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Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2019 Feb 15. doi: 10.1111/vru.12718. [Epub ahead of print]

Stifle joint osteoarthritis at the time of diagnosis of cranial cruciate ligament injury is higher in Boxers and in dogs weighing more than 35 kilograms.

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Veterinary Surgical Centers, Vienna, VA, 22180.
Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA, 95616.
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48824.
Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, 27607.


Osteoarthritis is a ubiquitous disease in dogs. The purpose of this retrospective study was to characterize the severity and distribution of osteoarthritis (OA) within the joint and to identify differences among dog breeds in the severity of OA in the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL)-deficient stifle joint. Radiographs of 240 stifles from 51 Boxers, 66 German Shepherds, 100 Labrador Retrievers, and 23 Siberian Huskies with confirmed CCL rupture were included. Radiographs of the stifle joint were evaluated and OA severity was graded at 33 sites within and around the joint, and patella alta was graded as present or absent for a potential total stifle OA score of 100. Osteophyte size was correlated to OA severity score. Total OA scores were calculated and compared within and between breeds globally as well as at each joint site. Dogs weighing >35 kg had a higher total OA score than those weighing <35 kg. Osteoarthritis scores were highest at the apical patella, proximolateral tibia, and sesamoid bones, corresponding to the proximal, lateral, and caudal aspects of the joint, respectively. No statistically significant differences were found among the mean OA scores of various stifle joint regions. Boxer dogs had a higher total OA score than other breeds. We concluded that dogs have a consistent distribution pattern of OA within the stifle joint after CCL injury. Radiographic OA is more severe in the proximal, lateral, and caudal aspects of the joint. Boxers had more severe OA than the other breeds evaluated in the study.


cranial cruciate ligament; dog; osteoarthritis; osteophytes


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