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Dog Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament

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Dog Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament

When dogs receive injuries to their knees, it is often in the form of a Dog Luxating Patella or a ruptured cruciate ligament. There are three bones that comprise the knee. The femur, the bone the goes down from the hip, the Tibia, which is the bone found between the knee and ankle, and the Patella, which is known as the kneecap. Lots of ligaments are used to join these bones together. When two ligaments cross in a joint from the femur to the tibia, they are known as cruciate ligaments. The anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments are responsible for keeping the femur and tibia ends from rubbing painfully against one another.

An MRI of a dog's knee.

If the anterior cruciate ligament ruptures, then the joint cannot be used, allowing the tibia and femur to rub against one other. This usually happens when the animal twists on his back leg. This puts extraordinary amounts of pressure on the ligament, resulting in tearing.

Symptoms of a Cruciate Ligament that has been Torn

When an animal displays much trouble walking, and keeps the foot of the hurt leg off the ground, it may be a ruptured cruciate ligament. The knee will often be inflamed, and movement usually returns to the leg, but later the same problems occur again.

How a Ruptured Cruciate Ligament Is Determined

A veterinarian will make a diagnosis of a torn cruciate ligament by watching the way the dog walks and moves. Using a specific manner, the vet will grab the femur and tibia, and determine if the bones are moving in a way known as the drawer sign. It is referred to as the drawer sign, because the way the femur and tibia move in direct relation to each other is much like the pushing and pulling of a cabinet drawer. Dogs that are in a lot of pain, or too stressed, often will have muscles that are too tense to determine the drawer sign, so they may have to be sedated to allow the muscles to relax enough for a proper diagnosis.

Treatment for a Ruptured Cruciate Ligament

For a cruciate ligament that has been completely torn, surgery is usually the method of treatment. If an anterior ligament is torn, there are lots of various methods that can be utilized to fix the knee joint. At times, a synthetic suture material is used to remake the torn ligament. After the animal has gone through the surgery, they must be confined for two weeks. Most of the time, by the tenth day after the surgery, the dog will begin to let the toe of the leg that had the surgery touch the ground. Most of the time, the animal can only be walked on a leash for at least another month. This time frame will depend upon how bad the injury was, and which procedure was used to repair it.

Another kind of treatment that can be done is known as a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, where a part of the tibia is cut, repositioned, and then reattached to another part of the tibia via screws and plates. This in effect stabilizes the joint, and although this surgery is more complex and difficult, exemplary results have been witnessed, usually resulting in less arthritis than other kinds of surgeries.

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