Cornell University Hospital for Animals


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Friday, November 2, 2012

Cadence, an active Boxer, arrived at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals five years ago after being surrendered to a local shelter with a broken leg and several broken ribs. The orthopedic service inserted a metal plate to treat Cadence's fractured leg and helped her find a new home.

Cadence returned to Cornell for regular checkups over the next four years. In 2012, her owner noticed Cadence limping on her back right leg. The orthopedic service examined Cadence carefully and found her right stifle was enlarged, painful, and unstable. Radiographs revealed that the knee was swollen consistent with rupture of the cranial (anterior) cruciate ligament (ACL).

The final diagnosis was ruptured cranial cruciate ligament in her right knee, a common cause of debilitating hind limb lameness in dogs of all shapes and sizes. 

Dr. Ursula Krotscheck and Dr. Heather M. Knapp-Hoch recommended Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy surgery, which stabilizes the knee joint by changing its anatomy. Dog’s walk in a “crouched” position on their toes with their knees flexed or bent forward. In this position, there is a tendency for the bottom of the thigh bone (femur) to fall off the back of the tibia. The ACL - the ligament that Cadence tore - stops this from happening.  When the ACL tears, this falling off occurs and causes arthritis and pain.

The TPLO surgery realigns the surface of the tibia to change the forces during walking, preventing the femur from falling off of the tibia. The TPLO surgery was successful, and Cadence made a full recovery within a month.

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