A rupture of the cruciate ligament is a common orthopedic injury in dogs that may require surgery. Our veterinarians at Turlock discuss cruciate injuries in dogs and how surgery such as TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) can help to get them back on their feet and to feel better.
What Happens When My Dog Sustains a Cruciate Ligament Rupture?
The CCL is a connective tissue located in the knee that connects and stabilizes the lower leg to the upper leg. When torn, it joins a dog's tibia to the femur, which results in partial or complete joint instability, pain, and immobility. CCL ruptures are the result of a torn cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) in a dog's stifle (knee), which is equivalent to the ACL in humans.
What Are The Symptoms of a Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Dogs?
When it comes to cranial cruciate ligament tears in dogs, 80% of cases are chronic onset ruptures that are caused by degeneration. They usually occur due to aging. This is most commonly seen in dogs between the ages of four and seven.
Acute onset ruptures are most common in pups who are four years old or younger. These tears are caused by injuries that a dog will sustain when they are running around living their daily lives.
Symptoms of a cranial cruciate ligament rupture may include:
- Crepitus (crackling noise of bones rubbing against each other)
- Decreased range of motion
- Hind leg extension while sitting
- Pain when the joint is touched
- Lack of motivation to exercise
- Restricted mobility
- Stiffness after exercising
- Thick/firm feel of the joint
- Weight shifted to one side of the body while standing
- "Pop" sound when walking
If you notice any of the listed symptoms above, contact your vet and schedule an examination for your pup.
What is TTA Surgery and how does it work?
When a dog experiences a rupture of the cruciate ligament, the knee will lose the necessary stability to perform as expected. This instability will cause your dog’s leg to move forward in such a way as to make it feel as though it will not lock in place, and will most likely cause your dog to limp to avoid this.
When a dog undergoes TTA surgery, it changes the shape of the knee, allowing the muscles to help with the stabilization of the knee itself while in use. Your dog will then feel as though the knee has been stabilized even though the ligament itself is still technically damaged.
There is a risk of complication with a surgical procedure of this magnitude, and as such it will only be performed when it is the best option for the cruciate injury that your dog has sustained.
Recovery After TTA Surgery For Cruciate Injuries in DogsHealing from TTA surgery is generally rapid.
- 24 Hours Post Op: Approximately 50% of dogs that have undergone this surgical procedure will be walking by this time.
- At 2 weeks: Most of the dogs will be able to bear moderate to complete amounts of weight on the leg.
- By 10 weeks: The majority of the dogs will no longer be walking with a limp.
- At 4 months: Most dogs will be playing as usual, with the only limitations being high-stress activities.
- Within 6 months: Most dogs will be back to enjoying most activities as they had been before injury and surgery.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.