ACL Repair in Chantilly, VA

To help you consider if dog ACL surgery is the best approach for your pet, it may help to know the basics of this common surgery. Dog ACL surgery requires making a small cut at the top of the tibia bone, which includes the weight-bearing part of the tibia, the tibial plateau. This is called an osteotomy, with the entire procedure known as tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO). The cut portion of the bone is rotated, reducing the slope of the tibial plateau. During the surgery, we also stabilize the parts of the bone using a plate and screws while the bone heals. You may be able to better picture this as a small, forced break that is used to reposition and stabilize the bone, which will help to stabilize the knee.

Injury Or Chronic Conditions That Can Lead To Dog ACL Surgery

Above we mentioned that the CCL or cranial cruciate ligament in dogs is the same as the ACL in people. It is responsible for limiting things like over-extending and over-rotating the knee. When an injury or chronic condition leads to a tear, it is known as a cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CCLR), which is the most common cause of lameness in the hind legs of dogs.

Why this usually occurs is a little different in dogs than in people, too. Though a traumatic injury is the most common reason for ACL tears in people, CCLR (ruptures or tears in the ligament) in dogs most often happens because of degeneration.

Potential factors for CCL injuries in dogs may include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Obesity and poor fitness
  • Early neutering
  • Excessive slope of the tibia plateau (tibial plateau slope or TPS)
  • Immune-mediated disease
  • Bacteria within the joint

Large breed dogs are at the greatest risk for tearing their CCL, with most of these dogs being young to middle-aged females.

However, it is possible for any size, age, sex, and breed of dog to develop a CCLR. And just like in ACL tears for people, acute traumatic ruptures can happen.

Changes that take place in the joint can lead to a loss of healthy cartilage early in a dog’s life, resulting in arthritis. For most dogs, if there is a degenerative condition of the CCL, it will eventually lead to a complete tear.

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