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  • Dr. Garrett Davis

Small Animal Orthopedics: What You Should Know!

A torn cranial cruciate ligament (known as the ACL in humans) is one of the most common small animal orthopedic injuries. This, plus the clinical success of surgical repair techniques in small animal patients, has caused the surgical repair of the cranial cruciate deficiency to become one of the most common orthopedic procedures in veterinary medicine.

At our clinics, Dr. Davis, Dr. Rahm and Dr. Ivone perform the Lateral Suture surgical technique to meet the needs of most small animals under 25 lbs that have sustained a CCL rupture. This technique involves external stabilization of the stifle/knee joint by using an anchored and sterile monofilament line. For larger patients, this method of stifle stabilization has proven to often times be insufficient, given the amount of force these larger animals can apply to the joint. Such force can lead to breakage of the implanted monofilament line.

For small animal patients over 25 lbs, we generally recommend the Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA) procedure for our patients. The TTA restores stifle/knee stability by adjusting the patellar tendon’s tibial insertion point such that this extremely strong tendon then takes the place of the previous CCL. The benefits of this technique include neutralization of tibial thrust caused by a torn CCL, while also maintaining the manner in which weight is distributed by the body thru the stifle/ knee joint. By keeping the same joint angles and using a less geometrically modifying technique, the small animal patient in turn typically returns to normal weight bearing function and use of the limb faster than other advanced stifle repair techniques.

Both Dr. Davis and Dr. Ivone have been trained in TTA Stifle Repair by the Kyon Institute, and they both use Kyon’s top of the line Titanium implants throughout their surgical TTA repairs.

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