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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e25331. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025331. Epub 2011 Oct 5.

Contralateral cruciate survival in dogs with unilateral non-contact cranial cruciate ligament rupture.

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Comparative Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, and the Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.



Non-contact cranial cruciate ligament rupture (CrCLR) is an important cause of lameness in client-owned dogs and typically occurs without obvious injury. There is a high incidence of bilateral rupture at presentation or subsequent contralateral rupture in affected dogs. Although stifle synovitis increases risk of contralateral CrCLR, relatively little is known about risk factors for subsequent contralateral rupture, or whether therapeutic intervention may modify this risk.


We conducted a longitudinal study examining survival of the contralateral CrCL in client-owned dogs with unilateral CrCLR in a large baseline control population (n = 380), and a group of dogs that received disease-modifying therapy with arthroscopic lavage, intra-articular hyaluronic acid and oral doxycycline (n = 16), and were followed for one year. Follow-up in treated dogs included analysis of mobility, radiographic evaluation of stifle effusion and arthritis, and quantification of biomarkers of synovial inflammation. We found that median survival of the contralateral CrCL was 947 days. Increasing tibial plateau angle decreased contralateral ligament survival, whereas increasing age at diagnosis increased survival. Contralateral ligament survival was reduced in neutered dogs. Our disease-modifying therapy did not significantly influence contralateral ligament survival. Correlative analysis of clinical and biomarker variables with development of subsequent contralateral rupture revealed few significant results. However, increased expression of T lymphocyte-associated genes in the index unstable stifle at diagnosis was significantly related to development of subsequent non-contact contralateral CrCLR.


Subsequent contralateral CrCLR is common in client-owned dogs, with a median ligament survival time of 947 days. In this naturally occurring model of non-contact cruciate ligament rupture, cranial tibial translation is preceded by development of synovial inflammation. However, treatment with arthroscopic lavage, intra-articular hyaluronic acid and oral doxycycline does not significantly influence contralateral CrCL survival.

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