosis

Dogs generally return to full function within 12 weeks following surgical repair.  We will continually monitor your pet’s recovery and we generally see them at 2, 8 and 12 weeks post operatively.   Because we want to make sure that you are satisfied and your pet is recovering normally, there are no additional charges for recheck appointments or follow-up radiographs (x-rays).

It is reported that dogs that experience a CCL injury in one stifle have a 50% chance of tearing the CCL ligament in their other knee.  In fact, many patients presenting for evaluation of a CCL injury will already have some form of CCL insufficiency (partial or complete) in the opposing knee.  The surgeons at VVS have extensive expertise with the treatment of bilateral (both sides) CCL injuries.  With some techniques and specific patients it is possible to perform the surgeries on both limbs at the same time as opposed to staging the procedures a few months apart.  This has the advantage of a shorter recovery period, a faster return to function, is more economical without increasing post-operative complication rates.

More information can be found at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons website.

ACVS Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease

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