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Patellar ligament rupture in the dog: repair methods and patient outcomes in 43 cases
  1. S. Das, BVM&S1,
  2. R. Thorne, BVetMed2,
  3. N. D. Lorenz, BVSc, MANZCVS3,
  4. S. P. Clarke, BVM&S, DSAS(Orth) Dipl.ECVS4,
  5. M. Madden, BVMBVS5,
  6. S. J. Langley-Hobbs, BVetMed, DSAS(Orth), MA, Dipl.ECVS6,8,
  7. K. L. Perry, BVM&S, CertSAS, Dipl.ECVS7,
  8. N. J. Burton, BVSc, DSAS(Orth)8,
  9. A. L. Moores, BVSc, CertSAS, Dipl.ECVS9 and
  10. J. R. Mosley, BVM&S, PhD, CertSAS, Dipl.ECVS1
  1. 1Division of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Hospital for Small Animals, Easter Bush Campus, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG, UK
  2. 2Davies Veterinary Specialists Limited, Manor Farm Business Park, Higham Gobion, Hertfordshire SG5 3HR, UK
  3. 3University of Liverpool, Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Leahurst Campus, Chester High Road, Neston, Wirral CH64 7TE, UK
  4. 4Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, Highlands Road, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands B90 4NH, UK
  5. 5NorthWest Surgeons, Delamere House, Ashville Point, Sutton Weaver, Cheshire WA7 3FW, UK
  6. 6Department of Veterinary Medicine, Queens Veterinary School Hospital, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB3 0ES, UK
  7. 7Queen Mother Hospital for Animals, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK
  8. 8Small Animal Hospital, Langford House, Langford, North Somerset BS40 5DU, UK
  9. 9Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists, The Granary, Bunstead Barns, Poles Lane, Hursley, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 2LL, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: smitadas{at}


The medical records of dogs receiving surgery for unilateral patellar ligament rupture between 1999 and 2012 at 12 multidisciplinary referral centres were reviewed. Forty-three cases were identified; 26 were traumatic in origin; almost one-third were iatrogenic, of which over three-quarters occurred as a complication following surgical stabilisation of patellar luxation. Treatment involved primary reapposition of the ligament (36 cases). The repair was protected by circumpatellar and/or transpatellar loop(s) of orthopaedic wire, nylon, polypropylene or polydioxanone suture (34 cases). Wire loops were more likely to require surgical removal compared with loops of other materials (P=0.0014). The stifle joint was immobilised postoperatively by the applications of a transarticular external skeletal fixator (taESF) in 17 cases and by external coaptation (EC) in 8 cases; in 18 cases, no postoperative joint immobilisation was provided. Complications specific to the method of immobilisation occurred in seven of the cases with taESF and six of the cases with EC. Revision surgery to address failure of repair was required in five cases. Outcome was classified as acceptable or good in over three-quarters of the cases (31/40) and poor in less than a quarter (9/40). These data highlight patellar ligament rupture as a complication of surgical stabilisation of patellar luxation.

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