Dog Knee Injuries – The Most Common Cause of Dog Knee Problems
Dog Knee Injuries Overview
Due to the anatomy and biomechanics of a dogs knee, they are prone to specific types of knee injuries.
The two most common dog knee injuries are:
- Cruciate ligament ruptures
- Tears of the medial meniscus
Basic Anatomy of a Dogs Knee
Actually, the joint which most people call a knee is called the stifle on a dog. However, since most of us identify it as a knee, I will continue to call it out as such.
The knee is a joint that connects the femur (the upper leg bone), to the tibia (the lower leg bone).
There is a "cushion" between the two bones made of relatively soft cartilage called the meniscus.
The knee is stabilized laterally (side to side), and horizontally by several ligaments.
Anatomical Causes of Dog Knee Injuries
As I said before, the most common dog knee injury is a rupture of one of the cruciate ligaments. The reason dogs are prone to this type of injury, particularly large dogs, and dogs who are over weight, is to great of a tibial slope.
If you have no idea what a tibial slope is, I have written an article about TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy), the most effective surgery used to repair cruciate ligaments tears and prevent future knee problems. To summarize, the upper part of the of the tibia know as the plateau is surgically cut, rotated, and then held in place by a steel plate, reducing the tibial slope.
Cruciate ligament tears lead to tears in the the meniscus (the cushion) 40 -- 50% of the time.