Cranial Cruciate Ligament
The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is a primary ligament in your pet’s knee. The ligament helps hold the knee in its proper alignment, supporting your pet’s weight and preventing hyperextension and incorrect rotation of connecting leg bones: the femur and tibia. The CCL can rupture due to ligament degeneration or traumatic injury, leaving the knee unable to bear weight and dramatically reducing your pet’s mobility. If left untreated, CCL tears can lead to osteoarthritis and meniscus damage.
There are several surgical options designed to treat CCL ruptures. Depending on the severity of the tear and patient-specific medical factors, extra-capsular repair may be the most effective method. Although this procedure can be performed on any dog, it is most often recommended for smaller breeds and senior pets.
The extra-capsular repair procedure uses a robust suture material to replace the cranial cruciate ligament. Over the next several months, scar tissue develops along the suture, reinforcing the repair and stabilizing the knee. While not the sturdiest repair method available, the surgery is highly effective for smaller and less active pets, and has the fewest complications compared to other CCL repair procedures.
CCL repair procedures are performed by highly trained veterinary surgeons. Specialists complete multi-year, advanced training to achieve board certification. Working closely with your primary veterinarian, our skilled surgeons ensure excellent patient safety and quality of care.
Extra-capsular repair is a major procedure that requires a recovery period of up to 12 weeks. Painkillers, anti-inflammation and antibiotics are prescribed in the critical period following the procedure to manage discomfort and prevent infection of the surgical site
Exercise must be limited for the first few weeks. Pets should be confined to a small area in the home to restrict unnecessary movement and prevent strenuous activity. Regular veterinary checkups (including x-rays) will monitor your pet’s recovery, assessing limb and joint function, as well as general mobility. As your dog heals, exercise may be gradually increased based on individual evaluation.
Physical therapy is generally recommended after four weeks. Rehabilitation may include strength training, range of motion techniques, and aquatic therapy to help strengthen the joint and restore mobility.