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Cranial Cruciate Ligament Instability

Learn about Cranial Cruciate Ligament Instability as well as treatment options.

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What is the Cranial Cruciate Ligament?

The Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) is a crucial ligament in the knee joint that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone). It plays a significant role in stabilizing the knee during movement, preventing excessive forward movement of the tibia in relation to the femur.

Results of a Damaged CCL

CCL instabilities are quite common in dogs, especially in certain breeds and overweight or obese dogs. When a dog's CCL becomes damaged or torn, it can lead to instability in the knee joint. This commonly occurs due to a sudden twisting motion, degeneration over time, or a combination of factors. Dogs with a torn CCL often experience lameness, difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg, and pain.

CCL Treatment Options

One of the most common treatment options for a torn CCL is the TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy) surgery. This procedure involves cutting and repositioning the tibial plateau to change the joint mechanics and stabilize the knee, allowing for improved mobility and reduced pain in the long term. Proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential for the long-term well-being and quality of life of dogs with a CCL injury.

FAQs You Might Have

Here are some frequently asked questions about Cranial Cruciate Ligament Instabilites.

What causes CCL instability?

CCL instability is commonly caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, breed predisposition, obesity, aging, and physical activity. Traumatic events or sudden twisting motions can also lead to CCL instability.

What are the signs and symptoms of CCL instability?

Animals with CCL instability often exhibit lameness or limping, particularly in the affected leg. They may have difficulty bearing weight on the injured leg and be reluctant to jump, run, or engage in physical activities. Swelling around the knee joint and a decreased range of motion may also be noticable.

How is CCL instability diagnosed?

Diagnosis of CCL instability typically involves a thorough physical examination by a veterinarian, evaluation of the dog's medical history, and manipulation of the affected knee joint. X-rays may be taken to assess the extent of the injury. 

What are the treatment options for CCL instability?

Treatment options for CCL instability include both conservative management and surgery. Conservative management may involve rest, restricted activity, weight management, pain medication, and physical therapy. However, surgical repair is often recommended for more severe cases or when conservative management fails to provide long-term stability.

What is the prognosis for an animal with CCL instability?

The prognosis for an animal with CCL instability depends on the severity of the injury, the age and size of the dog, concurrent health conditions, and the chosen treatment approach. Surgical repair generally shows better long-term outcomes, providing improved joint stability and a return to normal activity.

Video Resources

Watch these videos about Cranial Cruciate Ligament Instabilities, treatment, and rehabilitation.

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