Long-term outcome after surgical treatment of cranial cruciate ligament rupture in small breed dogs. Comparison of tibial plateau leveling osteotomy and extra-articular stifle stabilization

Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere. 2015;43(6):373-80. doi: 10.15654/TPK-150183. Epub 2015 Nov 16.
[Article in English, German]


Objective: Cranial cruciate ligament rupture is the most frequently occurring disease of the canine stifle. After introduction of corrective osteotomies of the proximal tibia as surgical treatment option in medium, large and giant breeds, the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) evolved into one of the favorite procedures. In the past small breed dogs have usually been treated by extra-articular stabilization techniques. TPLO has recently become an accepted treatment method in these breeds as well as, and is nowadays used with increasing frequency. The purpose of this study was to evaluate long-term outcomes of TPLO compared to an extra-articular stabilization technique in small breed dogs.

Material and methods: A total of 40 stifles of 30 small breed dogs weighing ≤ 15 kg were treated for cranial cruciate ligament rupture with either TPLO (n = 23) or a lateral capsular-fascial imbrication technique (CFI; n = 17). Dogs were clinically examined before and at least 6 months after surgery by treadmill analysis and radiography. Moreover a questionnaire was provided to the owners to assess postoperative function and overall satisfaction.

Results: Twenty-one of 23 operated limbs (91.3%) treated with TPLO and five of 17 (29.4%) treated with the CFI showed absolute values comparable to healthy dogs when evaluated by peak vertical force, vertical impulse and its symmetry index during objective gait analysis. Both groups showed mild, but continuous progression of osteoarthritis. TPLO led to a significantly faster recovery and a higher degree of owner satisfaction.

Conclusion: Based on clinical examination and objective gait analysis TPLO yielded excellent long-term results and a high degree of owner satisfaction in small breed dogs ≤ 15 kg treated for cranial cruciate ligament rupture.

Clinical relevance: TPLO seems to be superior to CFI treatment of small breed dogs in this study, although CFI should be considered as treatment option under certain circumstances.

Keywords: TPLO; capsular-fascial imbrication; treadmill analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Body Weight
  • Dogs / injuries*
  • Dogs / surgery*
  • Osteotomy / veterinary
  • Rupture / surgery
  • Rupture / veterinary
  • Stifle / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome