Aetiology, pathogenesis, diagnostics and therapy of cranial cruciate ligament rupture in dogs

Knebel J, Meyer-Lindenberg A.

Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere 2014;42:36-47.

Cranial cruciate ligament rupture is the most common cause of hindlimb disease in dogs and is often associated with an additional lesion of the medial meniscus. The exact aetiopathogenesis of this condition in dogs is unknown. Normally, the degeneration of the ligament first leads to a partial rupture which progresses to a complete rupture following an unspectacular trauma. The positive cranial drawer test confirms the cranial cruciate ligament rupture, however, in some cases, particularly in partial ligament lesions, the diagnosis is not obvious. Therefore, the reexamination of the sedated patient is recommended to generally increase the sensitivity of clinical tests. Magnetic resonance imaging and stifle joint arthroscopy are useful methods to evaluate the cruciate ligaments in indistinct cases or to assess the joint for secondary changes. The therapy of cranial cruciate ligament ruptures can be divided into extra- and intracapsular as well as tibial osteotomies. The principle of the different tibial osteotomies is the muscular compensation of stifle joint instability. The results are successful but not uncritical. This article presents a short review on the substantial problems associated with cranial cruciate ligament rupture in dogs. A more detailed description of secondary problems and complications would exceed the scope of this article and should be considered in another study.