Cruciate ligament ruptures are common in dogs. Your pet may require surgery to repair this orthopedic injury. Today, our veterinarians in Long Island explain cruciate injuries in dogs and how a TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) can help to get them back to their favorite activities.
How do Cruciate Ligament Ruptures Happen in Dogs?
There's a connective tissue in the knee that connects and secures the lower leg to the upper leg. This tissue is called the CCL (cranial cruciate ligament), and it joins a dog's tibia to the femur above. If it's torn, this can cause partial or complete instability in the joint, along with immobility and pain. CCL ruptures occur as a result of a torn cranial cruciate ligament in a dog's knee (also referred to as a stifle), which is equivalent to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in people.
What are Symptoms of a Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Dogs?
Degeneration, which typically occurs due to aging, can cause chronic onset ruptures. These make up about 80% of cases of cranial cruciate ligament tears in dogs and are most commonly seen in dogs ages five to seven.
Dogs that are four years old or younger are more likely to experience acute onset ruptures, which are tears caused by injuries a dog can sustain just running around living their daily lives.
Symptoms of a cranial cruciate ligament rupture may include:
- Thick/firm feel of the joint
- Restricted mobility
- Pain when the joint is touched
- Lack of motivation to exercise
- Stiffness after exercising
- Hind leg extension when sitting
- Crepitus (crackling noise of bones rubbing against each other)
- Decreased range of motion
- Weight shifted to one side of the body while standing
- "Pop" sound when walking
If you see any of the symptoms listed above, contact your veterinarian to book an examination for your dog.
What is TTA Surgery and how does it work?
When a dog experiences a cruciate ligament rupture it will cause the knee to lose the necessary stability to perform as expected. This instability will cause the shin bone to move forward in such a way that your dog feels as though it will not lock in place and 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 prior to injury and surgery.
Throughout recovery, pain management and rehabilitation therapy will be crucial to how well your dog heals. Your dog's vet with work with you both to ensure that there is a complete recovery care plan set in place for your dog prior to the TTA 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.