Repairing Torn ACLs
ACL Injuries & Diagnosis: Bayside Animal Medical Center is now offering an option for repairing torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) in dogs. Unfortunately, torn ACLs in dogs is a relatively common injury, especially for active and athletic dogs. Signs of a torn ACL often include a sudden and significant limp in one of the back legs. If you are unsure, but think your dog may have torn it’s ACL, we recommend scheduling an appointment with any of our doctors to determine the source of the lameness. Radiographs are oftentimes taken to rule out other injury, but ACL’s are often diagnosed by palpation. In addition to an ACL tear, it’s possible that your dog could tear the meniscus in the knee. It is also worth noting that many dogs that tear one ACL go on to tear their other ACL at some point in their life.
Treatment Options: Once a diagnosis is obtained, surgical versus non-surgical options would be discussed with you. For most dogs over 30lbs, surgery is the best option for the long-term health of that joint and their long term comfort. There are two main surgical options. If your dog is over 100lbs, or your dog is extremely active, then we will likely refer you to an orthopedic specialist for a tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO) repair. If your dog is under 100lbs, and/or referral to a specialist would be financially challenging, then we offer the extracapsular lateral suture surgical technique here, done by Dr. Allyson DeLozier.
Extracapsular Lateral Suture Technique: The lateral suture technique involves wrapping a specialized suture around a ligament behind and above the knee. It is then fed through a small hole we create in the bone below the knee. Finally, it is tightened to stop the forward motion that occurs when the ligament ruptures. Post-op care involves at least 8 weeks of exercise restriction, starting with strict rest and gradually increasing movement over time. Physical therapy done with a specialist can help aid in recovery. Compared to many other orthopedic surgery solutions, this procedure tends to be a less invasive surgery with less severe potential complications. However some limitations can include the potential for the suture to break down if too much activity is performed after surgery, and the possibility of missing a small meniscal tear or other intra-joint pathology as we do not have arthroscopy capabilities here. As with any surgery, infection, incisional dehiscence, and pain are other potential post-op complications.
If your dog has a torn ACL and you are interested in learning more about the surgery that we perform here, please call to schedule an appointment with Dr. DeLozier.