The Basics

  • One of the most common orthopedic conditions causing hind limb lameness in dogs.
  • Can be caused by trauma but most commonly the result of ligament degeneration over time.  Breed, genetics, body type and conformation often play a role.
  • 40-60% of patients will have cruciate disease in BOTH knees at some point.
  • Partial or incomplete tears almost always progress to complete tears over time.
  • Surgery is accepted as the treatment of choice, the TPLO is the most commonly performed procedure in our area.
  • American College of Veterinary Surgeons agree therapy by a veterinarian trained in physical rehabilitation can improve and speed recovery after cruciate surgery.
  • Conservative (non-surgical) management requires strict management of activity and may result in more rapid progression of osteoarthritis.

Our Patients with Cruciate Disease

  • Dogs of all sizes and ages recently diagnosed with instability in the stifle (knee) caused by a partial or complete tear of the cruciate ligament to identify options for optimal functional outcome.
  • Dogs post-op surgical stabilization, typically TPLO or extracapsular repair
  • Dogs that are not considered candidates for surgical stabilization to identify options for conservative management.
  • Dogs scheduled for surgical correction that have started “pre-hab” to prepare for post-operative therapy.

How Does Rehabilitation Help?

  • Control inflammation by incorporating cryotherapy, acupuncture, massage, PEMF and LASER therapy.
  • Maintain range of motion and joint health with in gym and at home exercises.  Passive and active range of motion activities help the joint to return to baseline function.
  • Control pain with TENS therapy and personalized adjustment of the oral pain management protocol.
  • Strengthen muscle initially with NMES therapy and thoughtful progression through a therapeutic exercise program.