Surgery better option for canine cruciate rupture, RVC study concludes

21st March 2024
Industry News

Newly released research has suggested surgical treatment of cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) ruptures offers better outcomes for dogs than non-operative management strategies.

RVC analysis, based on hundreds of cases recorded through the VetCompass programme, found short-term lameness was reduced by a quarter and long-term lameness by a third in cases where surgery was carried out.

And a leading charity said it hopes the study, published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, will lead to broader animal welfare improvements.

Previous analysis, published in 2023, found the injury affects around 1 in 180 dogs, with breeds including the rottweiler, bichon frise, West Highland white terrier and golden retriever being at greatest risk.

Study findings

The new paper examined a sample of 815 cases, of which around three-quarters were treated surgically.

It found dogs that had undergone surgery were 25.7% less likely to show lameness three months after diagnosis – a level that rose to 31.7% after a year.

The analysis also reported pain relief prescriptions were 38.9% less likely in surgically managed dogs after three months, reducing to 34.1% at six months and 32.7% after a year.

The paper stressed that further research would be needed to analyse outcomes from different forms of surgery.

‘Better outcomes’

Lead author Camilla Pegram said: “Surgical management for CCL rupture is often considered as providing better outcomes than non-surgical management, but this study now provides an evidence base to support this.

“While surgical management might not always be feasible for some dogs, the findings allow vets to quantify the benefit in their discussions with owners.”

Co-author Dan O’Neill said the study would provide dog owners with “the best evidence to support the best possible treatment decisions”, adding: “Good science should be caring as well as scientific.”

The study received funding from Dogs Trust through its Canine Welfare Grants programme. Paula Boyden, the charity’s veterinary director, said: “We hope this new insight will lead to improved dog welfare.”


Credit to:  Surgery better option for canine cruciate rupture, RVC study concludes (Vet Times)

Vet Times. (2023).  Surgery better option for canine cruciate rupture, RVC study concludes [online]

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