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Treating canine patellar ligament rupture
  1. Philip Witte, BSc, BVSc, CertAVP, MRCVS
  1. Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists, 6 Forest Corner Farm, Hangersley, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 3JW, UK
  1. e-mail: phil.witte{at}

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STIFLE extension relies on the quadriceps mechanism, which comprises the quadriceps muscles, the patella and the patellar ligament. Rupture of the patellar ligament (RPL) results in a failure of stifle extension and an inability to fix the stifle during weightbearing.

RPL is an uncommon condition. RPL, primarily of traumatic aetiology, has been documented in a small number of case series and case reports (Ries and Harris 1982, Gilmore 1983, Bloomberg and Parker 1984, Culvenor 1988, Brunnberg and others 1993, Aron and others 1997, Smith and others 2000, Gemmill and Carmichael 2003, Shipov and others 2008, Archer and others 2010, Farrell and Fitzpatrick 2013). Conservative treatment of RPL is considered a poor option (Bloomberg and Parker 1984).

RPL may be classified by whether the ligament fibres may be reapposed during surgical exploration. Reapposition of fibres should be possible in cases of acute RPL. Three cases of chronic RPL have been reported in which the ligament fibres were not apposable and connective tissue autografts were employed as patellar ligament replacements (Aron and others 1997, Gemmill and Carmichael 2003, Farrell and Fitzpatrick 2013).

Surgical management of RPL can be divided into three steps: primary tenorrhaphy; circumpatellar or transpatellar augmentation; and temporary immobilisation of the stifle joint (Shipov and others 2008). Considerations for tenorrhaphy include the choice of suture materials …

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