A ruptured cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most common knee injury in dogs, most often presenting as sudden non-weight bearing, rear leg lameness.
Dr. Boardman and Dr. McCollum currently perform the Extracapsular Repair. This procedure is appropriate for dogs weighing less than 60lbs. Larger dogs may require referral to an orthopedic surgeon for a different type of repair (TPLO). This is a traditional surgical repair of the ACL, and is much less invasive than the newer procedures that have been developed. During this procedure, the knee joint is opened and inspected, where the torn ligament is removed. Often the meniscus has also been partially or fully torn, and this is removed as well. The joint capsule is then flushed and closed. A large, strong suture is then used to stabilize the knee joint, effectively taking over the job of the cruciate ligament.
Recovery often takes 3-4 months, with strict exercise restriction for the first 8 weeks. As the dog slowly begins using the affected leg, brief walks on a short leash will increase strength.
For more information on ACL rupture and repair: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1975