Petcare Info

Cruciate Ligament Disease

cruciate ligament disease in dogsWe now know that most dogs rupture these ligaments in the knee after some degree of DJD - ’degenerative joint disease’ - has already begun. The collagen protein which composes the ligament is weakened by the degradative products formed in the inflammatory process.

Many dogs will only rupture the anterior cruciate ligament partially rather than fully; however, we know that these partial tears can be more troublesome than a full tear. This is because of its more insidious onset over a longer period of time creating worsening arthritis before the inevitable full tear. Surgery in medium to large breed dogs at this late stage of a full tear is therefore less beneficial than if the knee had been operated on at the onset of an initial partial tear. Conversely, the success rate of surgery is greatest in dogs with fresh, full tears and in those that have optimal rehabilitation exercise post surgery. At EHVH the technique of choice for your pet will be based on bodyweight, age, concurrent disease and finances. We offer the usual lateral suture technique (using patented "Ligafiba" as the prosthetic ligament); as well as the more complex osteotomy procedure known as tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA). We follow the "OssAbility" technique of using titanium mesh wedges in the advancement with plate & screw fixation of the tibial crest to the main tibial shaft. All cruciate surgery here will include examination for meniscal damage, and removal of damaged cartilage as appropriate. Patient selection in some cases may require surgery by an orthopaedic specialist, who we can refer you to in Sydney.

The most comprehensive rehab therapy is exercise in our heated Aqua Paws Plus underwater treadmill. With this technology and a personalised program for your family dog we are able to provide therapy with exact control by adjusting the depth of water, treadmill speed and temperature settings to give a graded return to function beginning once sutures are removed. We start at a higher water level for additional buoyancy, which is reduced as fitness returns and the dog takes on more weight bearing. The other major benefit of Aqua Paws Plus is in the average 30% increase in the range of motion of the knee compared to land based exercises. The problem of poor knee extension is recognised as a major pathology with cruciate disease and treadmill therapy is unique in reducing this complication.

Erina Heights Vet Hospital offers post operative hydrotherapy rehabilitation treatment for many surgical procedures and it is also available to family pets following surgery with a specialist or neighbouring practice with the veterinarians consent.
Read more Hydrotherapy - Aqua Paws Plus Underwater Treadmill

We are able to email our clients a specific rehab program for your pet based on recommendations by Prof Darryl Millis from the University of Tennessee, who is regarded as the "father" of canine rehabilitation, using access to the 'Canine Exercise Program". We personalise the exercise program for your dog post patellar luxation surgery, post cruciate repair surgery & most other orthopaedic and or neurologic conditions seen in parctice.