Limping is a common problem in our pets, and that was just the trouble Spot was having when he came to us. Spot is a 10-year-old Border Collie mix, owned by Julie Peddy. He had been limping for two days, but was not showing signs of significant improvement. Dr. Shannon Smith examined him and determined that his stifle (knee) was painful and swollen.
After performing a specific maneuver on the joint, Spot was found to have an instability in his stifle called cranial drawer. Unfortunately, this type of instability is an indication that a ligament, the cranial cruciate ligament, in the joint had ruptured. Radiographs (x-rays) confirmed the diagnosis.
Cruciate ligament ruptures can occur in dogs of all breeds and ages, but they are most commonly seen in young, active, large-breed dogs. They also occur in older dogs experiencing ligament degeneration and weakness of the joint. Many clients have heard of people having similar injuries. In humans, it called an anterior cruciate ligament rupture, or ACL tear.
There are different types of surgical options for cruciate ligament rupture depending on the size and activity level of the patient. Currently the best option for medium to large dogs, or active dogs, is a procedure called a TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy). This is done by a surgeon specially trained in the technique. It involves making a curved cut in the tibia bone, rotating the piece, and stabilizing it with a metal plate and screws. This levels the joint surface, making it more stable when the joint is in motion.
Spot’s surgery was performed by Dr. Okrasinski, a board-certified veterinary surgeon who travels to Bothell Pet Hospital to perform various specialized or complicated surgeries. After eight weeks of strict rest, follow-up x-rays reveal a healed surgery site. Spot is now able to use his knee without pain and a return to normal activities!