What is canine cruciate
ligament disease?

This is a condition that causes the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) to partially or completely rupture. It tends to happen as a result of long-term degeneration, and certain breeds can be more prone to it, like Rottweilers, Labradors and Boxers.

What are the symptoms?

The most common sign of canine cruciate ligament disease is limping, along with hind leg stiffness or lameness. Your dog might also struggle to get up, depending on whether the condition is in one or both knees. These signs could appear suddenly during exercise, or start to
come on gradually.

What’s the treatment?

There are a range of treatment avenues we can explore, falling
into two categories:

Non-surgical treatment – Some dogs, particularly small ones, may benefit from non-surgical treatment. This could include body weight management, medication, or physiotherapy. Exercise will also
need to be restricted.

Surgical treatment – There are several surgical options available which will benefit medium to large dogs. They include:

  • Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy (TPLO) – This involves cutting the tibia (shin bone) and fixing it a new position with a plate and screws.
  • Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) – A similar procedure that also requires cutting the tibia and stabilising in a new position.
  • Ligament replacement – This involves replacing the ruptured ligament with an artificial one, or with a graft.

Your specialist will be able to advise you on the best course of action
for your pet.


vet surgeon performing procedure

What’s the prognosis?

In 90% of cases, dogs will swiftly return to full levels of activity following successful TPLO or TTA surgery, including dogs in performance roles such as military and sniffer dogs. The chances of complications after surgery are low, though there is always a small risk of infection as with any surgical procedure.