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CRANIAL cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture (CCLR) is one of the most common causes of hindlimb lameness in dogs (Kowaleski and others 2012). It is diagnosed on orthopaedic examination by a drawer test to detect abnormal cranial translation of the tibia and a tibial compression test for cranial tibial thrust (Piermattei and others 2006). These can have false-negative results, however, since stifle instability after CCL injury leads to fibrosis, joint effusion, muscle stiffness or meniscal injury, making cranial movement difficult to elicit (Flo and DeYoung 1978). Stress radiography is more accurate in assessing cranial tibial translation. By comparing two lateral radiographs taken before and after tibial compression or anterior/posterior force has been applied (de Rooster and others 1998, Lopez and others 2004, Plesman and others 2012), the examiner can measure the relative displacement of two osseous landmarks (e.g. the posterior point of the femoral condyles, the caudal projection of the tibial plateau). But these techniques place stress on an injured ligament and, in some cases, require specialised equipment and advanced technical skill (e.g. the implantation of radiopaque markers) in order to evaluate cranial tibial translation (Plesman and others 2012). The purpose of the present study is to introduce a novel objective method of measuring tibial translation that uses the angle formed by the distal femur and the proximal tibia with the long axis of the tibia, as viewed on a …
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