The purpose of a joint, such as the knee, is to allow movement. The amount and direction of movement is limited or restricted by ligaments and tendons. A ligament is a piece of tough, fibrous tissue connecting two bones.
When a ligament such as the anterior cruciate ruptures, abnormal movement in the joint occurs. In the knee, rupture of the anterior cruciate allows the femur (thighbone) to slide back and forth over the tibia (shinbone). There may be concurrent or ensuing tears to the meniscal cartilages.
Initially there is pain due to the rupture. Later abnormal wear and tear
lead to arthritic changes in the joint with accompanying pain and discomfort. This sequence of events occurs most frequently in overweight, middle to old age dogs.
Treatment is always surgical by one of several different methods, depending on the severity of the rupture and age and size of the dog. The veterinarian will advise you concerning the treatment necessary for your pet.
Ordinarily, no special diet is required. If your pet is overweight, calorie control and weight reduction will speed recovery and possibly prevent further injury, discuss weight control of your pet with the veterinarian.
CARE OF SPLINTS/BANDAGES:
Certain surgical corrections require use of a splint or bandage for 1 to 4 weeks after surgery. If your pet has a splint or bandage, extra care is needed. Do not let the splint or bandage become wet. In damp weather, place a plastic bag over the appliance when you walk them.
Check the incision daily (if visible) and report abnormalities to your veterinarian. Your pet will be evaluated for suture removal in 14 days.
Restrict your pet’s exercise! DO NOT let your pet run unrestricted. NO exercise for the first 2 weeks – Limit exercise to on lead walking for toileting only. Confine indoors and NO steps at all if possible. Begin limited exercise in the garden only and still on lead, after suture removal at two weeks.
One month after surgery, allow supervised free roaming in the garden but not outside the property and NO running!
Two months after surgery treat as an unfit animal and start small walks gradually increasing daily over the next three weeks. If movement is good then possibly some playing with other dogs in this period provided not too boisterous. No throwing balls for the next three months!
Remember the other leg is taking ALL the strain and may also tear.
NOTIFY YOUR VETERINARIAN IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT ANYTHING.
© Forrest Hill Vets (2000) Ltd