Research Identifies Most Effective Knee Surgery
Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) disease, a condition common in dogs, occurs when an important ligament in the knee joint tears. Such a tear can result in partial or even complete joint instability, pain and lameness. Breeds commonly affected by CCL disease include Newfoundlands, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, American Staffordshire Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Mastiffs, Akitas and Saint Bernards.
In most cases, surgery is required to stabilize the knee and slow the progression of degenerative joint disease (arthritis). Two types of surgical treatments are commonly used to treat this condition in dogs: lateral fabellar suture and tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO). TPLO is much more costly, yet there was little evidence to indicate that it is more effective.
In this study, researchers from the University of Illinois compared the two surgeries to determine whether one is more effective. Methods used to determine surgical outcomes included an owner survey, muscle mass measurements, and pain-free motion and gait analysis of the affected knee. The researchers enrolled about 80 dogs representing different size categories to determine whether a dog’s size plays a role in which surgical procedure should be chosen. The study established TPLO surgery as the more effective option for large and giant breed dogs.
In addition to the main surgical comparison, a second-year veterinary student organized and analyzed the preoperative data from these dogs to determine risk factors for concurrent meniscal tear (a tear of a pad that helps cushion the knee) and an examination factor that helps to diagnose meniscal disease.
This study will help veterinarians counsel owners on the best surgical intervention for dogs suffering from CCL disease. Funding from this study also helped a promising new scientist establish her lab and research program.
The principal investigator for this study was Dr. Wanda J. Gordon-Evans at the University of Illinois.
Posted by MAF on August 6, 2012. Permalink