Max has ‘done his knee’
Max the 8-year-old border collie was enjoying his morning run at the park but landed awkwardly when he went to catch the ball. That afternoon he wouldn’t place any weight on his left hind leg so a visit to us was scheduled ASAP.
An examination revealed all the signs of a ruptured cruciate ligament. This is one of the more common orthopedic injuries we see in dogs and if not treated effectively, can lead to painful arthritis. Some dogs will ‘snap’ the ligament after jumping off a height or turning quickly. These dogs present to us just as Max did and won’t put any weight on the leg. The disease can also be a degenerative condition and some dogs will present with a mild, intermittent lameness and thickening of the joint.
Max’s diagnosis was confirmed under a general anaesthetic where the stability of his knee was found to be compromised (because the ruptured ligament was no longer able to do its job at stabilising the knee). This is hard to determine when a dog is awake, especially if the knee is painful. Radiographs were also taken to look for swelling and arthritic changes.
Surgery to stabilise the knee joint is the best option for treatment and Max had surgery the next day and is recovering well. He needs to undergo careful rehabilitation but his prognosis for enjoying the park again in the future is good. To reduce the risk of him rupturing the other cruciate ligament, catching of balls will need to be limited.
It is important to realise that arthritis may still develop in the affected joint following surgery, but will be significantly reduced than if surgery was not performed.
If you are ever concerned about your pet please call us for advice, we are always here to help.