The formation and progression of osteoarthrosis in the unaffected contralateral stifle joints of 14 dogs with a unilateral cranial cruciate ligament rupture were monitored radiographically in terms of a global score and the scores for 10 parameters specific for the stifle joint. The dogs were examined initially and six and 12 months later by three observers, and the variability between the observers' scores was also assessed. The score for osteophytes at the tibial attachment site of the ligament was the most reliable parameter, and that for the increase in femoropatellar joint space was the least reliable. In the contralateral stifle joints there were significant increases after six and 12 months in osteophyte formation caudal to the tibial plateau, and in subchondral sclerosis of the tibial plateau and of the long digital extensor muscle groove. These three parameters progressed more regularly during the disease process than the other parameters. The global osteoarthrosis score of the contralateral stifle joint was an important risk factor for sustaining a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament in that joint during the next six months.
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